Social Media Support - No Longer Optional

by Patrice Samuels | Apr. 2, 2015

Just last week, Comcast announced that they will triple the number of Social Care Specialists” available to support their customers. Social care specialists handle customer support requests via social media channels. Comcast plans to add 40 social care specialists to its current pool of twenty specialists to cover 22 million subscribers. For Comcast, expanding services through social media is one attempt to amend the brand’s poor reputation as it relates to customer service.

Most brands now recognize the need to manage communications with and about their brands on social media, but are evaluating how much to prioritize social media as a channel for support as providing dedicated support over social media represents an additional expense. Given the popularity of social networking, however, brands may suffer a greater impact if they do not support their customers through these channels.

The popularity of social media transcends generation gaps and other demographic groups. According to a recently published whitepaper from Parks Associates, Digital Engagement of Energy Consumers74% of online adults in broadband households use social networking sites; 71% use Facebook, and 19% use Twitter.

Seeking support through these sites is increasingly appealing for the following reasons:

-          Faster access – By using social media sites, consumers avoid burdens such as having to find a contact number, to navigate through call menus or to find the appropriate contact links from a company website.

-          Quick response time -- Frustrated consumers no longer suffer in silence as, in an effort to minimize negative publicity, brands are typically very responsive to  complaints received publicized on these channel.

-          Better insight into support needs -- Some consumers have also found that they can give brands a better visual of the technical problems they experience using social media channels. Social media allows consumers to share pictures and video, which gives the support provider better insight into the problem than can described on a phone call.

-          Meeting customer expectations - Parks Associates report "The Evolution of Tech Support: Trends and Outlook 2nd Editionoutlines that 30%of broadband household believe that it is somewhat important for support services to include social media channels, while 19% believe that this is very important.

Opening up social media communication channels to customers exposes companies to greater risks. However, consumers are already leveraging these channels to communicate their experiences with brands. Given the transparent nature of social media interactions, brands must manage their social media presence. Furthermore, consumers report feeling a stronger connection to the brands after interaction on social media. Brand loyalty generated through social media interactions can create immeasurable, long-term benefits for companies. 

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