Customers are beginning to demand social customer service from companies. American Express recently released their 2012 Global Service Barometer, based on findings in the United States.
The study, conducted by Echo Research, explored consumer satisfaction with customer service through different channels, and compared several industries to see which provided better customer service.
As a general trend, consumers feel that customer service is often forgotten, but they will remain loyal to brands based on the service they receive from them. 32% of interviewees said that businesses pay less attention to providing customer service than they do to other parts of their business. However, those companies who emphasize good service will be rewarded, as 66% of customers continue to purchase from companies that they feel provide excellent service.
The majority (56%) of respondents stated that they tell people all the time about their poor experiences with businesses. Brand-slating via word of mouth is extremely detrimental to a company, but when this is taken online it can become even more harmful. Twitter and Facebook allow negative comments to reach entirely new audiences, when social media users spread other consumers’ poor experiences to their friends.
Consumers who currently turn to social media for customer service are small in number – but this number is continuing to grow. Of the 17% who stated that they have used social media to contact companies, several reasons were given as to why they chose this channel for customer service:
- 50% wanted help with a service issue
- 48% were reporting a great service experience
- 47% looked to share their experience with a company with a broader audience
- 46% were venting their frustration with a bad customer service experience
- 43% were asking questions of other users about how to get better service
Less than a third (31%) of consumers who said they used social media for customer service responded by saying that they have received an answer every time. On top of that, less than half (45%) only occasionally get a response from companies they reach out to.
Although there are reasons to suggest change is coming - 60% of respondents said that social media responses have improved in the last year - the Global Service Barometer generally finds that consumers are ready for social customer service to become more mainstream, but companies are not accommodating these demands.
As consumers continue to demand customer service through social media, businesses will need to meet this. And the more companies that embrace these channels to provide customer service, the more consumers will turn to platforms like Facebook and Twitter to get their queries answered.
Where do you see the future of social customer service heading? Can you think of any companies who already provide exceptional customer service through social media? We’re interested to hear your opinions in the comments below.
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