October 16, 2013 1 Comment
The majority of businesses in the country already understand how valuable social media is as a marketing tool. In fact, according to a recent study done by the Aberdeen Group, 86% of all companies are already using social media as part of their marketing strategy. Today however, companies are realizing that social media is more than just a marketing tool; it has become a new mode for customer service.
Yet while more businesses are using social media, only 41% of the companies surveyed use it as part of their customer service approach. Social care, or customer service done over social media networks, is an emerging strategy businesses are putting into play to provide top tier online customer service while branding with little to no cost.
Social Care Boosts Your Brand
More than ever before, customers are using social media outlets to post complaints, questions, or comments they intend on companies to read. The 2012 Nielsen’s Social Media Report showed that more than half of consumers said they prefer to use social media over the phone to reach out to businesses. Social media users also expect faster response and resolution to their concerns. So although a social media presence can boost a company brand, without proper management, a company’s brand can quickly be damaged. On the other hand, proper social care can improve your overall company brand by showing customers your commitment to customer service.
Building Customer Loyalty
Including social media as part of your company’s overall customer service approach can also help build customer loyalty. Responding positively to a customer complaint can not only help build a trust between you and that customer, but also lets your other social media followers know that you value their needs. Studies show that customers who actively receive positive online social care from a company will purchase between 20% to 40% more goods and services from that company.
Social Care as an ROI Driver
More than three-quarters of businesses that are considered “socially devoted” believe the implementation of social care services is a ROI driver. Socially devoted businesses are those companies that reply to at least 65% of comments, complaints and questions posted on social media networks. 71% of these companies found that creating a social care strategy saved their business money over the long run.
Tips for Building a Social Care Strategy
The trick now becomes finding a way companies can create a successful social care plan that builds customer loyalty and boosts sales. Here are some quick tips to consider:
- Respond Quickly to Customer Posts. Studies show that more than half of online consumers expect a company to reply to a post in just a few hours, but no longer than 24 hours. It is vital that you consistently manage your social media sites throughout the day to build customer trust.
- Use Multiple Social Media Outlets. Customers are not just turning to one social media outlet either. They use multiple social media networks throughout the day. It is important that you check for customer’s comments on all different sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn.
- Hire a Social Care Worker or Hire a Service. More than 40% of business owners feel that the complexity of social care has held them back from integrating this into their standard customer service approach. Other companies delegate these services to the marketing team, instead of treating it as a customer services feature. It is important for the company to either hire a dedicated worker to handle their social care services, or use a professional services company to provide these services for them.
Social media guru and part-time writer, Michael Gal works closely with companies to craft thoughtful writing on a variety of industry-related topics. In his spare time he writes articles on green issues for a socially conscious magazine and works on his novel in progress.