Social media is increasingly becoming a go-to channel for customer service, but there is a serious disconnect between consumer expectations and company norms for responsiveness and issue resolution via social channels. Social media channels are often run by marketing or communications departments in large organizations, which can mean they do not receive the same type of customer service scrutiny as call centers or email-based customer inquiries. There is a strong argument that social media should be a dedicated team shared between Marketing and Operations in order to maximize effective responses to social media issues and complaints.
What Consumers Expect vs. What They Get
The Social Habit unveiled recent research on expected response time to an inquiry or complaint after posting the issue to a company on social media. The results should serve as a wake-up call to many organizations. 42% of consumers expect a response within one hour with 67% calling for feedback within the first 24 hrs.
Unfortunately, what consumers expect vs. what they experience on social media are two different things. A recent Social Media Marketing University survey revealed that only 17.6% of brands respond to customer complaints on social media within the first hour and only 52% respond within the first 24 hrs. Worse yet, a full 21% never respond at all!
Source: The Social Habit and Social Media Marketing University (SMMU)
More and more consumers consider social media a primary channel for customer service. 29% claim to have used social media to resolve customer service issues with a brand or company, but only 36% of those report having their issue resolved quickly and effectively. Companies actually know they are failing in this area. According to the SMMU study, while 76% of businesses admit that they received complaints via social media, 23% still have no strategy to manage these negative comments online. This lack of social media strategy means that negative comments often get escalated and cause more reputational damage than if they were appropriately handled up front. 26% of the brands surveyed believe that their reputation has been tarnished by negative social media comments, and 15% believe that they have lost customers due to negative comments and reviews.
Facebook is by far the dominant social media channel for customer service favored by 82% of respondents in an Accent Media survey on social media behavior. The majority (70%) will use private channels to post issues; however, if they feel the company is not listening and responding effectively, they will not hesitate to go public and make the wider community aware of their dissatisfaction.
I recently heard of a case where the customer of a large cable operator attempted via standard customer service channels for six weeks to get the company to come to his home and bury cables that were sitting on his lawn. Only when he complained publicly on social media did he actually get a response from the company.
Companies need to provide responsive customer service across every channel. For social media channels, they should have targets for response time, issue resolution and processes for complaint handling. The faster companies respond to negative comments online, the more luck they will have either convincing the customer to retract a negative comment or, at a minimum, keep it private. According to McKinsey & Company, 71% of consumers who’ve had a positive social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others, but a much larger percentage of those who’ve had a bad experience will share that with anyone that will listen.
How to Use this Information
If your organization is not actively listening and interacting with customers via social media, you could be putting your brand reputation in jeopardy. This is doubly true in times of crisis. Routine operational handling and crisis management plans both need to include the ability to personally respond to social media inquiries. MissionMode creates mass notification and incident management solutions to help companies simplify crisis management and safeguard their employees, customers and brands. Contact us today at 1-877-833-7763 or schedule a demonstration online to learn more about how we can help your organization with crisis management across all channels.