e-PA: Services – Our chance to give you an insight into what we do, and why it adds so much value to you and your business. This time, we want to take a look at our fantastic Social Media Answering service, and the importance of treating your ‘social’ customers the same as you would customers in your shop or office.
Social Media in Today’s ‘Virtual World’
Social means engagement. The very definition of social is the formation of cooperative and interdependent relationships with others. This, of course, is not how all social media usage turns out, however, the intent behind the term is about creating and/or nurturing relationships. Unlike static posts or billboards, positive social media relationships require engagement by both the poster and the reader.
In the last several years, social media as an engagement tool, for both personal and professional relationships, has skyrocketed in significance. News outlets, public service organisations, and now, even Downing Street, use social media to communicate, almost daily, with the world. Business owners today can no longer ignore the significance of social media tools in the engagement of clients and prospects. Although you may not be the Prime Minister, your publication strategy and social media responsiveness can have a serious impact on your brand.
Why does your company need to engage in social media?
Social media platforms are now replacing the morning and nightly news, which used to be the most sought after and expensive slots for advertising – because that’s where the most audience was. Today 6 out of 10 individuals get their news from social media, according to latest research, and this figure is on the rise.
This undoubtedly means that your prospects and clients are on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and, frankly, they expect you to be as well.
In addition to increased traffic, social media outlets are also an alternative engagement tool to email and traditional post. Yes, email marketing is still a useful and profitable channel but, due to increased levels of communication, and unfortunately, abuse of that avenue by less than savoury ‘marketing groups’, email inboxes are getting cluttered with spam and, as such, becoming unmanageable for many people. Instead of going through every email in their inbox, every morning, people are beginning to transition to scrolling social media news feeds.
While the prevalence of this shift is most noticeable in younger generations, don’t think this does not apply to your older clients and prospects, too. A simple fact is that, ultimately, the businesses who are enjoying increased positive brand awareness, apply attentiveness and timely responses to likes, shares, follows and comments.
Why does it matter?
The need to respond to social enquiries is a no-brainer. Nobody wants to purposely ignore their customers but, by not understanding how social media interaction effects your clients and prospects, you are significantly limiting your ability to build and maintain your audience.
Firstly, when establishing whether or not you should reply at all, research has demonstrated that the average human brain’s reaction to social media triggers a dopamine response. This dopamine response is so strong that studies have shown tweeting is harder for people to resist than cigarettes and alcohol.
Equally, another powerful human-response hormone triggered by social media engagement is oxytocin, sometimes referred to as ‘the cuddle chemical’ because it’s also released when you kiss or hug.
Secondly, you have to consider how long it is taking you to get back to your social media customers.
“40% of consumers expect brands to respond within the first hour of reaching out on social media, while 79% expect a response in the first 24 hours” (Social Sprout)
In other words, the majority of customers expect a same-day response from brands on social media. Simply offering support via social media isn’t enough anymore, and brands need to speed things up when it comes to responding to customers.
There are bigger implications for increasing your average response time other than providing ‘good’ customer service via social media, though. Below are some reasons why brands need to prioritise social media as a support channel:
– More and more customers rely on social media for support
According to recent data from Intercom, nearly half of support teams have cited a 51% increase in inbound volume in the wake of COVID-19, and you better believe that social media is part of that equation.
Quicker than email and avoiding the potentially awkward back-and-forth of a phone call, there are plenty of reasons why consumers prefer social media as a support channel. More questions and support tickets at large means more folks turning to social media for answers. Although phone and email might be seen as ‘priority’ channels, the boom of social questions isn’t going away. If anything it’s poised to spike. This is exactly why we’re seeing more support-specific accounts emerge, particularly on Twitter and Facebook.
– Quick responses result in more loyal customers
In short, your social media response time goes hand in hand with customer loyalty.
Recent research from Gartner notes that customers are significantly more likely to stick with a brand long-term when their service expectations are met. Repeat customers and brand advocates aren’t a ‘sure thing’ if you aren’t consistent and attentive with your customer care. This rings true on social media as well.
– Speedy customer service gives you a competitive advantage
According to recent Sprout Index data, 44% of consumers also say customer service distinguishes a brand from its peers. Continuing on from the previous point, having a fast social media response time means keeping customers from bouncing to competitors.
Think about it. If a brand fails to respond or leaves a bad taste in your mouth, chances are there’s a competitor that’s just a Tweet or DM away.
Poor customer service costs businesses over £37 billion in the UK, alone (Ombudsman Service Report). As noted earlier, this spells opportunity for companies who can meet (and exceed!) social media response expectations and connect to customers faster.
How can e-PA’s Social Media Answering service help you?
Sure, we obviously want to get around to our comments and messages as soon as they roll in. Recent research highlights that many companies are dropping the ball when it comes to social responses. This spells opportunity for businesses that are able to get back to their customers ASAP.
If you’re not sure if you’re responding quickly enough on social media, we’ve got you covered. At e-PA Virtual Services, we have a dedicated and experienced team of professional social media customer service experts, who constantly monitor our clients’ social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google My Business, to mention the most popular), providing immediate, engaging and informative responses to any enquiries that come in, be they through messages, comments, reviews, or any other communication method.
Whether it is directly responding to questions, or simply thanking your visitors for their engagement with your page(s), all replies are made using the personality and language of your brand/industry, and we pride ourselves on being able to provide a seamless service, akin to a customer walking in your shop/office, with the customer never realising they are not talking to a permanent member of your team, and leaving with a 5-star experience, that keeps them coming back again and again, every time.
If you are ready to step-up your online and social customer service game, take a FREE TRIAL of our Social Media Answering service or, if you want more information, contact e-PA today.
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