The Status of Social Media Support
It sounds like a good idea especially when clients are clamoring for it en mass but a closer inspection of this rapidly growing offering show less than impressive satisfaction scores. What could be wrong? Sadly – a lot! As a major social media management firm, it’s not uncommon to encounter clients that give social media marketing and customer support a DIY try before coming to us for professional help. More often than not, the story goes something like this…it started off well enough with a few well timed offers and kindly interaction between fans and friends; soon it became a bit more burdensome but well worth the investment of time and effort to build solid business relationships. Eventually, as clients demanded online social support, response rates began to drop. Interaction took on a decidedly negative tone and once positive client testimonials turned downright ugly as users become frustrated by delays. Suddenly, outsourcing social media management started to look a lot more attractive!
First, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s not all that uncommon! Running a social media marketing campaign, working with clients, creating compelling content on a day-to-day basis isn’t just time consuming…it’s downright exhausting especially without the resources and support of experts in the field. There is more to it than clicking a few buttons – in fact, social media marketing is becoming big business with many levels of specializations making it all but impossible to keep up with algorithm changes, legal trends, specialized techniques, content creation and client support without at least a little bit of help.
Unfortunately, social support is one area where small business owners simply cannot afford to play around. Get it wrong and you risk the wrath of long time clients or missed opportunity associated with new clients. For example, recently the author was reviewing the rather large purchase of a whole house solar system. Two main competitors were neck and neck on price so it came down to customer support. Rumor had it that one company – although better known with a well established reputation – was not responsive to client contact. Indeed, after several attempts to reach the vendor by phone and social media contact, several days passed before any response or recognition was made on behalf of the company. In comparison, the somewhat smaller American based company had a highly interactive social media presence with complete customer support and contact information listed. A sample phone call resulted in an immediate response by the third ring. A test question on their social media site was answered within the hour. Guess which company got the sale?!
As customer support increasingly becomes part of the sales process, the importance of social media support simply cannot be overstated. Yet, a new study conducted by Conversocial found that over half of social media consumers rated customer service experiences as “disappointing” or “mediocre”. Ouch!
By comparison, the majority of small business owners self-reported their own efforts as satisfactory or above average. So, why the big disconnect?
Different Expectations are to Blame!
The variation between small business perception of social media support versus client satisfaction is explained in large part to variations in expectations. Many small business owners are still operating under decades old business patterns where returning a phone call could take days. Responding via snail-mail might entail weeks of waiting. The use of email moved expectations along but even a half dozen years ago many clients would wait 24 to 48 hours before receiving a response. The exponential growth of mobile marketing, any-time access to information and social media support has radically altered client expectations. For instance;
- 30% of clients expect a response in the same business day (at worst) with roughly 30% expecting a response “within hours”.
- Roughly 29.7% expect a response in less than 1 hour.
- Over 16 percent expect a response in LESS THAN 10 minutes!
So, how does your company measure up? If you are like most small business entities, there is probably room for improvement unless you already outsource to a reputable social media management firm. Clearly, any business expecting to respond to clients during the next business day is at risk of already having lost the sale or upsetting existing customers. Over 45% of clients demand attention within the hour with the majority of remaining clients providing slightly more latitude as long as their concerns are met within the same business day. Big ticket items are especially likely to include customer support as part of the buying decision yet more than 80% of all consumers felt social support was lacking despite a clear and present desire to interact with a company via social media. Given the current economic climate, can your business truly afford not to engage in superior social media support?