Based on findings from NM Incite’s newly released State of Social Customer Service Report, nearly half of all consumers (using social media), 47% use social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to reach out to a brand or company with a question or issue. Social care use is especially high among younger age groups, and still remains significant among older social media users. And nearly one in three (30 percent) consumers (using social media) prefer to reach out to a brand for customer service through a social channel compared to the phone, marking a dramatic shift in how people expect customer service from the brands with which they engage.
The 2012 NM Incite Social Care Survey, conducted through Nielsen's online panel, polled thousands of U.S. social media users across ages and genders and found that 18-24 year olds are the highest users of social care, with 60 percent of females and 57 percent of males actively seeking customer service through social media channels. Even among the oldest social media users, age 65+, nearly one-third (30 percent) have used social care, confirming wide adoption spanning all age groups.
What we're seeing is that customers are turning to social media channels for customer service, regardless of whether and where a particular brand is actually equipped to handle customer service over social media. Today's customers choose when and where they voice their questions, issues, and complaints. They don't care if a company is set up to answer customer questions on Facebook, or if it has an actual Twitter handle for customer service.
There is also great upside for those that understand that the lines between marketing and customer service are blurring and take action to organize, operate, and manage performance in this new merged world.
The data is compelling and tells us that effective social care can give brands a big advantage. When you consider the span of friend and family networks who can view the positive or negative social care interactions, the effective reach of a well-executed response can be much bigger than you think.
The data shows that 71 percent of those who experience great social care are likely to recommend a brand based on their most recent experience, compared to 17 percent of customers that have a negative experience. Additionally, 70 percent of social care users are likely to use social care again if served satisfactorily.
In a time where even service is commoditizing, near real-time experiences can establish retention and word of mouth.
If you consider deploying customer service through social media, be sure that:
...to ensure an optimal customer experience.
Are you surprised by the adoption rates?