Is your company “social?” Are you online? Your customers are, so don’t miss out on an opportunity to win over more hearts and minds where your audience spends a majority of their free time.
Case in point: By 2020, an estimated 90 percent of all businesses will use social media to perform customer service duties, according to Gartner. Are you ready? Here are some tips and tools your company needs to meet the demands of today’s connected consumer.

Why Social Media?

Today’s consumers can instantly connect with their favorite brands — or even the ones they despise — 24/7 via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In fact, these platforms’ ease of use make it easy for consumers to get in direct contact with a company or business through various forms of direct messaging.
While it’s not always easy for companies to keep up with these demands, investing in a team of employees who can answer questions and escalate issues up the chain of command is paramount in today’s digital age. With that in mind, don’t just think of social media as a marketing tool, but rather as yet another medium for conducting customer service.

What Consumers Want

Consumers’ desires are simple. When it comes to the handling of customer service via social media, your audience is looking for just a few key things: timely responses and honest care. In fact, more than half of all consumers surveyed in a study conducted by Edison said they expect some type of response in an hour or less, while 30 percent desire answers within 30 minutes or less.
But you may want to make it easier for your customers to find you online by creating pages solely for the handling of customer service. For example, Verizon’s dedicated customer support page on Twitter — it’s aptly named @VerizonSupport — can help your marketing team keep customer service inquiries organized and in one place.
Additionally, cloud contact centers, like those offered by Aspect, offer omni-channel-capable tools that can help expedite and streamline the customer service experience. Even as social media becomes the standard, customer service via phone will not entirely disappear, as this medium is still the only line of communication that connects customers to a live agent. And sometimes, despite the nuances of social media, that’s all customers desire.

The Data Doesn’t Lie

Think you’re doing a good job keeping up? Think again. According to Buffer, 80 percent of surveyed companies say they deliver superior customer support. However, just 8 percent of consumer respondents agreed. The same study concluded that customers spend more money with companies that respond quickly to their inquiries via social media. And these same consumers said they are 71 percent more likely to recommend a brand that provided good support via social media to a peer or friend. Talk about good news for your brand.

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