Social Media as a Customer Service Channel: What You Need to Know



There’s a reason why social networking has quickly transformed into one of the dominant forms of communication on the planet – anyone can connect to anyone (or anything) at any time.


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Perhaps the most shocking thing about the social media explosion that we’ve been experiencing for the last few years is that it isn’t over – far from it, in fact. Social media adoption is still on the rise.

According to Convince and Convert, 56% of Americans had a profile on at least one social networking site in 2016 – up from 48% in 2010. 22% of those people use social networking sites multiple times per day. Yet at the same time, roughly two-thirds of Americans using these sites have never followed a brand. Most prefer to stick with friends, family members, and the occasional acquaintance.

Why is that, do you think? It’s simple – not all brands are using social networking in the right ways.

The good news is that this points to the fact that companies still have tremendous room for growth in terms with connecting with their audiences on social networks. The key is that they have to look at it as more than just a digital extension of their marketing arm and take it for what it was always meant to be – an extension of their customer service efforts, too.

Social Customer Service is Cheaper

If you were looking for a convincing reason to embrace social media customer service with open arms, look no further than the almost immediate cost savings you’ll achieve as a result. According to most studies, solving a customer issue on a social networking site like Twitter will cost roughly 1/6th the amount of money that it would take to solve the same issue via a call center.

“Your customers are always going to have issues – there’s nothing you can do to control that,” said Brian Sutter of Wasp Barcode. “When you CAN control is how you respond to those issues. If you can do so in a way that is easier, faster, less expensive and that EVERYONE can see, why wouldn’t you take that opportunity?”

Social Customer Service and Revenue

Likewise, social media customer service is also a perfect way to address one of the major challenges that small business owners face – increasing profits. According to the 2017 Small Business Report, 46% of small business owners said that increasing profit was one of their most critical challenges to address in the new year.

When you consider that according to customers tend to spend between 20% and 40% more money when companies take the time to engage with them and respond to their concerns over social media, this is the perfect way to accomplish two distinct goals at the same time.

It Puts Your Brand On Display

Another important benefit of using social media as a customer service channel is that it essentially allows your customer service efforts to become an organic PART of your larger marketing program. Remember, the vast majority of all social media interactions are taking place in a public forum. They will be available for anyone to look at for all time. This is absolutely something you can use to your advantage.

“Addressing a customer complaint on social media isn’t just about making one person happy. It’s about letting all of your other customers SEE the effort you’re willing to go to in order to make one customer happy” said Danny Donovan of Dsquared Media. “It’s the type of positive word-of-mouth you can’t put a price on the type that lasts forever.”

Bottom Line

There’s a reason why social networking has quickly transformed into one of the dominant forms of communication on the planet – anyone can connect to anyone (or anything) at any time. For businesses, this is a two-way street.

Yes, it’s easier than ever to tell customers about that great new promotion you’re about to have or that new product or service you launched. But customers are going to be looking for something a fair bit deeper, too.

Making an effort to see your social media efforts as an extension of your customer service is one of the best ways to not only make it easier than ever to address customer questions and compliant, but to do so in a public forum whenever possible.

Studies point to the fact that your customers are already looking at social media in this way – according to Convince and Convert, 42% of people who send a message to a brand on social media say they expect a response within one hour.

If your audience has already adopted this perspective, it’s time for you to do the same.

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