Customer ServiceA new study called The State of Social Customer Service 2012 was recently released by NM Incite, a joint venture between Nielsen and McKinsey & Company. It highlights the importance of organizations providing social media users with prompt customer service through the social media the customers prefer to use, mostly Facebook and Twitter.

What consumers share with their families and friends has extensive reach in today’s interconnected world. NM Incite claims that a negative experience posted in public can negate the value of 5 positive posts.

The report defines a term called ‘social care’. According to the report: ‘Social Care is a system for companies to regularly provide customer service through social media platforms. Companies listen at the brand and category levels for customer questions, issues, needs and concerns, and address them through the social channels where existing and prospective customers express themselves.”

Three of the key findings in the report are:

1. 47% of all social media users have used social care, with usage as high as 59% among 18-24 year olds; usage spans all ages and genders.

Even the ‘over 65’ demographic uses social care about 30% of the time.

2. 71% of those who experience positive social care (i.e., a quick and effective brand response) are likely to recommend that brand to others, compared to just 19% of customers that do not receive any response.

3. Nearly 1 in 3 social media users prefer to reach out to a brand for customer service through a social channel compared to the phone.

Interestingly, of those who reach out to use Social Care, only 36% report having their issue resolved quickly and effectively. That means that many organizations are not equipped to handle the situations being presented in Social Media or are failing in their attempts.

Customer expectations from Social Care are very high. The majority of Twitter and Facebook users expect a response within the same day of posting. More than half the Twitter users expect a response within 2 hours!


The need for organizations to provide customer service using social media is not a new thought. This has been growing for several years. What is interesting in this study is

1. The volume of users, from very young (18-24) to seniors is steadily growing.

2. Expectations are high for responsiveness and the response is expected to be ‘effective’

3. Twitter and Facebook are the key social media channels with Facebook taking a large share of comments about products and services.

Facebook is probably more effective at spreading word of mouth as twitter followers tend to include more than just friends and family, while Facebook tends to be oriented towards a person’s closer relationships.



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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

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