Forget the phone. Consumers are viewing their social channels as the new customer service department.
According to new research from Accent Marketing, 72% of consumers only want to interact with brands when they comment on their social media channels, and 82% of consumers use Facebook to speak with a customer service representative.
“Facebook is still the primary place to talk about customer service,” Roger Huff, director of social media and digital strategy for Accent Marketing, tells Marketing Daily. “Facebook can’t be used to simply drive likes. It has to be a place where you have a strategy for customer service.”
Yet not all customers use social media channels in the same way. More men than women use Twitter to speak to a brand they have purchased a product from, and 75% of Millennials find it helpful when other customers or followers respond to a question or comment they’ve posted on a social media channel, while only 55% of Baby Boomers feel the same way.
However, few brands are set up to regard social media as a customer service platform, Huff says. Legacy silos within companies have left CMOs in charge of making the sale, but pass post-sale communications and engagement to other departments, says John Hoholik, chief growth officer at Accent.
“What we see across a lot of our client partners is there’s a lot of lines drawn, and there’s handoffs [between] advertising and purchase and what finally happens after you own the product,” Hoholik says. “There’s a lot of work within channels and agencies that come up with solutions on paper. And as they move from design to execution, many brands don’t have the structure in place to evaluate what happens across those channels.”
Agencies also need to evaluate the information coming in from their social channels to determine how to best serve their customers in social media milieus. “As you’re monitoring social media platforms, you need to have a strategy that separates the data of the chatter coming in to determine whether its product or customer-service oriented,” Huff says. “It all comes back to data and feeding your engagement strategy with that data.”