When businesses first ventured into the world of social media, it was used as a platform to market their product and increase sales. In the last few years, however, social media has morphed into the favored medium of the online community — a place to interact with the brands they admire, and more importantly, seek help when they have issues.
More consumers than ever are looking to communicate with brands via social media, and your company won’t be able to compete if you don’t join in. Every interaction matters, and ignoring customers is simply not an option — doing so will have a negative effect on customer experience, and in turn, hurt your bottom line.
A Preferred Channel
Do you know why consumers love social media so much? It gives them the ability to ask questions and leave feedback in a public forum where your response is on display for everyone to see — and believe me, other customers are watching closely. A study from Conversocial found that 88% of consumers are less likely to buy from a brand that has unanswered customer complaints on social media. Basically, how you interact with your customers is being taken into consideration by potential buyers.
Consumers today are accustomed to receiving immediate answers. When customers ask questions on social media, they expect you to get back to them quickly with a solution. In fact, 42% of customers expect a response within an hour, with a further 32% expecting that time to be within 30 minutes. Simply put, you have to have your fingers on the pulse at all times by constantly monitoring social media accounts in order to see comments and questions as they come in.
If you find your brand in the midst of a social media crisis, you need to own up to the issue in question out and provide a solution promptly. If you (or your employees) cannot provide an immediate solution, ensure the customer that you are working on it and follow-up as soon as you have an answer. The last thing you want to do is challenge your customers’ patience by dawdling or ignoring them entirely— that can have disastrous consequences.
A Larger Reach
In the days before social media, consumers might share negative buying experiences with a few family members, close friends, and coworkers. For companies, this was a manageable number to deal with. However, with the advent of Facebook and Twitter, angry consumers have a seemingly infinite number of people to regale with tales of horrid customer service and shoddy products.
The statistics surrounding this new phenomenon are nothing to sneeze at:
- 45% of consumers share bad customer service experiences via social media Tweet This! (Dimensional Research )
- 71% of consumers who experience a quick and effective brand response on social media are likely to recommend that brand to others Tweet This!, compared to just 19% of customers who do not receive a response. (NM Incite)
- 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts Tweet This!. (BrightLocal)
- When companies engage and respond to customer service requests over social media, those customers end up spending 20% to 40% more with the company Tweet This!. (Bain & Company)
- 85% of fans of brands on Facebook recommend those brands to others. (Syncapse)
- [tweetthis hashtag=”socialmedia marketing”]Consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals Tweet This! (Hubspot)
Your customers have more reach and influence than ever before, and it’s in your company’s best interest to keep them happy by engaging with them on social media as quickly and often as possible.
The Human Touch
You can vastly improve customer experience by engaging in relationship building on your social media channels. Your customers often base buying decisions on emotion, rather than logic — and there’s no substitute for human interaction in developing an emotional connection.
You can foster an emotional connection and gain an edge over your competition by making sure your customers know they’re seen and appreciated.
- Respond promptly to their messages.
- Reach out and thank individuals when they comment or share your posts.
- Ask for feedback.
- Send a thank-you note on social media when they make a purchase.
- Offer a discount on their favorite items.
According to Market Force, emphasizing the customer experience results in high satisfaction rates and 2-12 times higher recommendation ratings — both of which can have a substantial impact on customer loyalty and revenue. When you use social media correctly, it will have an undoubtedly positive effect on customer experience — and who knows, you may end up turning happy customers into brand advocates.