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How can you use social channels to boost your bottom line? Here are five ways that social-based services can strengthen customer relationships, boost loyalty and increase sales.

According to the Institute for Customer Service, one in four social media users in the UK used platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+ to make a complaint over the past three months and 31 percent of consumers turn to social media to make pre-sales enquiries. 

So the key question for all customer-facing businesses is whether they are truly making the most of social channels and how if harnessed correctly they can make a tangible difference to your bottom line?

Here are five ways in which introducing social based service can strengthen customer relationships, boost loyalty and ultimately lead to higher sales.

1) Power of recommendation

Most businesses regardless of size or type acknowledge the value that word-of-mouth can have on persuading customers to buy, and today many consumers follow or like brands on social media such as Twitter or Facebook with a third of these typically providing feedback on-line. 

However, many organisations are failing to really take advantage of this deep pool of existing and potential customers. By proactively interacting with relevant people, companies can find new sales opportunities as well as make the most of positive endorsements or testimonials. 

2) Real-time response

Conversely it is even been possible to transform negative comments by resolving these quickly, surpassing expectations, and thereby turning complainers into advocates. Comments such as “I would never recommend you” are converted to “Thank you so much”. 

Speed of response is critical for managing requests for information or helping with a problem and the beauty of social media is that you have the power to act immediately in real-time. If you have no voice, then you are helpless to stop any issues going viral. 

The percentage of complaints to companies in the retail non-food sector through social media has increased from 2.6 per cent to 6.1 per cent. This is still low compared to the 41 per cent that complained face-to-face, the most popular way to complain, but the use of social media continues to increase dramatically.

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