To be successful, CMOs at major brands need to ensure that they are engaging with customers across all channels—phone, social media, email and in-person. A brand can't simply throw up a Facebook page or start a Twitter account to engage with customers on social media. It means aligning internal marketing resources that are equipped to interact with happy and unhappy customers in a channel-agnostic way.
It's not earth-shattering to admit that consumers today have a new set of attitudes and beliefs that have been shaped by experiences not only with brands, but also through their personal and professional networks. It's consumers—who are smarter, more empowered and digitally savvy—who decide which brands earn their trust AND how they want to engage with these trusted brands. Gone are the days when a 1-800 number was all a brand needed to interact with its customers. Today, CMOs need to implement a strategic customer engagement plan across channels—especially on social media.
We surveyed more than 1,000 consumers to better understand how they engage with brands on social media. According to the research, the majority of consumers (63 percent) think the phone offers the highest level of customer service, but live chat and social media are emerging as preferred tools—especially among millennials.
It's important to remember that if your brand is not actively monitoring social media channels, you're missing large amounts of conversations that are happening about your brand. CMOs need to institute social media monitoring to identify areas that are commonly overlooked when broad, generic social media strategies are implemented. To be proactive, brands need to monitor each and every time a customer reaches out and respond when appropriate, regardless of channel.
Consumer Behaviors by Social Media Channels
Likewise, it's important to recognize that consumers behave differently across channels. To nurture customer loyalty, it's important that brands understand how their audience segments use different channels. For example, our research discovered that nearly one-third of consumers use Facebook to speak with a customer service representative and 44 percent of all consumers expect a response from brand on Facebook over other social media channels.