Social care is of ever-growing importance when it comes to social media for business, and it is important to understand what it is and how it differs from conventional customer service.
The Social Media Report 2012 from Nielsen and NM Incite explained a relatively new phenomenon: social care. What is social care? Social care is the concept of handling a portion (or, in some cases, all) of your customer service using social media.
This has been a growing trend in recent years and the majority of consumers have undoubtedly come across examples of social care when dealing with a brand. Perhaps the best known example of using social care to improve a brand’s client engagement and change client perceptions is Comcast.
Ever since Frank Eliason founded the @ComcastCares program, the company has seen a massive turnaround in terms of customer satisfaction and brand perception. That’s all thanks to social care.
Below are a few key benefits to note when it comes to social care, and a few reasons why it is of growing importance in the world of customer service.
According to the study by Nielsen and NM Incite, 47% of social media users engage in some form of social care. Furthermore, one in three social media users prefer social care to contacting a company by phone. With that high of a demand, it seems almost counter-intuitive to not have a department for social care.
If you ask anyone if they enjoy waiting on the phone for a customer service representative while listening to monotonous elevator music, the answer will almost certainly be uniformly, “No.” Social care eliminates this process and allows users to ask their question and go about their daily activities while waiting for a response. This also eliminates some of the pressure from the company. While it is important to respond in a timely fashion, customer service representatives are not faced with the potential of dealing with a frustrated customer who has been waiting an exceptionally long time.
It’s Less Expensive
Now we’ve got your attention! Social care offers a less expensive alternative to conventional customer service. Engaging with your audience on social media does not require as large a team as conventional forms of customer service. As noted above, the convenience aspect means that a smaller team can be engaging with issues as they arise as opposed to a large team dealing with a heavy volume of phone calls as quickly as possible.
@ComcastCares showed the market that Comcast really did care. The result? A huge spike in business and customer satisfaction. The fact that social media is a public medium means that people are able to see how you treat your customers, and if you really do care (and you should) it will show through social care. When people see that you treat your customers well, they are all the more likely to choose you when making their decision.
Social care is an important phenomenon and, slowly, becoming one of the most prominent forms of customer service.
Have you implemented any form of social care? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter!