While most brands turn to social media for marketing purposes, many are realizing that it’s actually a hub of customer complaints, questions, and concerns. A new study found that 15 percent of customers are choosing social media for customer support over more traditional methods.

The customer care outsourcing provider Sitel surveyed more than 1,000 people across Britain between the ages of 16 and 64. The company found that social media has made quite the impact on the customer service industry among the younger demographic.

When faced with a product related problem, 57 percent of consumers – including 71 percent of 16-24 year olds and 65 percent of 25-34 year olds – will first search for a solution online. This is why it’s necessary to understand how to use sites like Twitter and Facebook for customer support in effective and efficient ways.

Additionally results state that 15 percent of 16-24 year olds prefer to receive customer service through social media over any other method, such as email and the telephone. The medium is less popular with the older demographics with just eight percent of 25-34 year olds and three percent of 35-44 year olds favoring social media to traditional options.

“Social media is dramatically altering the customer service landscape,” explains Lawrence Fenley, Sitel managing director for UK and Ireland. “With easy access to real-time information, a new generation of ‘always-on’ consumers is more empowered and demanding than ever.”

It’s important to consider customer support when developing your social media strategy. You can use social media management tools to help you monitor your brand’s keywords and to reply where support is needed. Being responsive and engaging will help to build trust and brand loyalty among your network of customers.

[Via: AllTwitter, Image credit: Panasonic]