Is social media an effective inbound customer service channel?

OABPO Blog Team Published on April 3, 2014

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Businesses today recognize the power of social media in expanding their market reach. They use social networking sites and mobile apps to engage with their tech-savvy customers through the channel that the buying public prefers. Social media is indeed beneficial to your marketing endeavors, and it is even more powerful in another aspect of market engagement: inbound customer service.

Despite this added benefit, however, not all businesses take full advantage of social media as a customer service platform. Research firm Maritz proved this in a report saying that about 70% of customer complaints sent to brands over Twitter are left unanswered.

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Some claim that they avert conducting customer service in social media for the tendency of complaints to get highly publicized on the Internet. Others say that they get minimal interaction from their audience online, leading them to view social media as an inefficient channel. These incidents do happen to some brands, and they are the ones who are doing social media customer service wrong.

According to a Forbes article, the success of online customer service depends on the sites used to deliver assistance. Brands shouldn’t limit themselves to popular social networks, as their target audience may be elsewhere sharing customer experiences and possibly even rants on influential blogs and member-only message boards.

You may not be getting feedback and complaints directly on your official Twitter account or Facebook Page, but it doesn’t mean that your customers are not doing social media activities involving your brand. And by not making your business available on the channels where your market frequents, you miss out on the opportunity to serve them better.

The importance of social media in driving customer satisfaction

Does social media engagement really matter to people? Yes. The developers of social network management app Buffer gathered figures to show the importance of multi-channeling your inbound customer service, and here are some of their findings:

• 50% of customers are more likely to do business with companies that can be reached via social media

• 56% of people who interact with company representatives on social networks feel a stronger connection with the brands

• 64% of customers who sent service requests via social media had issues solved quickly and effectively

• Buyers spend 20% to 40% more with companies that respond to service requests over social media

• 71% of those who had a positive customer experience on social media recommended the brand to others

To answer the main question, social media is an effective channel to deliver customer service, but the channeling strategy would only be successful if you choose the sites and apps where your market wants the engagement to happen. What exact social networks are we talking about? You ll know in a follow-up article where we ll list down emerging customer service tools online.

One response to “Is social media an effective inbound customer service channel?”

  1. How to provide good customer service on Twitter - Open Access BPO Neo Captive Blog says:

    […] are a few best practices for providing social customer service through […]

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