Firms should embrace social media for customer service - research

Firms should embrace social media for customer service - research

With the vast majority of Brits regularly using social media, businesses should follow suit and embrace the medium as a customer service channel, research from first direct suggests.

A poll of 2095 people from YouGov for the virtual bank shows that 79% of Brits regularly use social media each month. A quarter of respondents who share online use social media to tell the world how good a company is and 56% use the Web to help make purchasing decisions.

Not only do customers use social media to find and share information on firms, they want the companies themselves to do the same.

Over three quarters of Brits are more likely to buy from brands that are open and honest and one way to engender trust is to share customer feedback online - cited by 72% of respondents as a way to increase their faith in companies.

Online outfits Google and Amazon score highest when respondents are asked which companies they consider to be most open while banks come at the bottom of the table.

The research was commissioned to coincide with the launch of first direct's social media site that features both positive and negative comments from customers. The offering aggregates consumer opinions from eight million social media sites.

In a similar vein, South Africa-based Standard Bank has recently added a section to its blog site where customers can submit ideas on how it can improve service. Submitted ideas are posted on the site, enabling other customers to vote for them and add their own comments.

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 11 November, 2009, 16:40Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

And some brands are using social media for customer service extremely well.  BT Care for example has an excellent service via Twitter which gets universal praise.

Some industries are still struggling to engage with social media and are missing a golden opportunity right under their noses.  Use of Social media in Financial Services is one such example, but sites like IFA Life are helping IFAs, financial planners, life and investment companies to get to grips with it as a vehicle for engaging with and adding value to customers.

Customer service is potentially one of the most exciting aspects of social media, but it is often overlooked as too many businesses only see it as a sales channel.

Philip Calvert
Social Media Marketing Speaker