Social media is changing the way consumers are seeking customer service, a new survey reveals, with 47pc of US social media users actively seeking customer service through social media, a practice the survey refers to as social care.
The 2012 NM Incite Social Care Survey from social media consumer insights provider NM Incite, Nielsen and McKinsey, also shows that 30pc of social media users prefer to reach out to a brand for customer service via a social channel instead of the phone.
The survey of thousands of social media users of all ages and both genders found that 18-24-year-olds are the highest users of social care, with 60pc of females and 57pc of males actively seeking customer service through social media channels.
Thirty per cent of social media users who are over age 65 have used social care.
Frequency is also high, with 51pc of social media users engaging in social care more than once a month, and nearly one in 10 of those individuals using social media for customer service on a daily basis.
"What we’re seeing is that customers are turning to social media channels for customer service, regardless of whether and where a particular brand is actually equipped to handle customer service over social media," said Gadi BenMark, senior vice-president of NM Incite’s Advisory division.
"Today’s customers choose when and where they voice their questions, issues and complaints. They don’t care if a company is set up to answer customer questions on Facebook, or if it has an actual Twitter handle for customer service. The implications are enormous for brands that are not implementing effective social care," BenMark said.
"There is also great upside for those that understand that the lines between marketing and customer service are blurring, and take action to organise, operate, and manage performance in this new merged world."