We’ve all seen how social media has changed the way people communicate with one another and also how they engage with brands. On an average, consumers spend around six hours a day online. Of this, 28 percent is spent on social media platforms.
70 percent of Facebook users log on daily, including 43 percent who do so several times a day. Thirty-three percent of consumers actually prefer interacting with brands on social media rather than picking up the phone. Consumers want to consume more complex services within a social environment. They are requesting intuitive interfaces, immediacy and social elements for all their transactions
Audiences also desire prompt communication, and want emotional affinity with the brands they do business with. More and more, people transact with brands not just because of what the brands offer but also what those brands believe in. Consumers now want a more personal connection, and want to know the brands they support and share the same values. Social media has created consumer tribes that come together through shared values irrespective of geographical boundaries.
Brands across all industries – including the financial and remittance sectors – have recognized the importance of gaining a seat by the social campfire. They are responding promptly, engaging with audiences, and using social channels to troubleshoot, solve problems, address customer concerns and garner feedback.
Social media has catalyzed benefits for both brands and consumers. When used well, social media has proved to be a very powerful channel increasing brand loyalty. Research has shown that 53 percent of people who follow a brand on social media are more loyal to that brand.
However, the caveat here is that brands need to respond effectively, honestly and quickly. Ignoring customer complaints, or responding far too late, quickly erodes brand equity in the online space. Forty-two percent of consumers expressing a concern on social media want a response within the hour. Honesty and authenticity is key here.
From a marketer’s perspective, I am very excited by how social media is transforming consumer expectations – online as well as offline. Audiences are now requesting the same intuitive interfaces, immediacy and social elements for all their transactions – including when remitting money. The remittance industry has had to respond, because consumers are willing to switch if they feel they are not getting the treatment they desire. Sixty-six percent of global customers switched providers in 2015 due to poor customer service.
Social media has certainly changed communication and consumption between brands and their audiences, even in serious sectors like finance and remittances. But the game very much remains the same – to listen to customers, and respond to their needs.
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