I recently read a Tumblr post that caught my attention. The blogger spoke of an issue that she encountered and detailed how this issue was resolved via Twitter. The only human she actually had a live verbal conversation with was the person that created the challenge in the first place.
What is your definition of customer service – does it need to include a face-to-face encounter? Today, people see social media as a version of customer service. I used to be one of those people who only believed excellent service had to consist of either a face-to-face encounter, or a live phone call. As I spent a large portion of my career in a customer facing industry, I only saw one side of customer service. Today, many customers don’t require that face time, they just want to be able to get their issue resolved and move on with their lives. Social media has created this immediacy for the consumer. Think about this scenario; you received poor service, posted your comments on Twitter thinking maybe you may have impacted those who follow you, then all of a sudden you are hearing from the organization you tweeted about, asking how they can remedy the situation. Gone are the days of waiting until you get home to fire off an angry letter about your experiences. Now you just take out your smartphone and make a post on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress, Yelp, Trip Advisor… You get the idea, right? And, it is only necessary to make one post and it will automatically feed to all of your other applications, making it even easier to bash an organization when they mess up, or praise them when they exceed expectations!
Many organizations are still only using social media as a way to advertise their products. They live in fear of the dreaded complaint seen ‘round the world’! In the example I read about, the organization took this situation and used it to provide a solution to the customer as well as understand where they might be failing to meet their customer’s expectations. We live in a world of immediate customer service, so why not use the tools that exist?