Social Care is the New Customer Care: 3 Things Your Business Needs to Know

From brand management to online shopping, social media is rapidly changing the way businesses connect with customers. So, what’s the next frontier in the social media revolution? Customer service.

Social care is a way for companies to provide enhanced customer service via social media. Responding to complaints and problems on Twitter or Facebook provides an immediate solution. There’s no need for customers to spend hours on hold or navigate confusing menu options in order to speak to a representative.

According to NM Incite’s “State of Social Customer Service Report”, nearly one out of every two customers aged 18 or older report using social care. One in 10 customers seek service on a daily basis. One in three social media users prefer to reach out to a company via social media, rather than by phone. This number is expected to increase dramatically over the next year as social care reduces frustration and improves customer service outcomes.

Does your business provide social care for customers? Doing so can give your business an edge on the competition by enhancing customer relations and improving brand loyalty.

Follows these tips to make social care work for your business:

#1: Be available. Social care users prefer to reach out to businesses via their company Facebook page or Twitter. However, no one wants their Facebook page or Twitter feed plastered with customer complaints. Consider dedicating a Twitter handle to responding specifically to customer service queries. For example, Citibank uses @AskCiti, American Express uses @AskAmex, and Sony Playstation uses @AskPlaystation for official Twitter support.

#2: Be speedy. Social media has conditioned customers to instant feedback. Failure to provide an instant resolution can not only lead to customer dissatisfaction, but also hurt your brand as unhappy customers blast your business on social media. On the flipside, a prompt response strengthens brand loyalty. According to the NM Incite Report, 71% of customers who experience a quick and effective response via social media say they are likely to recommend a brand or company. Speed matters: 33% would still recommend a brand or company that offered a quick but ineffective response. In contrast, only 17% would recommend a company that offered an effective but slow response.

#3: Be effective. When it comes to social care, customers have high expectations. It’s not enough to simply offer social care; it’s important to get social care right. Doing so will help widen the gap between you and your competition. Failing at social care, however, will hurt your brand. Thanks to social media’s built-in viral capabilities, a social care blunder may even cause more damage than a customer service mistake.

Bottom line: Effective social care must be integrated with your brand management strategy. Encourage customers to reach out to your business via your dedicated social care channel. Establish both Facebook and Twitter accounts dedicated solely to resolving customer care concerns. Train your customer service team to offer a prompt response. While a favorable outcome is always best, be quick to acknowledge a customer’s complaint, even if there’s little that you can do to help resolve the issue.