The Rise of The Social Customer and Their Impact on Business

22 May

Fifteen to twenty years ago, if you were dissatisfied with a company’s product or business practices, you’d probably stop buying from them. You might write an angry letter. You might even tell your friends and family (a whopping 25 people, at best) not to patronise that business. Five to ten years ago, you may have called the company’s callcentre, spoke to a customer service advisor and it’s likely that your complaint would have fallen on deaf ears.

But the game has changed thanks to social media. While it may feel like one angry tweet from you may not make much impact, the power of social media makes it possible for dissatisfied customers to change the course of business, even at giant companies. At best, companies are now striving to be more responsive to their customers to show that they care and at worst, companies are now living in fear of these pools of discontent.

There are some great examples of companies who are using social media as a customer care channel very well, including BT, First Direct, Dell, Virgin Media and Barclays, just to name a few. A recent article by BBC Journalist Alexis Akwagyiram highlighted this very issue, explaining how 65% of people surveyed actually thought social media was a better way to communicate with companies than call centres, as the success rate of ‘complaining’ on a social media platform (for everybody to see) was much more effective than talking to a callcentre representative who didn’t seem to have as much power to do anything (not to mention the expense of calling the company and having to wait in a queue whilst listening to awful hold music). With this in mind, could this be the biggest sign yet on how customer service will continue to evolve in the future?

As well as realising the benefits of being on social media to monitor the conversations their customers are having about them, a lot of companies have realised is the cost of not being on these platforms! With this in mind, I wanted to share this brilliant infographic from Frugal Dad, which shows some compelling examples that illustrate the rising power of the social media customer and the reasons why it is so important for companies to be ‘listening’ to what their customers are saying about their business/brand on social media platforms, regardless of the size of the company.

Do you have a favourite story about how an outcry on a social media platform changed the course of business? Or are you a business who is yet to start using social media? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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