Customer service is a funny thing in the business world. Nearly every executive you talk to will say that great customer service is crucial. Some will even say it’s the most important factor in the success of a business. However, very few companies seem to be willing to put in the effort necessary to create truly great customer service. Think about the last time you called your cable provider. Was it a pleasant experience? Did you even speak to an actual person? Probably not, right? We live in an era of cost-cutting and automation and the first victim of this process in many organizations is customer service.
The problem is that we also live an era of social media. The second someone has a bad customer experience with a brand, they have a soapbox upon which to make their grievances known to the world. If someone gets off a nightmare phone call with Comcast, the whole world is going to know about it. If someone finds a hair in their food at a restaurant, they’re certainly going to mention it on Yelp, and probably Facebook, Twitter, and every other digital mountaintop they can find as well. If new gamers are less than impressed with the sequel a developer rushed into production, there are going to be viral videos decrying the game up faster than you can say “Final Fantasy XIV.”
Unfortunately, social media means that nearly every customer service issue is now a major one for brands.
While social media gives customers with a beef a place to be heard, it also gives you a place to talk to them directly. It is absolutely essential nowadays for an organization to have someone (or preferably a few someones) within their organization whose job it is to manage and mitigate social media customer service problems. These people need to be empowered to help those complaining on social before their complaints go viral.
Social media has also given brands the ability to directly listen to customers in a way they have never been able to before. If you are Comcast, and a customer releases a recording of a nightmare customer service call and thousands of people reply saying “yup, that’s happened to me” you can take that criticism to heart and do something about it (incidentally, it appears that this is exactly what Comcast is doing.) This gives you the ability to make your products or services better than they have ever been.
Managing customer service online is certainly a challenge, but with effort, and investment, it can be a real opportunity for brands.
For more actionable items to improve your social customer experience today, read “Improving Your Social Customer Experience.”