By choosing social media over other communications channels, millions of customers have given voice to their concerns in what has become an increasingly public arena. Businesses no longer ask whether they should respond to these issues or not, but how.

Social customer service is now a fully established requirement for customer support. However, many still find it hard to tease out the differences between social monitoring, social marketing and social customer service. The truth is that social customer service is a whole different ballgame--with unique practices, strategies and benefits that far exceed the ones offered by social monitoring and social marketing services.

In the next paragraphs I will discuss five key ways in which your business can benefit from implementing an effective social customer service program. To find out the full benefits of implementing social media into your customer service offering download our Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service.
1) More Organic Customer Endorsement: Establishing a constant, customer-centric, presence through social media is important because customers are more likely to share their experiences and recommend your brand to their friends when you reach out to them. Many studies show that customers who have a positive experience online are four times more likely to endorse the brand than those who don't. Being present and active before customers engage with you is a way to exceed their expectations and create a positive impact in their experience.

2) A Boost in Customer Value: Social customer service increases customer spending. It's simple: customers who engage with your company through social channels are likely to spend 20-40% more than those who don't. Thus, providing quality interactions can be a highly competitive differentiator within most customer oriented industries. In this sense, using social media for customer service helps you stand out as a customer-centric company and is a great chance for you to set your offering apart in the minds of consumers.

3) More Efficient Customer Service: Goocial customer service reduces the overall internal cost to serve the customer. According to a recent report from Gartner, the social customer agent can manage four to eight times more high-value interactions, compared with a traditional, voice-based contact centre agent. This is an important figure, especially keeping in mind that 70% of consumers who use social media for customer service will do so again, if satisfied with their experience. In short, investing in social customer service just makes good sense.

4) Preventive Protection of Brand Reputation: A study by Altimeter found that the biggest cause for social media crisis during the past decade has been--you guessed it--poor customer experiences. Being present at the earliest warning signs of an online crisis is the best way to protect your brand against a reputation meltdown. In this sense social customer service is the only active and engaging way to address dissatisfaction and negative emotions surrounding your brand.

5) Possibility for New Business Opportunities: Unlike traditional channels, social media allows agents to engage with an increasing number of users. This allows them to create a positive impact on new customers, not only by broadcasting things like latest offers, but also by providing advice for purchasing decisions. All of this can be done while also retaining existing customers and deepening the individual relationship with them. Proactive outreach is a fine art--one that offers a great opportunity to stand out positively against the competition.
To read about the full benefits of implementing social media into your customer service strategy download our Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service.
Download the Infographic on Why Customer Service Cannot Be Ignored.