A new study has revealed that while an alarming nine out of ten Americans (93 percent) say that companies fail to exceed their customer service expectations, those that use social media for support, while far more vocal, wield greater influence and are likely to spend substantially more.
In their third Global Customer Service Barometer, American Express explored customer attitudes and preferences towards consumer service in the U.S. and ten other countries, and noted that almost one in five customers (17 percent) had used social media at least once in the past 12 months to obtain a service response. While a minority, this group of consumers is actively engaged and vocal about the brands they choose and the service that they receive, but are loyal to businesses that exceed their expectations – social media users are willing to pay a 21 percent premium on brands that deliver great service, compared to just 11 percent for those who do not use social media.
Perhaps more importantly for marketers, social media users who receive great service have a significantly better reach than others, telling an average of 42 people about their positive experience, compared to just 9 people for social absentees.
It does, however, work both ways – 83 percent of social media users have not completed an intended purchase because of poor customer service, and go on to inform an average of 53 people, compared to just 49 percent of those who are not active on these networks (who tell 17 people).
The survey also revealed the top five reasons why customers use social media for support.
- Seeking a response from the company about a service issue (50 percent)
- Praising a company for great service (48 percent)
- Sharing information about a service experience with your audience (47 percent)
- Venting about a poor customer service experience (46 percent)
- Liaising with other users about how to receive a better customer experience (43 percent)
“Companies must keep their eyes on the prize when it comes to customer service,” said Jim Bush, Executive Vice President, World Service, American Express. “Consumers who have used social media for service in the last year are willing to pay a 21% premium at companies that provide great service. They also tell three times as many people about positive service experiences compared to the general population. Ultimately, getting service right with these social media savvy consumers can help a business grow.”