It's no secret that when used effectively, social customer service can work wonders for companies. It's cost-effective and has the potential to directly link companies with their customers. But according to a recent report on the state of social customer service, from social customer service provider Conversocial, there's still a long journey ahead before customers fully trust social media as a primary channel for support. "Businesses need to show customers that social channels, especially messaging platforms, are easy to use and that customer agents are available, responsive, and empowered to act in a timely manner," the report states.
Some of the key findings reveal that customers prefer social messaging channels to some of the more traditional support routes. More than 54 percent of respondents said they prefer using SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Twitter over email, phone, and even Web chat. Unsurprisingly, Conversocial's research also reveals that more than any other age group, Millennials—adults between 18 and 34 years of age—use social media for customer support. According to the research, more than 35 percent currently use social media for service, and an additional 37 percent plan to use it for the first time in the future.
Loyalty stands to benefit significantly from well-executed customer service. More than 46 percent of those who participated in Conversocial's research said that personalized responses from companies on social media would increase their loyalty, and when it comes to millennials, that number was even higher. More than 57 percent of Millennials said they would be more loyal after social media interactions with companies.
Income also dictates customers' willingness to reach out and engage with companies on social media. Slightly more than 47 percent of participants making more than $150,000 have already used social media for service, and 86 percent of the same group of respondents said they were more likely to be loyal to companies that provide support via social media.
Despite the popularity of social customer service, companies have plenty of room for improvement. Responsiveness remains a key problem on social media, with more than 27 percent of study participants reporting that they never received responses from companies they contacted on social media. Thirty percent of respondents also said they had to wait for more than 30 minutes for a response. And there's one thing that 100 percent of participants agreed on: Ease of use is critically important to social customer service.
"Customers are increasingly turning to social channels for care because of how easy it is to use, so shifting care volume from high-effort channels like phone or email toward social care will have a substantial positive impact on loyalty," Conversocial CEO Joshua March says.