Customer Service in a Social World

The customer service world has changed drastically in the last decade, with social media becoming mainstream. Yet it has not adapted fully to the new online communication methods many users and stakeholders relay on today. I have had enough experiences trying to get help or answers from certain companies to know this.

Customer Service in a Social World was a talk presented by Rob McDougall, the CEO of Upstream Works, at the National Business and Technology Conference.

Rob discussed the role and handling of social media in today’s economy, under-lining the effect it has had on the way customers interact with products. He highlighted the differences between pervasive and passionate social media, and shared his views on the dangers of having a differentiated service.

Most businesses don’t know how to handle the social stuff. They have perfected phone support over the years, for example, but social changes things too much, Rob explained.

If you phone a company, they won’t even know that you phoned them about the same thing 2 days ago; never-mind them knowing about what you tweeted them!

Companies want to fit you into a box. They want you to fit into their schedule, their platform, their procedure, their hierarchy. But that doesn’t work well today, when people like me are on the go and on multiple platforms.

With Social Media, they cannot properly filter you, and they cannot own the platform. Brands are trying to do things on Facebook but they can backfire dramatically (like when the fashion like tweeted that Aurora was trending on Twitter, meanwhile it was trending because of the tragic school shooting in Aurora).

The United Airlines disaster, where they broke a singer’s guitar, could have been avoided if the customer service was focused (the guy called 90 times without being helped, and resulted in him posting a Video which went Viral: United Breaks Guitars). This Customer Service Failure caused Untied AIrlines $180,000,000.

The big question is, how do Customer Service departments handle all the channels well? Even if the company is doing a great job on Twitter, they may not be ready to handle a significant increase in tweets.

Providing great Customer Service is the lowest cost.