It’s time to get serious about social customer care

Nearly 70% of Australian consumers use social media, and we’re living in an increasingly social-first world. In fact, more than 93% of social conversations between brands and people today are one-to-one. For businesses, being responsive is table stakes, and consumers now expect that social channels will offer a better customer service experience than email or phone.

More than half of Australian small businesses, nearly half of medium-sized firms, and more than twenty per cent of large companies do not have a social media strategy. And at a time when more consumers expect quick responses from brands on social media, Australian businesses are largely failing to deliver on these expectations. With customers increasingly demanding service and support through social channels, brands that fail to be present and engaged risk alienating their customers.

It’s also costing them a lot of money. On average, it costs $6 to resolve a customer phone call, and $5 to close out a complaint over email. On social, it costs just a $1. The bottom-line impact of moving the bulk of customer care to social is potentially enormous. And businesses can expect future innovation from social networks to push more and more customers to seek out help from brands without leaving the social network.

For the most part, businesses in Australia are unprepared for this shift. When there is a social strategy in place, it’s often under-staffed and under-resourced. A great social customer care experience starts with a great social experience – that’s why it’s so important to have achievable and measureable social objectives, and brands must also be vigilant about constantly reinforcing the brand image and values through their social channels. This is even more crucial in a social care situation when consumers may be frustrated or upset.

Businesses, especially large companies, need to prioritise keeping pace with innovation. Social media is the fastest-moving industry in history, and innovation from the social networks is moving at a blistering pace.

Whether businesses are ready or not, customers will soon be seeking help and information on company social channels. Not meeting that need, and pretending that delivering for customers will not increasingly mean delivering on social, simply won’t work. Instead, it’s time for all companies in Australia to develop a sound social customer care strategy, backed by the right planning, publishing, and analytics tools. And it’s time to start a race to the top and focus on customer experience. This means pressure on businesses to provide a satisfying resolution.

Those that do not adapt to this world will be left out of the conversation.

Adrian Mottershead, Market Director – ANZ, Spredfast

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