According to the 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study, 93% of social media users believe a company should have a presence in social media and 85% believe a company should not only be present but also interact with its consumers via social media. The study revealed 56% of users feel both a stronger connection with and better served by companies when they can interact with them in a social media environment.
When asked about specific types of interactions, Americans who use social media believe:
Companies should use social networks to solve my problems – 43%
Companies should solicit feedback on their products and services – 41%
Companies should develop new ways for consumers to interact with their brand – 37%
Companies should market to consumers – 25%
The study suggests that social media-driven customer service can be an effective tool for more credible problem-solving. Your customers are talking about you (whether you are listening or not) and there are many tools that can help you hear what they are saying.
Take Comcast as an example. They took a well-known history of bad customer service and turned it into a Twitter following of over 20,000 people who seem to appreciate their outreach. Frank Eliason and his team of 10 fields several hundred tweets a day, a mix of customer-service issues, spam and feedback on other Comcast Twitterers. @comcastcares has received about 30,000 public tweets to date and gets some 6,000 emails a month through an address it posts on blog comments.
Social media is clearly changing the way brands must manage and monitor their brands. The cost of poor customer service can have an immediate negative impact while the benefit of good customer service can do just the opposite. One thing is almost certain – you can be assured either impact will have a reach far and wide.