Key reasons why social messaging is the future of customer experience
Toll-free numbers for customer care services have been around for a long time. However, such calls are often not very pleasant experiences. Navigating through a series of voice commands till you either get the right answer or get to a customer service representative, and then getting put on hold while they find a solution – takes its toll on patience levels. Also, not all calls to customer care end satisfactorily, and often multiple follow-ups are needed. Such delays irk many customers and even put them off. The continual quest for more effective customer service channels soon found a good option. With social media emerging as a powerful tool for customer outreach, its use in customer service solutions seemed a natural progression. Let's understand why.
The rise of social messaging
The digital-native Gen Z and social media have contributed to the preference for everything instant, including customer service. While social media started out as networking avenues for people to connect, it now finds use in multiple ways, e-commerce being one of the most popular ones. There are two aspects to this trend. The first is that people prefer to purchase through social media channels such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc., where they spend a lot of time and are influenced by their contacts. And the second aspect is the satisfaction of being able to connect instantly with brands. Brands’ responses in social messaging are usually instant, especially for complaints, as the high visibility could adversely affect their reputation.
According to a survey conducted by Zendesk, a customer service product company, the preference to use social messaging for customer service jumped 110% in the 2020-2021 timeframe. Many big-tech companies such as Apple, Google, WhatsApp, and Meta boosted business messaging on their platforms during this period. The survey states that 40 percent of the surveyed companies added a new customer service channel in 2021. Remarkably, for 53 percent of them, it was messaging, including apps like WhatsApp, SMS/texting, and other embedded messaging tools on their websites.
The report further states that those with the fastest resolution times and highest satisfaction scores were more likely to have achieved it due to messaging. Even the customer service agents preferred messaging as it helped them multitask efficiently. All these indicate a significant shift towards using social messaging for customer service. Both customers and brands prefer it for enhanced customer experiences, which drives growth and profitability through enhanced brand value.
Let’s see what factors are contributing to this trend.
Social messaging provides customers with easy accessibility to the brands. They don’t have to dial numbers or fill up forms to get their queries answered or issues resolved. A single message to the brand’s social media handles ensures instant follow-up calls or personal messages from the brand representatives to resolve the matter. This approach creates delightful customer experiences, as the customers feel wanted and valued, and drive loyalty. The worldwide number of social media users in 2022 is estimated to be 4.59 billion. It will only go up at an expected average annual growth rate of 5 percent from 2023 to 2027. That’s easy accessibility to potential customers.
Aids incorporation of social commerce strategies
According to a recent Statista report, the 2022 worldwide social commerce revenue valuation is 724 billion U.S. dollars. The forecast is that it will surpass six trillion U.S. dollars by 2030. Big brands such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc., have enabled ordering through their platforms. Hence, facilitating social messaging for customer interaction on their chosen purchase platform is essential to maintain consistency in customer relationships. It makes it easier for brands to integrate social commerce if the messaging is in place.
Enables outbound customer outreach
According to a Gartner report, by 2025, proactive customer interactions will outnumber reactive customer interactions. It means brands will do more outbound services for customer outreach. Social messaging with instant mass outreach and appeal is the best means to implement it. Customers are more likely to respond and continue conversations on the same channel they made purchases on. That makes it easier for brands to have meaningful, personalised interactions through one-on-one chats, leading to stronger customer relationships.
Improves operational efficiency
Cost-benefit analysis is a crucial factor that brands consider before implementing anything. Social messaging has proved to be a time- and cost-effective solution for customer service. During calls, agents can only handle one customer, and some calls are time-consuming. However, with messaging, agents can manage multiple customers simultaneously, increasing productivity and reducing resolution time and the per-contact cost. Also, it is easier to refer to chat histories to know the context. Another plus for social messaging is that brands can implement customer support automation through chatbots to improve efficiency.
Enhances brand value
A brand that moves with the times has a higher recall value. Customer experience is the one thing that assures this recall. A few credible industry studies indicate that it also drives revenues through loyalty.
- 68% of customers are willing to pay more for products and services from brands offering great customer experiences.
- 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases from the brand due to excellent customer experiences.
- Profits can increase between 25% and 95% by increasing customer retention rates by 5%.
By offering omnichannel experiences, brands indicate their willingness to meet customers where they feel most comfortable. In a highly competitive business landscape, it appears that customer experience is a vital factor driving business success with social messaging an integral part of the experience.
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