Social Media Customer Care: A Love Story

The young woman was excited, yet nervous. The relationship was just beginning – she had taken the first step, but would there be an answer?

Then, the sound of birds greeted her as she stepped onto the veranda, and she knew it was true.

She had gotten a response to her tweet.

The wild growth of social media has transformed the way we communicate with our family, friends, romantic interests – and, most importantly for you, our customers.

The information collected by about this revolution in customer care provides useful insights on platform adoption, business usage, and brand successes.

Yet, in reality, this is a love story.

The flower of youth

Remember how you felt when you had your first crush? The excitement, the hope – the nerves?

Consumers have experienced all those emotions and more as they have navigated the ever-expanding world of social media. In the U.S., adoption rates for social media grew from 5% in 2005 to 69% in 2016. Statista reports that in Canada, social media penetration today is as high as 75%.

With time, this explosion has provided people with a powerful sense of connection and a fluency in their favorite platforms.

Their eyes meet

It didn’t take long for brands to notice this beautiful way to interact with customers. Eighty-one percent of businesses include social media as part of the way they offer service to their customers.

For many, this is a match made in heaven. After all, customer service provided over social media platforms costs one-sixth as much as the same service given from a call center.

And customers are longing for social media customer care. Sixty-three percent of consumers expect your business to offer service this way. The vast majority of users (90%) have communicated to a brand through social media at least once.

All the sparks are there.

Love at first sight?

In response, many businesses have taken the leap – perhaps with a bit too much confidence.

Of those who offer customer care on social media, 80% say they are doing an “exceptional” job.

If only customers felt the same way.

Actually, only 8% of consumers would call the social media service they receive “exceptional.”

A broken heart

Many customers feel jilted and it’s easy to see why. Almost all complaints sent through social media (95%) never reach the company in question. Response rates to inquiries are shockingly poor – less than 13%.

Response timing is also a serious problem. Consumers expect social media responses in an hour (42%), 30 minutes (32%) or even immediately (11%).

The average response from a business comes in five hours.

Not surprisingly, consumers turn to others for consolation. Some will post online after a bad service experience (31%). Others (30%) will start flirting with a competitor.


The most effective brands in social media customer care are strengthening their bonds with the consumer. Those offering the best service experience show a 92% customer retention rate. Even better, those customers spend as much as 40% more and 71% of them will recommend that business to others.

Social media customer care is likely to become the standard for service delivery in e-commerce and beyond. You can make the relationship work by executing your service efforts with integrity and efficiency. Doing so is the best way to keep your customer’s love.