Facebook is the top tool for customer service, consumers say

Facebook is the top tool for customer service, consumers say

Summary: If brands want to succeed with their social media strategy they need to have a comprehensive cross channel customer engagement plan according to a new report from Accent.

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The key to a successful customer engagement strategy on social media is to understand how consumers really use social channels. Accent Marketing has published a report detailing how brands can give the right attention to their customers.

Facebook is the top tool for customer service and consumers ZDNet
Image: Accent

The Jeffersonville, Ind. based company surveyed over 1,000 consumers throughout the United States in June. It looked at how consumers seek information from brands they follow across social channels.

It also looked at which channels are believed to be the best for communicating with a brand, and the looks at the power of the online community.

"Our goal was to connect with consumers to discover their preferences for engaging with a brand," ~ Roger Huff Director, Social Media & Digital Strategy, Accent.

Its 2014 Survey "Customer Engagement and Today’s Consumer" shows that brands need to understand how the roles of customer engagement are evolving. 

Consumers have moved from calling a toll-free number and emails to multiple social media channels.

The company looked at how consumers seek information from brands across social media channels.

It looked at how consumers actually engage with a brand and which channels consumers think is the best way of communicating with a brand.

It also examined the power consumers feel they gain from being a part of an online community. It discovered that customers want to drive interaction with the brand — especially when they want good customer service.

Facebook is the top tool for customer service and consumers ZDNet
Image: Accent
  • Almost one-third of consumers use Facebook to speak with a customer service representative

  • 44 percent of consumers expect a response from the brand on Facebook over other social media channels

  • Nearly half (47 percent) think that Facebook is the quickest social media channel to solve customer service issues

  • 72 percent of consumers only want to interact with the brand when they comment on social media channels

  • 82 percent use Facebook to speak with a customer service representative

  • Two thirds of consumers use Facebook to find good deals and promotions, including 80 percent of Baby Boomers

  • More men (34 percent) than women (25 percent) use Twitter to speak to a brand they have purchased a product from

  • 75 percent of Millennials find it helpful when other customers or followers respond to a question or comment posted on a brand’s social media channel, compared to 55 percent of Baby Boomers.

"Our goal was to connect with consumers to discover their preferences for engaging with a brand," Roger Huff, Director of Social Media & Digital Strategy for Accent Marketing Services said.

Accent recommends that brands follow a five-step approach to engage their customers:

  1. Build a dedicated team to support alternative channels beyond phone and email to ensure engagement through live chat and social media

  2. Ensure seamless interaction customer making sure that the engagement specialists can follow the conversation across social channels

  3. Use data to segment consumers and send relevant targeted communications to each segment

  4. Define a strategy based on how your consumers are using each channel

  5. Go beyond traditional phone engagement ensuring that consumers can reach trained specialists through each channel.

David Norton, executive vice-president at MDC Partners, and chairman of Accent. "CMOs need to build a trusted relationship with their consumers, creating a lifetime of engagement on social channels and in person."

The challenge for customers still seems to be getting brands to listen to them — at all.

Topics: SMBs, CXO, Consumerization, Social Enterprise

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5 comments
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  • I would rather

    use email/phone calls anyday. I do not use any social networking for anything! I am not a member/nor do I have a login for any. I resent many companies require Facebook as the only medium of comment. ZDNet, please do not follow suit. I am in my mid sixties, and do not have grandchildren, so I do not need the media to connect to them, so I refuse to sign up. I have three in use email addresses (including work) and a fourth not used for much--too much to keep track of without having more to look at!
    I have a landline as well as cellular telephones.
    dhays
    • That's nice

      That's a nice anecdote from someone who is afraid of change...now any comment on the topic?
      Buster Friendly
  • Survey Stats

    I find the need to use the "forum/blog" category for customer service ;-)

    The following 2 stats from your piece appear to be inconsistent:
    * Almost one-third of consumers use Facebook to speak with a customer service representative
    * 82 percent use Facebook to speak with a customer service representative

    What am I missing? Thanks a bunch!
    ssbiv
  • Word Of Mouth Advertising

    In the age of the smartphone, makes some sense to use social media as a connecting point but I am very careful about sharing info with brands that way because the terms of service typically mean the brand gets access to friends/followers. We would believe more in a 1 to 1 connection which values me as a customer because most people will shout from the mountain tops based on their experience with your brand - especially if it is bad. Case in point, Tyson has a product finder on their website and it clear is broken because the product I was looking for was not found in the stores they provided - I've ripped them directly and through social media. On the other hand, I just renewed my mobile contract and left positive word of mouth reviews for the verizon location because Nick did a great job. HJ Heinz once said do a common thing uncommonly good and too few companies do that these days which creates opportunities for us.
    UrgentInsights
  • Social Service is Required

    After reading this article, I can’t see how any company, of any size, wouldn’t want to deliver customer service via social channels. Even if the numbers don’t quite correlate to every industry, the concept does. Social Service should be an important part of just about every company – at least the ones that are serious about their customer service.
    Shep Hyken