Providing customer service through social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook does more than just solve customer complaints. This tactic builds relationships with customers through a very open and honest means of communication. Customers do not want to wait 30 minutes on hold to talk to an operator or needlessly hit 20 buttons before discovering the right automated phone system choice. New customer interactions are the trend of the future.
Simple messages on these types of websites are not just form-letter responses to filling out email information or blank, white "contact us" squares. Facebook and Twitter demand responses within a certain time or pressure builds. Comment after comment can avalanche like a cavalcade of messages building up in an executive's virtual inbox.
Customer service through social media platforms is timelier, more transparent, friendlier and easier to follow up on than conventional methods. Even better, people who note Facebook posts and tweets start talking more positively about a company's brand. Suddenly, name recognition goes up thanks to organic Internet search engines that find these extra mentions.
There are advantages to written versus verbal communication for customer service. Written language can be more precise, computers can search for keywords easier without complex voice inflections and the actual communication is there to be seen, at any time, in case future issues present themselves. Venues such as Facebook and Twitter allow users to post videos and photographs that may solve certain customer service problems. If someone has trouble installing a modem, putting together a bookshelf or tightening a new shower head, a quick tutorial video posted to social media may solve the dilemma.
While some responses can be cookie-cutter versions of the same basic problem, some posts must be tailored to a customer's specific need. For future problems that are similar, all a computer program needs to do is recall the previous interaction in a search, and the response is ready to be posted in just a few moments. The more efficient this type of system becomes, the less staff time is involved, especially with automated searches that key in on customer clues embedded in the messages.
As people realize they get faster responses through Twitter and Facebook, they are likely to increasingly opt to reach customer service through this channel. To meet increased demand, more staff time and resources must be devoted to these types of communications. Customer service operators need to be trained on written communications, Internet etiquette and proper response times. Customers have grown used to lightning-fast replies through these channels, and companies cannot afford to disappoint them. Solutions to keeping the lines of digital communication open can be fairly simple, such as creating a separate customer complaint account and training a few staff members to stay on top of online customer interactions.
Like any good business, customer service interactions must evolve and diversify. Enhancing a company's online presence with more possibilities for interaction, especially through free Twitter and Facebook accounts, can raise a firm's profile and increase profits, as well as enhance customers' overall experience and satisfaction.
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