The role of social media for business is rapidly evolving. Through 2010, most companies were just using social channels for marketing. This was the era of Social Customer Response, where businesses would only identify customer complaints and requests on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.
But consumers were quick to demand more, expressing dissatisfaction with Social Customer Response, which frequently forced them into traditional offline interaction channels involuntarily when seeking problem resolution.. To stay competitive, businesses now need to engage in resolving social inquiries, without dragging customers to offline channels or making them wait for a delayed response.
Social Customer Care Increases in Popularity
In a recent survey, we learned that one out of three consumers prefers social customer care to offline channels. This number continues to grow each year, at a rapid pace. It’s fair to assume that more consumers will move to social as the preferred method of resolution as the channel rapidly matures. Customers cite two primary reasons why they prefer social customer care: 1) I did not have to talk on the phone, 2) I received my answer quickly.
Customer care pundits have predicted the demise of the phone channel for many years, but the ultimate dinosaur is email. Blame social media, which has raised the bar in resolution to customer issues.
It’s About Time
In the recent past, customers would send a support request via email and be pleased with a response in 4 to 24 hours. This timeframe has been deemed unacceptable by modern standards, where half of respondents to a recent Oracle survey expect a response within two hours of posting. On industry-best campaigns, consumers receive initial responses to threaded social media interactions within 15 minutes.
Mobile will play an even greater role in customer care. We’ve already seen the dawn of the “Digital Natives” generation – who prefer to conduct all online interactions through mobile devices and have a preference for self-service whenever possible. Brands will need to do a better job of addressing the immediacy afforded by social media resolution on mobile, and also need to deliver optimized experiences that enable a seamless escalation to human assistance when self-service applications prove inadequate.
Here’s the prescription for success with a social customer care resolution program: