Switching from phone calls to Twitter: social media for customer service
24 April, 2015
by Angie Zampona
A new era is upon us. More than ever, customers are using social media for customer service. When they reach for their phone, they are as likely to tweet as call customer service.
This presents a new set of rules and an entirely new way to approach customer care: faster, more public, and much more personal.
Think little of twitter of Facebook?
According to a survey by J.D. Power and Associates, 67% of customers have used a social media site for customer service. As Generation Y gains more spending power and as their parents become increasingly more comfortable with their smartphones, this number will only grow.
Consumers think nothing of contacting a company via Facebook or Twitter. Furthermore, they are impatient. With a thousand different demands on their time, they don’t want to spend ages on the phone, waiting for someone to tell them how to fix whatever has gone wrong. More than 40% of those who use social media to voice their complaints expect a response in less than 60 minutes (in a survey by the Social Habitat). The faster a company responds, the better.
A high multitude of requests from customers can also overwhelm traditional service (like customer service desks), leaving customers irritated. For example, a delayed flight requires waiting in line, waiting for the airport computer system to load, discovering that the next possible flight was just booked a minute ago and that you have to wait another hour…eventually leading to a furious patron.
The alternative is much faster.
By using twitter, a customer can contact a company and get new tickets in under fifteen minutes.
Customers are satisfied and just as notably, aren’t complaining about poor service on the web.
The internet allows customers to voice any opinion they may have about a company or its products. If positive, this opinion could contribute to an entirely new audience, but if negative, it could result in a cascade of customer dissatisfaction. For better or for worse, consumers have the power of say and they know it.
It’s not all about complaints either: the companies that are the best at social media realize its power to establish the company’s personality and improve its perception by the public.
Many track their customer’s keywords on social media. By quickly responding to commentators, companies prove that they value both the individual and their time. They reach out to directly to online complainers and quell fires before they even start.
Many of the best companies post articles or relevant news related to their field of interest, continually contacting their customer base and creating a readership. Others allow consumers to contribute ideas to the company and reward them for it. Companies like Starbucks even have twitter accounts where customers can submit ideas for drinks or simply improvements to make their coffee experience even better.
Never before have customers and companies communicated so quickly in the public eye and it’s creating whole new fields of opportunity.
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