Are they insane?! Companies step away from providing customer service via social
I’ve just read an article from marketingpilgrim.com that you can see in full here, The article discusses the fact that some US companies are moving away from providing customer service via social media. An excerpt from the article is reads:
The biggest problem with social media for customer service is that there’s really only one response to a problem – “we’ll look into it.”
Companies can’t do much more than that in public. They can’t solve your outage, refund your money or track a missing package unless the consumer forwards more information through a private channel.
Isn’t a direct response from a company saying “we’ll look into it” better than no response at all? Why do companies have to limit themselves to such a bland platitude? Even if you have very clearly defined customer service channels, customers will still contact you via social media! That’s the beauty of social, you can hold real-time conversations with your customers, obtaining real-time insights into what is working and what isn’t working. Ignoring a customer who Tweets about a missed delivery, service outage or order discrepancy, or a post on Facebook asking for pre-sales advice, just doesn’t make sense.
Always respond to customers no matter what, even if it’s just to apologise and explain you can’t deal with the issue and give them further advice on what to do or how to get the information they need to resolve whatever issue they might have – being helpful, understanding and courteous really isn’t difficult to do.
Simply responding positively to a customer and pointing them in the direction of your official support forum or whatever you might have, is often all it takes to nurture a good customer experience.
It’s true, it may not be possible to resolve Issues there and then, but the difference between good customer service and bad, is that you allow your customers to contact you in a way that suits them. If you aren’t equipped to deal directly with customer service issues via social, it doesn’t matter! Simply responding positively to a customer and pointing them in the direction of your official support forum or whatever you might have, is often all it takes to nurture a good customer experience.
As i’ve previously stated in the article Keep track to avoid social media fail, the key lies in monitoring your social media channels. Get into the habit of checking once in the morning, at lunch time, in the afternoon and in the evening. It takes just a few seconds to check your Facebook wall or you Twitter feed and can mean the difference between a happy customer and an unhappy customer.
Many businesses are scared that customers contacting them to resolve issues via social is a bad reflection of their brand – rubbish! Resolving customer service problems publicly is a very smart move indeed and something I explore in detail in my article Real-time responses via social media are worth the investment!.
Not only do you have the chance to turn a negative experience around for the individual concerned, but you are actively demonstrating to all of your followers/fans that you provide high levels of customer service, which will amplify and drive trust in a way that far exceeds the narrow reach of your usual customer service channels.
Don’t make the mistake of turning your back on providing customer service via social, if anything it’s an area you should be investing in and when putting your social team together, don’t just have someone from marketing do it all, you need someone trained in customer service as part of the team too.
About ubershellShell Robshaw-Bryan is a marketing consultant at Surefire Media, the Cheshire based digital agency. Shell is a digital markter and web designer who specialises in organic search, content strategy and social media engagement.
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Author: Shell Robshaw-Bryan