By Catherine Acedillo, Project Manager
RENO, NV, January 2023 – Social Media… is it the new customer service? What in the world does that even mean? A simple google search will tell you that the most basic meaning of customer service is ‘the assistance and advice provided by a company to those who buy or use its products or services.’ Typically when people think of customer service, they think of online reviews and companies giving feedback or waiting hours on the phone to talk to a customer service representative. When it comes to customer service, social media is not what people usually turn to, but it seems much more prominent than you would think. When it comes to the marketing field, both customer service and marketing go hand in hand. Marketing, on one end, is what initially brings in the customers, and customer service is what retains them. Both concepts are codependent on each other as without the communication aspect of marketing; people are lost when it comes to the product or service; without customer service, it’s just a storefront. Since communication is one of the top factors in what makes customer service, it makes sense that social media is an advantage in the game.
As technology further develops, we all know that social media is one of the top contenders for ways to communicate. As of 2023, “Over 4.9 billion people are accessing social media worldwide,” stated DemandSage.com (demandsage.com). With that many people having access right at their fingertips, it’s a no-brainer that people tend to respond much faster on social media. Upcoming studies and observations show that customers want to communicate with brands via social media DM’s, especially when it comes to those of more recent generations. A Hubspot article states, “HubSpot’s 2022 Consumer Trends Survey found that 20% of Gen Z-ers and nearly 25% of Millennials have contacted a brand on social media for customer service in the past three months” (blog.hubspot.com/marketing/marketing-trends). This, in truth, doesn’t necessarily sound like a lot at first glance, but that means that one in every five Gen Z-ers and one in every four millennials have contacted a brand via social media. It also goes to show that “1 in 3 social media users would rather have social media customer care services than telephone or email” (bigcommerce.com). Now, this is not to say that emails and company phone calls will go out of style completely, but more so that social media will serve as an additional tool to further connect with customers in a more personalized sense and may even be what shifts the scale to a more virtual sense of communication with customers.
Now, you may be thinking that’s great, but why do people want to use social media as a customer service platform in the first place, and how does it affect me? Well, the answer to that is simple. People want to use social media as a way to communicate because it’s convenient and it’s fast. It’s a beneficial way for companies and agencies to attract customers, get quick feedback, and retain customer loyalty. Instead of the customer and seller acting as two different entities, they can work together to make each other’s lives easier. Stats show that “91% of customers say a positive customer service experience makes them more likely to make a further purchase” (Salesforce Research). Therefore, companies can improve, adjust, and promote as necessary by gaining customers’ input on items or services. And by the companies taking in this information, their customer gets a better product or service outcome. Overall, it builds a long-lasting relationship between the customer and seller. Not only that, but it also helps drum up a new business, as stats show that “If you give a positive social media customer service experience, 71% of your consumers will likely recommend your band to others”(bigcommerce.com).
As a business owner or entrepreneur, it may be beneficial to hop on this trend as it makes you look more relevant and modern and builds strong customer rapport. Don’t believe me? I wouldn’t have believed it myself if it didn’t work on me. Let’s look at a real-life example. At Ace Studios, we like to give birthday shout-outs to our employees. My birthday had just passed recently, and Ace Studios kindly gave me a birthday post-shout-out. Commented on that post was a message from a local business, Biggest Little Boba Shop. Those of whom we have helped create a video promotion in the past. They mentioned my Instagram user tag in their comment and offered to give me a complimentary birthday drink if I stopped by. Not having been to any boba shop recently, I was enticed and gladly thanked them for their offer. During our time assisting them with their video promotion, I got to know the owners, Sunny and Deela, quite well and grew fond of them. I knew Sunny himself was one of the main people who ran their Instagram. Not only did I sincerely appreciate the gesture, but I also felt seen and appreciated as a customer of theirs. Whether or not Sunny knew of this tactic, it allowed them to promote their business and attract a previous customer to come back. This sense of customer service shows personalization and connection between the customer and seller. It also helps bring my awareness back up to this boba shop and gives me a reason to visit their shop and offer my business.
Businesses can use something simple as commenting on a post to promote brand awareness and loyalty. Simply interacting with customers and showing there is more to a social media page than just infographics here and there, but a person behind the screen who cares about the matters being addressed. Remember, when a customer feels seen, they are heard. When they feel heard, it creates a deeper level of trust.