The rise of the social customer

This year more than ever, the issue of social customer service is front and centre in the minds of customer service leaders. Many major companies are left with more questions than answers on how to implement, strategise and budget. It’s a common question, but why should a company bother with social media customer service? It’s difficult to measure and prove the business case, plus in the current climate, who has the budget and resources? Well the following may just surprise you… (in a good way)

A well structured and thought out social customer service plan isn’t free, and to do it right requires investment and time. But get it right like Dell, and the rewards can be huge. They famously claimed to have made $6.5 million from engaging with their customers on Twitter alone. That’s nothing to be sniffed at… And when you consider that socially engaged customers spend on average 30% more with a brand, there is a huge carrot at the end of the seamlessly never ending stick. However getting those rewards is a long road and there WILL be bumps along the way.

Knowing when those bumps are coming and ensuring your social media vehicle has a suitable suspension is where the major wins are made. At first it will feel like you are opening Pandora’s box. But once you’re in there, you can influence and steer the conversation towards a resolution instead of another upset unanswered customer in a very public forum.

The maths make a compelling case; 58% of those who have tweeted about a bad experience have never received a response from the offending company. There’s a huge opportunity for your business to step in and gain influence. And it’s not just unanswered conversation, there’s also a huge financial implication. Social media users are willing to pay a 21% premium for brands that deliver great service through social media. What’s even more astounding is that 83% of social media users have not completed an intended purchase because of poor customer service and will inform 53 people of their decision compared to 17 people for those not active on social.

The underlying point here is that consumers expect you to be able to answer them in social media forums now more than ever. And going forward it’s a trend that’s set to continue. More alarming is that it’s not just your typical 16-24 year old group who are active in the social media space. Guess who’s expected to be the fastest growing group of social media users heading towards 2015? These guys…


Which means if your customer service team isn’t fully comfortable in the social media space, you will find yourself out of touch with the very customers you seek to help.

You can see and hear from our CEO Katy Howell on how to measure and prove value & organise your team’s resources amongst other things in person on the 12th of September at the Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park. She will be alongside: Warren Buckley, MD of Customer Service for BT Retail, Sean Canning, Executive VP of Customer Management at Firstsource and Graham Webster, Director of Customer Experience for Telefónica Europe.

If you can’t make it or are looking to implement social customer service or even just fancy some background reading, we’ve got a few answers to some of your major questions in our whitepaper. It’s focused on making the business case for social customer service. Within we discuss:

–  How you can start to make money from social customer service

–  How to differentiate yourself from the competition and gain competitive advantage

–  What makes up the right staff to maximize your social media presences effectively

–   The costs to your business and how to reduce the risk involved

Pick up your complementary analysis and insight at

Questions? Why not tweet us or follow us @IFtweeter, we talk social media 24/7.

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