It can be difficult to predict the value of delivering customer service and support via social, according to Gartner Research Vice President Jeff Mann. It's easier to show the value once a company starts using social for customer service, Mann said during his presentation today at the Gartner Customer Strategies & Technologies Summit 2012 in London. In a few cases, he said, companies forced to respond to a major customer outcry via social discovered significant benefits and created formal strategies as a result.Mann offered four compelling reasons to offer customer service and support via social media:
- Customers' comments are out there on social channels whether or not you want to respond. In fact, other customers may reply and create a discussion about your brand. It's best to take part in the conversation.
- Customers demand a response. Studies show that customers expect a response to service issues noted in social channels; some within hours and others within minutes. In some cases there's a chance that churn will increase if you don't respond.
- You can decrease customer supports costs by responding via social. Mann cited
measureable costs reductions of 10 to 50 percent, which varies depending on such attributes as the industry and the extent and types of service offerings--for example, companies that host peer-to-peer support communities may see greater cost reductions.
- It makes customers happy when companies respond to their concerns and inquiries, and other customers (and prospects) will see that. Doing so contributes to the overall reputation of the brand.