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Social Media Becomes Top Customer Service Channel
O'Dwyer's Public Relations News O'Dwyer's Public Relations News
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: New York, NY
Monday, April 1, 2024

Sprout Social

Consumers have mixed feelings about chatbots and generative AI, but according to a new survey by social media analytics company Sprout Social, artificial intelligence is quickly becoming a welcome addition in the world of customer care—particularly when used on brands' social media channels.

The Sprout survey, which surveyed people living in the U.S. and UK about their attitudes regarding AI and chatbots, their customer-care and brand-trust preferences and how they use social media to keep up with the news and discover new products, discovered that about three-quarters (74 percent) of respondents are now comfortable with the practice of brands using AI to deliver faster customer service via social media.

In fact, the survey found that 80 percent of all consumers said they use social media more for customer service functions now than they did a year ago. For Gen Z consumers, that number is even higher: 89 percent.

A majority of Gen Z respondents (53 percent) now say that social media is their primary channel for customer support, followed by email (52 percent), the phone (47 percent), live chat (45 percent) and online support pages (19 percent). Other generations, meanwhile, aren’t nearly as enthusiastic. Millennials rated social media as their third-favorite channel for customer support (behind live chat and email), Gen X rated it fourth (behind the phone, live chat and email) and Baby Boomers rated it dead last.

Not surprisingly, Gen Z consumers ranked Instagram and TikTok as their top two favorite social channels for customer service outreach. All other generations, meanwhile, said that if they had to use social media for customer service purposes, Facebook would be their preferred channel to do it.

Finally, the Sprout survey suggests that while people may be warming up to the idea of engaging with AI and chatbots for customer service purposes, they remain far more divided when it comes to brands using that technology to post social content. Only 38 percent of consumers said they would be more interested in a brand that posted AI-generated content on social. In fact, more than a quarter (26 percent) said they would be more distrustful of a brand that did so. And while a majority of consumers (72 percent) said they’ve dealt with chatbots before to solve a customer service problem, almost half (47 percent) said they found themselves eventually using another channel instead in order to get their problem resolved.

Findings for Sprout’s “Q1 2024 Consumer Pulse Survey” were based on a survey of more than 2,000 U.S. and UK respondents who said they had at least one social media account and followed at least five brands via social media. Surveys were conducted online in March 2024.

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