Brands have flocked to social media and social media advertising as an extension of their brand, showcasing product, telling their story, and trying to increase conversions; however, they are still struggling with high-level customer service. According to the Q2 2017 Sprout Social Index, only 1 in 10 messages receives a response from a brand on social media, taking an average of 11 hours to respond. Social media is not a one-sided conversation and brands need to realize that as they push content into the feeds of consumers. Brands need to be listening and responding to the conversations.
According to the 2019 Hanapin State of Paid Social report that was recently released, “97% of marketers are investing in social advertising, up 10% from last year.” If you’re paying for social media advertising, you should be investing in customer service on these channels as well. Customers who have questions, positive reviews, or complaints found you on social media and likely want to communicate with you directly from that channel. Customers want to speak with the brand from the channel they’re on – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat.
If you’re looking for a brand that does customer service and engagement well on social media, look no further than Southwest Airlines. They must have a behemoth social team – actively responding to customers (happy and not so happy) every hour of every day. Each team member signs their responses with his/her name and adds a slice of humor or personality with each engagement. Their customer service social strategy is done right.
Don’t think I’ve ever been on the correct side of the plane for this approach into #Chicago. What a great view. Thanks for the lift, @SouthwestAir. #backtoreality pic.twitter.com/DDlTou133H— Steve Ryan (@sjryanjr) April 23, 2019
Let’s talk about a real life experience, turned social media experiment. A brand that runs a sale for two weeks. The day after the sale ends a follow-up email goes out to their database extending the sale and sweetening the deal by adding free shipping on all orders placed that day. Nice thought, but what about all of the customers that bought during the sale and paid the shipping cost?
Unhappy customers turned to social media to express their frustrations. Customers commented on the post announcing the extended sale and free shipping expressing their displeasure without a response from the brand. As a fellow unhappy customer that was charged shipping, I tried to resolve the issue privately by DMing the brand on Twitter. 24 hours later, I didn’t have a response and my frustration was growing. I followed up with a DM on Instagram. Same situation – no response. I followed up with an email. No response.
According to the Sprout Social Q3 2017 Index, consumers take action when a brand does not respond to their social media message. Nearly 40% of consumers will move along to the next social channel, as illustrated above, to seek resolution.
While trying to resolve the issue privately, a friend publicly tweeted at the brand directly expressing her frustration and almost immediately had a DM from the brand offering to refund the shipping cost.
This brand cares more about the public outcry than those that tried to handle it privately. Their email marketing team might have messed this one up a bit, but their social media team took an even bigger hit by leaving their disgruntled customers without a response.
What do consumers really want? They want to be heard and have some sort of resolution to their issue and often times a simple response will go a long way. A brand is going to answer the phone when someone calls (during normal business hours when the next available agent is ready), so why wouldn’t you respond on social media? Show your customers that you care and are willing to respond to their needs it will turn into real dollars.
If your team doesn’t have the time or bandwidth to have a dedicated social media customer service team member on staff, you run the risk of losing important customers and business. Partnering with a third party social media company allows you to focus on the day to day of your business operations while they handle the customer service responses in an effective and timely manner.
Still not convinced? Read Why You Need a Social Media Customer Service Plan from our friends at Sprout Social.