By Barrett Ishida

 

If people are talking about your business on social media, you need to be there to respond.

Many of you already manage a business account there, but you need to be listening and engaging, not just talking.

Gone are the days when people only called a customer service phone number for help. People don't like calling, especially Millennials, due to the feeling that they are presumptuous and demand undivided attention. Due to this telephoniphobia, even smartphones are made to be carried first, talked into second.

The majority of social media users are mobile (87% on Facebook, 80% on Twitter), meaning they can engage you at any time. In fact, customers looking for support on social media has increased by 21% in the first two quarters of 2015 alone. Because you are already likely using these channels for your company's voice, it's time to give your company eyes and ears. Be social on social media. Have conversations, say thank you, provide help.

But... 

You have a 2 hour window to respond, at best.

Company social media response expectations via Hubspot

Company social media response expectations via Hubspot

That's the general expectation of people who engage you. In fact, knowing how important social customer support is, Facebook recently added a new badge option to their Pages which show if a company is responsive to messages.

You may be thinking, everyone's way too demanding and impatient these days. Maybe you don't have time for that. So what if you just let them be? Well...

Nothing good comes out of ignoring your customer.

Research says that 60% will react in a negative way. This includes telling friends and family about their bad experience, considering buying from your company less, not recommending it and so on. In fact, 74% feel that shaming a company on social media will actually lead to better service.

If you take the time to respond to customers, however, the same study showed that 47% would recommend your brand on social media, 43% would encourage friends and family to buy from you and 38% would be more receptive to your advertisements. And if your customer support representative adds the customer's name and their own signature to the response, customer recommendations increase by 77%.

Twitter international airline accounts of ANA and JAL. ANA responds to customers, JAL doesn't and only tweets in Japanese (aside from their flight info account)

The overall message is that you care.

No one likes to be only talked to while being ignored, yet brands talk 4 times more than they respond, and 7 out of 8 requests still go unanswered within 72 hours. If you or someone else in your company can't find the time to cater to your customers on social, you can look to outsource the task. It can be especially hard, though, if you're doing business overseas without the right community management. Just look at the troubles companies like Taco Bell went through when they entered Japan. You can definitely find a good management partner, however.

If you still don't believe providing service on social media is that important, take a look at KLM Airlines. Their annual revenue from social customer support alone is flying high at US $25 million.


For more information, here's an infographic made from Twitter's findings:


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