Social Media: The Future of Customer Service?

It’s 6 am on a Tuesday and your alarm goes off for work. You leisurely roll over to grab your phone to stop the bothersome ringing. Yawn, stretch, scroll through your social media feed.

Sounds about right?

Our daily lives are deeply intertwined with technology, from the moment we wake up, to the time we go to sleep. The average daily time spent on social media is a whopping 116 minutes! That’s almost 2 hours a day!

It’s no surprise then, that for brands and businesses, social media has naturally evolved from being a platform for marketing, sharing content and driving sales to also an avenue for meeting customer service needs.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at some stats real quick:

  • 67% of consumers have engaged a brand’s social media for customer service needs
  • 43% of consumers between the ages of 18-29 years old are more likely to use a brand’s social media sites for customer service interactions
  • 56% of consumers reported they would never use a company again after a poor customer service experience
  • 32% of consumers expect a response on social media within 30 minutes
  • Customers who engage with companies over social media spend up to 40% more money with those companies than other customers

Customers regard brands’ social media accounts as actual customer service channels, so it is imperative that brands view themselves in the same light.

I’ve quickly come to the discovery that when I need a quick resolution to an issue from a business, my best bet is to tweet at them. No phone calls, no emails, not even a physical visit. Those 240 characters always do the trick! Social media is a double-edged sword for brands.

It’s a public, transparent forum where happy customers go to sing your praises but also the same platform in which irate customers go to unabashedly ‘drag’ you.

Consumers are quickly realizing that smart brands who value their image- as they should- are quicker to resolve their complaints and issues when aired on social media. Click To Tweet

Utilizing social channels for customer service purposes is no easy feat, but here are some steps in which to manage it effectively:

Utilize Social Media Listening Tools

There are various social media listening tools out there in which a simple google search will reveal, but my personal favorites are Hootsuite and Google alerts. 

Hootsuite is one of the most widely used social media monitoring tools which allows you to track and monitor certain words, phrases, terms and accounts across various social media platforms while Google alerts can be considered to be a free alternative which allows you to do the same, just across the web.

Contain Issues Before They Escalate

 Businesses must be proactive in ensuring they utilize other servicing channels such as phones and email to resolve the issues of aggrieved customers before they take to twitter, facebook, Instagram or even snapchat to complain. 

In the event a business isn’t quick enough to rectify issues, damage control is important when customers take to social media to vent and share negative experiences they may have encountered with your brand.

You know what they say, prevention is better than cure!

Respond Quickly!

 I like to call us millennials “the microwave generation”. From ordering meals to hailing cabs and even keeping up to date with the latest news and gossip, we’re so used to utilizing technology to satisfy our ‘instant everything’ needs. 

We want what we want when we want it. Chatbots are an effective tool for small business owners who don’t necessarily have the resources to respond live to client inquiries or complaints 24/7.

Also, they can be programmed to respond to frequently asked questions on platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, websites and more. This reduces the need for business owners to be available at all hours of the day.

Take It Off The Timeline

 In the event, irate customers go directly to social channels, as a business owner, you must pacify the customer publicly and take the conversation off the timeline as quickly as possible. 

This is particularly important when the issues are complex or you require the customer’s personal information such as a phone number, date of birth or address to resolve the issue.

In situations where the issue is quick and easy to resolve, it’s a great idea to engage the customer politely and efficiently right there on the timeline for all to see!

This not only reinforces the trust within existing customers but also showcases your brand in a great light to potential clients.

As a business owner, you must position yourself as one step ahead of your client - @TheBrandingP Click To Tweet

It’s no secret that companies don’t want their dirty laundry aired for current and prospective customers to see, and rightfully so!

As a business owner, you must position yourself as one step ahead of your client. Ensure your products and services deliver on your brand promise; and in the inevitable event where client dissatisfaction occurs, establish processes and procedures to manage these situations effectively.

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Oluwaseyi Bank-Oni: Digital Marketing Is Taking Over Rapidly

Everyone can afford to take advantage of digital marketing services.- Oluwaseyi Bank-Oni Click To Tweet

Oluwaseyi Bank-Oni is currently the Senior Account Manager at Nigeria’s foremost digital marketing agency, Webcoupers. She has successfully worked with several brands and has helped them achieve digital footprints on the web.

In this interview, Oluwaseyi gives us exclusive insights into why small business owners need to incorporate digital marketing services into their sales strategy.

Tell us a bit about yourself & your background

I’m a 25 year old branding powerhouse! A slightly eccentric creative genius, obsessed with the color pink and a Nigerian woman on the rise.

I spent my childhood and high school years in Nigeria after which I moved to the States for the first half of my undergrad. I then moved to Canada where I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Economics as well as a certification in Business Analysis. Followed by a few years of work in the financial sector.

Eventually I became quite jaded, packed my bags, and moved to France last year to attend Business School where I received my MBA with a specialization in Marketing & Brand Management.

I just relocated to Nigeria a few months ago, and I am currently the Senior Account Manager at Nigeria’s foremost digital marketing agency, Webcoupers.


Why did you decide to come back to Nigeria?

I never wanted to leave in the first place! Nigeria has been experiencing a brain drain for a while now but all we do is complain. Those abroad refuse to return while those on the ground want to flee! So who is left?

A lot of people don’t see the digital landscape in Africa as viable and I knew I had to play a role in changing that narrative in my own little way. You are either a part of the problem or a part of the solution. I decided it was time to become a part of the solution. That being said, having 24/7 access to pounded yam may or may not have played a role in my decision.


Having worked on several marketing campaigns for major brands, what would you say to those who are yet to optimize digital marketing to grow their businesses?

It’s 2017 and there is a 99.99% chance that your target market is online, what are you doing? From personal experience, I find a lot of key decision makers in Nigerian businesses are not as open minded as they would like to think. They would rather play it safe and splurge on traditional modes of advertising which don’t even produce trackable results, while neglecting the digital side.

That’s not to downplay the importance of non-digital mediums but can you tell me how many people viewed a particular physical billboard yesterday? Probably not. But I can tell you how many people viewed an online ad banner, clicked on it and made a purchase after seeing it! That’s the power of digital.

Businesses are literally stagnating their growth by refusing to key into digital marketing vehicles.


Digital Marketing is scalable to fit any budget. - Oluwaseyi Bank-Oni Click To Tweet

What are the various aspects of digital marketing services that small business owners can leverage on?

The wonderful thing about digital marketing is that it is scalable to fit any budget. From the frugal university student selling jewelry on the side to earn extra income, to the massive multinational firm spending the big bucks to drive sales, everyone can afford to take advantage of digital marketing services.

Social media

Without getting too technical, I’ll discuss a few simple ways SMEs can utilize digital marketing to drive sales. It goes without saying that establishing a social media presence and providing engaging content is imperative.

Word of mouth

We all know of “Word of Mouth”, but what needs to be leveraged is “Word of Mouse”. This is essentially free advertising by connecting with and building a network of brand loyalists who will help spread the word about their products or services online. With over 70 million Nigerians using the internet, the click of a mouse on social media can get you in front of your target consumer faster than any mouth can.

Targeted ad’s

Another way is by running targeted ads on social media platforms. You don’t need a big budget or a formal education to get these up and running. Most social media platforms offer a lot of free learning resources to assist you in getting your campaigns up and running.  Easy-to-use tools like canva can aid you on your creative journey where you can design colorful engaging ads to appeal to prospective clients.


Ensure your website is SEO optimized. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and what that means is you want to boost the visibility of your brand when words relating to it (keywords) are searched for.

There’s a popular saying that the best place to hide a dead body is the 2nd page of Google. Seriously, no one checks there. It is estimated that 75% of users never scroll past first page results; The first page is where all the action is and this is where your business needs to be.

This does not happen overnight and takes a bit of dedication. But, by using relevant keywords, consistently churning out pertinent content and also having links to your website shared on other sites, small businesses can boost their SEO ranking to drive traffic and sales.

If you’re not too keen on trying these out yourself, enlist the services of a digital agency and get on it fast!


Some people think digital marketing is expensive. What is the average amount that a small business owner needs to run a digital marketing campaign?

There are so many myths surrounding digital marketing. I frequently ponder on where they emanate from. There is no “average” amount as strategies and requirements vary from business to business and campaign to campaign.

For example, you can run online ads for various types of campaigns for less than N2,000 a day or you can choose to spend over N200,000 daily. Heck, you can spend N2m a day depending on what your campaign goals are!

You also have to take into account the duration, type of campaign you plan to execute and what online platforms you plan to utilize. Will it run for a day, a month or longer? Is this a physical product, an app or maybe an event? Will you be advertising on the Google Display Network or Social Media? All these factors and more tie into the cost of running a digital marketing campaign.

Digital is taking over rapidly- Oluwaseyi Bank-Oni Click To Tweet

Do you think small business owners can depend on only digital channels to drive sales?

Certainly! I’ve seen it happen first hand, over and over again. It could be quite beneficial to complement digital with offline marketing strategies, but not all businesses can afford to or necessarily need that.


What do you think is the future of digital marketing in Nigeria?

Digital is taking over rapidly. I predict a massive shift in the industry with new media completely overtaking traditional media. Think about it, who really watches TV anymore? Where do the flyers shove into your hands end up? Probably underneath a pile of suya somewhere.

Although I don’t think traditional media will completely die out, I do foresee a complete role reversal between digital and non-traditional marketing channels.I am ecstatic to be an agent of this digital transformation in Nigeria & Africa as a whole through my role at Webcoupers.

How has digital marketing helped you grow and scale your business?

If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more  here.