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Guest Post: The State of Social Customer Service in 2012

Harry Rollason, head of marketing at Useful Social Media, explores the fundamentals of social customer service for your business and how it has changed the face of customer service in 2012 – from using social channels to acquire new customers to boosting customer retention.

Harry has brought together industry thought leaders for this year’s Social Media for Customer Service Summit in New York on 23rd – 24th October 2012.

Social media has changed the face of customer service as we know it, for good.

The social landscape is forever evolving, but one thing remains certain; that your ability to serve your customers, in the channels they wish to be served in, is critical to your business success.

We all want to make our revenue numbers. To do so, we must acknowledge the acquisition and retention power of the post-sales experience. It is critical to keep your current customers happy, and show potential customers how well you do business. Social media gives your business a channel to achieve all of the above.

So what’s changed in 2012? Well first and foremost your customers now EXPECT your company to be socially responsive. 62% of customers have used social media to raise a customer service issue. 81% of customers believe it is important for your business to respond to them if they have a question or complaint on a social channel. And 60% of businesses who have increased revenues in the past six months put it down better customer service.

In these tough economic times can you afford to not improve your post sales experience? It takes three times as much internal resources to acquire a new customer as it does to retain one – customer retention is the new acquisition for your brand.

Second, companies are now grasping this change in the dynamics of the buyer seller relationship. 42% of companies are already using social media as a customer service tool, with this number predicted to increase to 59% by year’s end.

This is a good start – but the same problems still exist.

56% of the top 50 brands did not respond to a single customer comment on their Facebook page in 2011. 71% of customer’s complaints on Twitter go ignored by brands. And 55% of consumers expect a response the same day to an online complaint – only 29% receive one.

But social media as a customer service tool is no longer experimental – it is fundamental to your business success. Your customer service strategy must include social media and be part of your long-term business plan to maintain competitive advantage.

I ramble I know, as I have a tendency of doing, but there is a reason for my rant. On my return back to the office last week – having recently returned from #CSMNY – I stumbled across some great examples of companies embracing the power of social media for customer service and I thought I would share them with you.

Debbie Curtis-Magley, Public Relations Manager from UPS and Viktor van der Wijk, Director E-Acquisition from KLM delivered two stand-out presentations on how you can better leverage social media for customer service.

The presentations look at how you can boost customer retention and aid acquisition, show you how to better serve your customers through social media and deliver the business case to get your social media customer service programme into full effect.

You can grab a copy of both presentations by heading here.

Connect with Harry at  @HRollasonUSM.

We will be attending the Social Media for Customer Service Summit in New York on the 23rd and 24th October 2012 with Harry and the rest of the Useful Social Media team! Our CEO, Josh March, will be speaking on the panel for “How To Take The Next Step – Future Proof Your Customer Service Strategy By Leveraging Social’s Power.” If you are also attending the event, it would be great to hear from you, and if you haven’t registered yet you can still do so here.

Got any suggestions for what you’d like to hear from us or interested in being our next guest blogger? Send your thoughts to Rachel@conversocial.com, or @Conversocial. We’re always looking for new ideas.

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