Customers No Longer Ring To Ask Questions Or Voice Complaints: They Turn To Social Media For Immediate Answers.

So you think you know your customers, do you?

Well then, where do they turn to when they encounter a problem, or feel any degree of dissatisfaction with the products or services your business has supplied? Now, most businesses would assume that the obvious thing to do would be to ring their customer services department, if there is one. It’s a natural reaction because historically that’s always been the go-to destination. However, as Bob Dylan said, times are a changing. A new survey by NM Incite and McKinsey suggests that when it comes to ‘customer service’, providing a dedicated phone line is now way down on the list of customer priorities. Putting customers on hold for a prolonged period is no longer an option for savvy businesses: what people want in this new age of real-time communication is immediate action. According to the report, customers now turn instead to the social media and channels like Facebook and Twitter for instant answers.

NM Incite and McKinsey, a partnership specialising in the measurement and analysis of online audiences, advertising, video, consumer-generated media, commerce and consumer behaviour, discovered that 47% of people are now looking for ‘active’ customer service, and are turning their attentions to Facebook and twitter to make sure they get it. The report also found that one in three customers will instinctively turn to social media rather than phone a brand for assistance. According to Gadi BenMark, senior vice president of NM Incite’s advisory division, this is a significant development in the relationship between business and consumers, and one which will continue to grow over time:

“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. The implications are enormous for brands that are not implementing effective social care. 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.”

So what other insights did the report highlight?

Well, it appears that ‘social’ is definitely the way to go for those brands who want to build a loyal and trusting customer base:

  • 71% of consumers who have ‘positive customer service’ through social media will go on to recommend the brand to friends and followers.
  • 70% of consumers are likely to use social media for future questions or problems after getting a positive response.
  • One in three customers turn to branded social pages on Facebook to ask product questions, whilst over one in ten turn to branded Twitter handles for product information.

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