The millennial consumer market spends $1.3 trillion annually, according to BCG, and the millennial generation's buying power is growing at a rapid pace. This demographic is tech savvy, well connected, and wants a convenient and high-quality customer experience. Forty-three percent of millennials use social media channels for customer support, according to JD Power and Associates. If you have a strong social media presence, your audience also expects timely social media support. You know you need social media customer support; the question is whether you should keep the support function in-house or outsource it.
The Benefits of In-House Social Media Customer Support
In-house social media customer support offers several advantages. Your employees have a vested interest in your business growth and already know your company culture, brand guidelines and products. Ideally, they are passionate about your brand, know your customer base, and are already well-versed in supporting your products.
Because you already have work processes and software in place for your in-house social media customer support team, you won't need to add remote or limited permission options to your existing infrastructure. Team control and communication is easier. When everyone is on-site, you don't have to use multiple management layers and have full access to employees, data and quick communication methods.
The Benefits of Outsourced Social Media Customer Support
Your in-house team offers you the convenience of in-house access and requires few changes to your existing policies and infrastructure, but there's a powerful case for outsourcing your social media customer support. The two biggest benefits are specialized expertise and the potential for scaling. Your in-house customer support team may be highly experienced in existing support channels, but that doesn't mean they have social media support expertise.
A specialized outsourcing service understands the unique needs of users who approach your brand through each channel, the tools available on the channels, and the average expected response times. They can tailor your standardized support responses to fit each channel, which can be quite a feat when it comes to Twitter.
You also have access to customer service at-scale without overstaffing your customer service department. Do you have seasonal spikes around the holidays and need a team to handle social media support before frustrated shoppers go viral? Bring in an outsourced social media customer support team and take the pressure off your existing resources.
Why Not Both?
You aren't limited to only in-house or outsourced social media customer support. Leverage the benefits of in-house support by keeping a social media core team in-house and outsourcing additional staff as needed. If you use outsourced support as your first line of customer contact, you'll decrease the number of inquiries handled by your in-house team. You can adjust for fluctuating demand while still keeping control over the core branding and more complex support needs.
Social media support is a must if your brand wants to position itself as a good choice for the millennial generation. Both in-house and outsourced customer support have distinct benefits, although outsourcing comes out on top for cost, expertise and scaling capabilities. Explore your options to determine which configuration fits your company goals best. In some cases, a combination of the two support structures will work better over the long term.