Why don’t customers use social media for customer service?

Facebook and Twitter may be creating new features to enable consumers to use social media for customer service, but it seems most of us don't like doing it.

why consumers don't use social customer service

Facebook and Twitter may be creating new features to enable social customer service, but it seems most of us don’t like using social media to get support.

eMarketer have done a decent job of collating some of the latest insights into which channels customers prefer to use for customer service – including social media – and the reasons for their preferences.

It has to be said, their findings don’t support the commonly repeated assumption that we are turning to social media as a first port of call for our customer service needs:

  • 65% of us never use social media for service because it takes too long.
  • 32% say the functionality is too limited and 30% say you can’t complete complex tasks.
  • 26% say that the lack of privacy inhibits them, which opens the door to Twitter’s new Direct Messaging features and Facebook’s Business Messenger.
  • 26% say they need a click-to-call or click-to-chat option, the latter of which is at least partially addressed by the recent Twitter and Facebook updates.

In fact, across the board, telephone support (29.7%) and website/web-chat (26%) remain the most popular forms of communication among consumers, with social media polling a derisory 0.7% of those asked.

This would appear to contradict the eight fold increase in social customer service enquiries cited in a recent Institute of Customer Service report, whose CEO, Jo Causon, wrote in The Guardian: “Twitter and Facebook provide a very public platform and the sort of easy access to organisations that modern consumers crave, so it’s no surprise that social media is fast-becoming an essential component of customer service strategies the cheap, convenient and public nature of social media platforms means they are a convenient way for shoppers to register their concerns.”

Preferred channel for customer service

While some of the reasons for the lack of usage of social media are being addressed, perhaps the fundamental question here whether people rely on social media to resolve their issue, or simply use it as an additional channel.

Statistics we have previously published indicate that 71% consumers who use social media for service do so because traditional channels (e.g. phone) have failed and that 74% say they try three or more customer service channels to resolve the same issue. This would suggest that social media could be a very actively used secondary channel, or perhaps even the channel of last resort, for customers who want to ensure their concerns elicit a response.

For updates on social customer service, you may want to check out the Social Customer Service Summit: http://socialcustomer.co.uk 

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2 comments

  1. Jeremy Taylor Reply

    The thing that puts me off using social media for customer service is that companies so rarely resolve the problem there. Even when it seems to be a straight forward question directed at a specific customer service Twitter account, the response I receive more often than not is “please call us so that we can discuss…”

    If I wanted to call, that’s what I would have done in the first place.

  2. Caroline Boden Reply

    Hi Luke, your thoughts echo the recent consumer research we carried out on this very same subject. Only 3% of the 1,000 customers we surveyed said that social media was their contact channel of preference. However, what was interesting, was that the 3% who do choose to use social media ahead of other more traditional channels, are using it for a wide variety of both simple and more complex contact situations. Our research report can be accessed here: https://www.echo-ms.com/knowledge-centre/research/maintaining-the-human-touch-in-customer-service/

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