Not long ago, there was little recourse for poor customer service. Sure, you could bite your tongue while waiting in line or demand to see a manager. Really though, the only way to get your point across would be the old-standby, the “dissatisfied customer letter” sent to management. If you were lucky, you might receive a reply back with their apologies and a coupon for $20 off your next purchase of four new tires.
The emergence of social media now presents an engaging and provocative problem for customer service. A client’s recourse is now immediate and omnipresent. Companies better be on their toes at all times or they run the risk of angering the wrong person with the right medium.
In his Adage story “Are Major Marketers Training John Q. Public to Whine on Web?,” Michael Bush states that customers are becoming used to quick responses to their posted complaints. He goes further than that saying, “… magically resolving complaints broadcast to the world by social media raises a question: By rewarding complainers with lightning-fast responsiveness, are marketers training consumers to publicly flog them rather than take the discreet and often-frustrating route of calling customer service?”
So as a company, not only do you now have to respond quickly to an upset customer or risk their issue going viral, you also have to worry that in doing so, you’re just setting yourself up for similar actions down the road.
Your clients can now use their phones to tweet their dissatisfaction with your service while they’re in a line experiencing it. This is all happening in real time. While the days of mailing out an angry letter may be nearing an end, we’ve just begun to feel the impact of the angry posts: You neglect to monitor your company’s online profile at your own peril.
How has social media and online communications affected the way you interact with clients? Do you think it’s true that customers who complain openly in public forums receive faster and better service than those who choose to complain privately via letter, email, or telephone? Share your thoughts with the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.