Make those parents proud: What parents expect from social media customer service in 2020
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Make those parents proud: What parents expect from social media customer service in 2020

by Russ Garcia | Aug 13, 2020

Back to school 2020 is different

As summer winds down, parents and marketers alike have back-to-school plans on the brain. Yet in 2020, preparations are anything but typical. While some students are gearing up to attend school virtually from home, others will be rejoining a familiar place with many unfamiliar rules. Parents are left to figure out what’s best for their families without much consensus from experts or the government, while also juggling remote work and full-time childcare.

It’s never been more important for brands to consider the unique circumstances of parents, meaning they can’t, and shouldn’t, go about their seasonal marketing as usual. Modern, AI-driven, social marketing solutions can help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends and your audiences' needs. Also, be sure to keep an eye on what top brands have already done to adjust their back-to-school campaigns. Some have already done a great job with their back-to-school campaigns, and marketers can look to them as excellent examples.

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Don’t just market — care

Another pivotal consideration goes beyond marketing and into the field of customer care and retention. Most parents are experiencing higher levels of stress right now. Brands, especially those that target families, recognize that their marketing strategies need to evolve, but that doesn’t always translate into their customer service strategies.

A recent Khoros study explored consumers’ preferences for contacting customer service teams on social media, as well as their expectations for brand’s response time. We found that about half of people who reach out to a brand on social media expect a response within three hours, regardless of the platform (insights for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram were included in the report).

To help customer care teams better understand the mindset of parents right now, we further analyzed the data collected to identify how social media customer service preferences differ for parents vs. those who don’t have children. Here’s what you need to know.

There’s a strong chance that when a brand is conversing with a person on social media, that person is a parent

According to our study, parents are 38% more likely to use social media to communicate with brands than non-parents.

Even for brands that don’t target parents and families specifically, there’s still a strong possibility that the consumer on the other end of the social media message or post has children, making these findings applicable not just to family-specific brands, but to all brands.

Parents are more likely to communicate with a brand on Twitter than on any other social media platform

82% of parents said they use Twitter to communicate with brands compared to 69% who use Facebook and 47% who use Instagram for the same purpose. And while that doesn’t mean there aren’t parents who use more than one platform to reach out to a brand, 78% of parents who reach out to brands on Twitter prefer it over all other forms of communication (including other social media platforms, email, phone, etc.).

Parents don't treat every social media platform the same when engaging with brands

While parents are more likely to use social media to communicate with brands than non-parents, how they use social media differs by platform. However, one theme across platforms is that parents are more likely to post positive reviews about a product or service on social media that non-parents.

Here’s a more in-depth look at how parents’ social media usage breaks down by platform.

For brand engagement, parents primarily use Facebook and Twitter to post positive reviews, not to ask questions or air complaints

41% of parents primarily use Twitter to share positive reviews of a product or service, and they’re 52% more likely to do this compared to non-parents. On the other hand, they’re 9% less likely to ask questions about products on Twitter (32% of parents vs. 35% on non-parents) and 35% less likely to complain about a brand (17% of parents vs. 23% on non-parents).

Parents are just slightly more likely to post a positive review of a brand on Facebook (44%) than they are on Twitter (41%). They’re also still more likely to take this action than those without children (44% of parents vs. 33% of non-parents).

One difference between Facebook and Twitter involves using social media to air complaints. While parents are less likely to write a complaint on Twitter than those with no kids, parents are almost as likely to complain about a brand on Facebook (17% of parents vs. 23% on non-parents).

Instagram is the only platform where parents are less likely than those without children to share a positive review of a brand

Just like Facebook and Twitter, parents primarily share positive reviews of a brand on Instagram vs. making a complaint or asking a question, but they’re 4% less likely to do this than people without kids (44% of parents vs. 46% of non-parents). This is the only platform where that’s the case.

And though it’s not common, parents are 120% more likely to leave complaints on Instagram (11% of parents vs. 5% of non-parents).

Regardless of platform, parents are always more likely to expect brands to respond — and respond quickly

Parents are 20% more likely to expect a response from brands when they’ve initiated communication on social media.

On average, 78% of parents expect a response vs. 65% of those with no children, without much variation across social media platforms. Parents also have higher expectations for response time when a complaint is involved.

When parents reach out to a brand about a complaint on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, they’re 24% more likely to expect a response within three hours (56% of parents vs. 45% of non-parents).

When you don’t meet parents’ expectations, their reactions vary by social media platform

Though it’s clear that parents almost always have higher expectations for response times, how they react to unmet timeframe expectations varies based on which social media platform they’re using.

Parents on Twitter are more likely to become less receptive to a brand’s advertisements than those with no children

On Twitter, parents are 15% more likely to become less receptive to a brand’s advertisements when response time expectations aren’t met (53% of parents vs. 46% of non-parents). However, they’re just about as likely as other consumers to express their dissatisfaction through social media (33% of parents vs. 30% of non-parents), stop giving a brand their business (31% of parents vs. 30% of non-parents), or discourage friends and family from buying products or using services (30% of parents vs. 29% of non-parents).

Parents are more likely to express their dissatisfaction with a brand on Facebook

On Facebook, parents are 29% more likely to express their dissatisfaction with a brand on social media (31% of parents vs. 24% of non-parents). When a brand doesn’t meet parents’ response time expectations, they are 9% less likely to stop giving a brand their business (29% of parents vs. 32% of non-parents).

Parents on Instagram are more likely to react negatively, in general, when a brand doesn’t meet their expectations

On Instagram, parents are much more likely than those without kids to react negatively when a brand doesn’t meet their response time expectations. For example, parents are 78% more likely to express their dissatisfaction on social media (32% of parents vs. 18% of non-parents). They’re also much more likely to become less receptive of a brand’s advertisements (50% of parents vs. 42% of non-parents).

Parents are more likely to react positively when a brand does meet their expectations

Parents are generally more likely to have positive reactions to a brand that meets their response time expectations. For instance, they’re almost always more likely to praise the brand on social media (34% parents vs. 27% non-parents), encourage their friends and family to take their business to the brand (46% parents vs. 41% non-parents), and are more receptive to their advertisements moving forward (47% parents vs. 43% non-parents).

Make those parents proud

Despite stronger expectations, parents want to praise brands on social media, regardless of platform. That’s what they use it for the most. This provides a huge opportunity to not only have a parent react positively when a brand responds quickly, essentially serving as an unofficial brand ambassador, but also increases the likelihood of customer loyalty down the road.

Now go out there and make those parents proud. And if you need help, Khoros offers comprehensive software for both social media marketing and customer service efforts for enterprise-level brands. Schedule a demo today to learn more about how Khoros makes it easier for brands to connect with their customers.

Survey Methodology

Survey conducted by Khoros. The data is based on a study of more than 1,300 respondents who said they had ever communicated (i.e., posted about or directly messaged) with a brand/company on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and were parents. For the purpose of this survey, parents are defined as adults who have 1 or more children under the age of 18 living in their household.

(Confidence Level of 95% with 2.7% Margin of Error)


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