Brands no longer have an option over whether or not they provide social customer service as consumer demand dictates that complaints and queries are at least acknowledged even if they are ultimately dealt with via a different (less public) channel.
A new study by IMGroup found that fashion retailer Next currently provides the best overall social customer service among brick-and-mortar retailers, followed by Argos and Marks & Spencer.
Next was the top performer on Facebook and the second best on Twitter, which are the two channels most commonly used for social customer service.
All of the retailers in the report had a Twitter presence, with seven of them operating a dedicated customer service feed. Only Superdrug and Boots do not use Twitter for customer service or complaint handling.
According to a study from Adobe, in 2012 repeat shoppers made up just 8% of all site visitors in the US yet they accounted for nearly 41% of total online sales.
So bearing in mind the fact that it’s also cheaper to keep a customer than it is to attract a new one, businesses need to be working hard to keep shoppers satisfied and give them a reason to return.
With this in mind, I’ve rounded up 11 ways in which ecommerce retailers can improve customer retention.
This week, an angry British Airways passenger took it upon himself to fight back against the poor customer service he received by purchasing a promoted tweet.
Brand managers are no doubt starting to ask themselves, what is our policy to deal with that?
Here are some of the most interesting digital marketing statistics we've seen this week.
Stats include social customer service, Facebook ads, smartphone sales, tablet video, showrooming, mobile conversions, and eBay's mobile hotspots.
For more digital marketing stats, check out our Internet Statistics Compendium.
An inevitable consequence of the push to achieve sales through multiple channels is that businesses must also be prepared to deliver multichannel customer service.
Poor levels of service can ruin the overall shopping experience and mean that the customer is lost forever, so online, in-store, mobile and all other channels must work together to deliver an excellent overall customer experience.
New research from eDigitalResearch examined how consumers prefer to contact companies and then compared the various response times and satisfaction levels.
The survey asked more than 2,000 UK respondents how they expect to be able to contact a business - 92% selected email, followed by telephone (71%) and by post (45%). Fewer than one in four (22%) said live online chat and just 11% said social media.
It’s no secret that to get the most out of social brands need to be willing to respond to other users, rather than just using it to push out dull marketing messages.
However a new report from Brandwatch shows that a quarter of the world’s major brands are still using Twitter as a broadcast channel rather than bothering to actively engage with consumers.
It could be a resource issue or simply that these companies don’t see any value in using Twitter to communicate with their customers, however brands like ASOS and Nike have shown the customer service value that can be derived from social media.
The US and UK are said to be two nations divided by a common language, and it seems they are also divided by a common social network.
A new study by 360i has found that Twitter usage patterns vary greatly between the two nations, particularly when looking at what time of day people are active on the network and how they engage with brands.
For example, Twitter users in the UK are more likely to be active in the late morning and early afternoon, specifically between 10am and 1pm, while in the US people tend to be most engaged after 6pm.
Customer service has evolved. Instead of returning to a store or calling a helpline, people are increasingly turning to social media to resolve their gripes.
So it’s perhaps no surprise, then, that 80% of companies plan to use social media for customer service.
And when you hit that sweet spot and create a well-oiled social customer service machine, the pay-off is huge: 71% of customers recommend a brand that gives them a ‘quick and effective’ response on social media.
Here’s a list of important things to consider.
In recent years social customer service has endured crises and successes in equal measure. Here’s a quick evaluation of where we are today, with some pointers for the future.
For an increasing number of people, social media is the first place they turn when they experience a problem.
Fewer than 50% of companies are actively responding to these enquiries and many of those are using cost-cutting copy and paste tactics, which is exactly what call centres were criticised for.
We need to invest in finding ways of supporting customers more effectively on the channel of their choice and ensuring a consistent customer service experience across all service channels.
Fans of funny Twitter feeds will probably be aware of Arena Flowers’ comedy account, and I highly recommend that you start following it if you're not already.
The florist adopted its rather offbeat strategy in 2011 after achieving limited success with a more traditional approach to social marketing, however it was forced to abandon the comic tweets recently following a disaster with its Valentine’s Day deliveries.
A series of problems with the supply chain meant that a number of orders didn’t arrive on time, so the customer service team turned to Twitter to help deal with the flood of queries and complaints.
The crisis has since subsided and the comedy tweets are back up and running, so I spoke to Arena Flowers' managing director Will Wynne about how the company used Twitter to help deal with the situation...