Marketing deparments are in charge of social media in 79% of businesses, according to a recent survey by Call Centre Helper. But social media is no longer just a tool for driving promotions.
When people access Facebook, they want to communicate and engage with the brands that interest them. This means receiving relevant product news and information, as well as interesting and engaging content. But it also means getting answers to their questions when they need help or have problems. Unfortunately, most companies are still neglecting proper social customer service.
In the last eight months the number of customers using social media to contact brands doubled from 19% to 38%, and social media is quickly becoming a preferred customer service route. The study by Call Center Helper found that 65% of people believe that social customer service is more productive than call centres.
Businesses should be taking advantage of this. Not just to help customers, but also to learn about different customer experiences and improve how they conduct their business. The number of people who use social media as their first port of call for customer service issues will continue to grow. Any business that continues to ignore the need to customer service teams to have direct access to a brand's Facebook fans and Twitter followers is putting themselves at greater and greater reputational risk.
By creating social customer service teams with direct access to social media, a company ensures that its customers get the best experience when they post issues on social sites, and publicly displays great service to their other customers. This increases customer satisfaction and retention, decreases the risk of social media crises, and helps to maintain a positive brand reputation.
Social media has changed brand perception - from what you say, to what your customers say about you. With social media now pushing your customer service into the public arena, every single customer service interaction becomes a part of your public brand experience. A single negative experience can snowball into a much bigger issue - Altimeter found that poor customer experiences caused more social media crises in the last decade than any other problems. Marketing may be publishing dozens of updates to social media accounts every week; but in the same timeframe, customer service teams can be interacting publicly with thousands of customers - with every interaction having a brand impact, and chance to gain customer insight. A brand is missing out if it's just viewing social media as a marketing channel - but should they go even further, and put customer service in charge?