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Social media has become a standard channel for customer engagement. However, many organizations still struggle with how to properly use this channel. 

To gauge organizational maturity in this area, Aberdeen recently published a “state of the market” study on  Social Customer Care. The findings are eye opening. As illustrated in the figure below, companies clearly recognize the importance of social media as a customer interaction channel. Indeed, actual and anticipated adoption rates have steadily increased over the last five years.

Figure 1: Social Media Has Become a Well-Established Customer Care Channel

customer service social media adoption

Defining social customer care

When discussing social customer care programs, it’s important to make clear what we’re talking about. With an 81% adoption rate, it’s far more likely than not that any particular company currently uses social media. At the same time, such broad adoption greatly reduces the chance that companies define social customer care in the same way.

For the purposes of Aberdeen’s research, “social customer care” means using social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – to monitor and respond to customer requests. This also includes as using them as communication channels for product announcements, updates on service outages, and so on.

Finally, maintaining online communities (both third-party and company-hosted) and using social media messaging functions (e.g., Facebook Messenger or Twitter direct messages) for customer communications are also considered a part of these programs.

What’s in it for them?

Why are businesses, as shown in the figure above, increasing their adoption of social media at such a steady pace? For one simple reason: Companies using social media in this way achieve far superior financial results.

Companies using social media to deliver support enjoy an 81 percent greater annual increase in revenue from customer referrals than non-users. They also see an 11.2 times greater annual improvement in return on marketing investments.

Of course, it’s important to note that simply adding social media to the channel mix won’t guarantee superior results. In fact, when executed poorly, using social media can do more damage to company results than not using it.

Read Aberdeen’s full report to learn how Best-in-Class firms lay the foundation for maximum success in social customer service.

Image Source (Creative Commons): magicatwork.

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