A customer publicly shames your product on Facebook. If you handled the complaint well, you can turn a disgruntled individual into a loyal customer. Ignore it and you could have a PR headache on your hands.

You've read about these situations before. And the fact is, customers now expect businesses to address their concerns promptly on social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. A recently released report from mobile workforce management site ClickSoftware showed that if a brand, big or small, can sufficiently address concerns in a public forum, they can rack up tons of loyal customers and even boost their bottom-line. The survey drew data from a variety of sources, including CMSWire, BizReport, and Knowledge Networks.

Here are a few quick takeaways every business should know. 

1. Whether you know it or not, customers are already using social media to connect with you. According to the report, 62% of customers said they have already used social media for customer service, and 47% of social media users said they "actively seek" customer service through social media. 

2. They do it because it works. Turns out, 30% of customers said they prefer social media to the traditional customer service phone call. And 55% expect a response that same day.

3. Most consumers want to like your company. A little over 70% of customers who have a positive customer service experience through social media wind up recommending the brand. And, they spend 20 to 40% more money than customers who haven't had that interaction.

4. If you aren't responsive, you lose out. On the flip side, a negative customer service experience can be costly. More than 800 customers surveyed said they did not make a purchase as a result of poor customer service.

5. You can connect one-on-one. Nearly one third of customers said they turn to branded social pages on Facebook to ask product questions, while 10% turn to branded Twitter handles.

Published on: Jan 8, 2013