Businesses are well aware that social media has incredible potential for connecting them with their customers, but unfortunately many of them lack the expertise and understanding necessary to implement an effective social media strategy.
This is demonstrated by multiple pieces of recent research – a study by Locowise found that 87% of user posts to businesses Facebook pages went unanswered.
Another study by the Northridge Group found that one-third of the customers who contact companies via their social media accounts with customer service enquiries were ignored.
Using social media for real-time customer service
One of the benefits of using Facebook marketing as a way to communicate with and help your customers is that it’s real-time. Your customers can let you know what they need now, and whoever has the answer to their issue can respond immediately.
The customer doesn’t have to wait until they have time to head into town and visit you in store, and there’s no need for forwarding email enquiries until they reach the right person.
As noted above, the overall response rate to customer service enquiries was extraordinarily low. However, of the customers who received replies, 33% received their answer within an hour and 60% of enquiries received responses within four hours of having been posted.
This indicates that the businesses that understand the importance of responding to customer posts, and have the means to do so, are keeping their eye on the ball. One of the primary issues here, of course, is scale, which leads us nicely to the next point.
10.5% of businesses responded to ALL posts to their page
As mentioned above, scale is key here. Having the means to answer one or two enquiries a month is quite a different matter to receiving a few hundred questions per week. The businesses that made up this 10.5% may seem like social media heroes, when they in fact benefitted from being relatively small scale – none of them received more than three enquiries during the month focused on by Locowise.
Businesses that actively responded to posts on their Facebook pages only had an average response rate of 37%.
This is still extremely low. Simple responses, such as thanking posters for their feedback, or referring enquiries to the FAQ segment of your website, are enough to show that you care.
You don’t have to allow consumers to publish to your page – Facebook’s general settings allow you to disable this feature.
If your company is unable to answer any queries posted to its timeline, it may be best to disable this feature. Of course, this also essentially eliminates a cheap, potentially useful, source of market research, among other opportunities. Whether disabling the publishing ability is a viable option will vary from business to business, and should be carefully considered based on a range of factors, including the types of posts and enquiries received, and whether your company can begin to respond to a significant proportion of them.
65% of the pages that have publishing ability enabled do not respond to any posts, which understandably looks bad to customers. Social media is about interaction, and showing that your company cares about the same things as the consumer segment you cater to. Ignoring customer enquiries does not indicate that you care about your consumers or their problems.
Simply having a social media presence, or engaging in Facebook advertising, no longer puts you ahead of the game. However, having an effective social media can absolutely give you a competitive advantage. Consider getting help with this side of digital marketing with a social media consultant, such as Barrie at FoundUB4 – realigning your social media strategy has the potential to do excellent things for your business and the customer service experience it offers.