There is no doubt that social media has changed the world. Consumers are spending more than 1 hour 40 minutes a day on their social profiles completing a variety of social and practical tasks, which has led to many businesses now utilising social media to help connect, engage, and sell to consumers. In some cases, this has worked fantastically, in others it has not.
However, research has shown social media is now becoming a crucial factor in meeting the expectations of customers. With the right strategy, your business can improve its customer’s experience and offer a satisfactory relationship between the two.
Salespeople Aren’t Enough
Research by Mitchell, & Del Rossa, 2007, demonstrated that salespeople are considered the second-best resource for information on products and services (the internet was considered the best). Different research (Thomas et al., 2007) found that one-third of customers felt their salesperson offered an inadequate level of support.
This is where a team of specialists can be of use. Contextly, seem to have filled this gap by offering customer support and onboarding through their Twitter account. When Bryan Haines was looking for a new premium related-content service, he signed up for a free trial with Contextly. He got excited and tweeted about it.
In response, the company responded with a positive, helpful tweet. This gave him confidence in the brand – much better than a quick email would have done.
Social Media Response Times
Of course, to improve the experience satisfaction, companies need to adjust how they use social media. Research has shown that only 1-2% of sales can be directly related to a social media update. Email marketing and PPC offer companies 20 times as many sales.
Social media can be an excellent tool for conducting customer and competitor research, educating audiences and finally – customer service.
In fact, customers are increasingly using social media to vent frustrations with their experiences. Mainly because it gives them a perceived sense of power. The complaint is out in the open for all to see and customers tend to rally behind each other against the corporations.
The amount of time it takes for responses is also important. With a written complaint, customers can face lengthy waits for complaints. Even calling a customer service line can mean responses are prolonged.
However, with social media, customers expect a far quicker response:
- 42% of customers expect a response within one day.
- 39% of customers expect a response within one week.
- 7% of customers expect a response within one hour.
- 2% expect a response within one minute.
While these statistics are usually associated with just B2C companies, research by Raj Agnihotri, Rebecca Dingus, Michael Y. Hu and Michael T. Krush has also identified common traits in B2B industries.
Therefore, companies should stop thinking of social media as a sales tool. Instead, they need to consider the benefits of converting their social media efforts into a better customer engagement tool. Customer interactions should be based on education and service – not sales.
After all, a happier client will spend more money on their next purchase.
How do you use social media?