Why every customer service “success” on social media is really a customer service failure

One of the main benefits of social media is to provide instant customer service. While this might be true, I think we’re seeing it from the wrong angle. Companies are looking at it as a way to put out fires, to delay an customers eventual frustration.

Sure, we should be exploring how social technologies might change customer service. But first, we should look at how we actually conduct customer service away from social media.

A few weeks ago, as soon as Google+ was unleashed, Michael Dell asked people if they would like to connect with Dell Service teams via Google Hangout. Lots of people thought it was a great idea, but one comment in particular caught my attention:

 –  Jul 18, 2011  –  Public
No +Michael DellI don’t want to use Hangouts to connect with Dell customer service. What I want, from you or any company, is to ensure I actually get the best customer service experience possible when I actually use your “normal” customer service channels.Eventually, I’ll finish my long-planned blog post on how every customer service “success” on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ is really a customer service failure. In short, consider this.If I walked into a store and started yelling about how bad the store was, to get my problem resolved, who would consider that a successful customer service model? But that’s basically what we are encouraged to do through social media, yell there as an attempt to get problems solved as a last resort.OK, it’s more nuanced than that. I have have great respect for the people who do perform huge customer service through social media channels. But these shouldn’t be end runs your customers need to use because your regular customer service channels are so convoluted and so often backed by people who aren’t enabled to just solve problems.That’s where I’d like to see you or any company put your energies, before we get more social media candy.

And that (in bold), is the point.

People are using social media as a last resort to vent their frustrations. And businesses are reacting to it by asking customers to post positive reviews online to counter the hate. Sure, businesses will react positively after an unhappy customer (who is well connected) posts his frustrations on Twitter and Facebook. It’s common sense. But this doesn’t help things, it just creates a never ending loop of reaction.

They’re not delighting customers, they’re merely delaying frustration.

What we really need to do is look at social media as another way to win the hearts of customers. To delight them. Not as a way to put out fires.

While you may see Zappos using social media for customer service, they don’t really see it that way. For them it’s another way to connect with their customers and as an opportunity to win their hearts. One more way to ‘Deliver Happiness’.

Problems will arise no doubt because no company worth mentioning never makes a mistake. Just don’t keep on making the same ones over and over again because that is what frustrates customers.

Bottom line is delivering customers service through social channels should not be seen as a silver bullet solution, simply adding more touch points to your mix but not solving the customers problem isn’t going to to save you. The customer doesn’t care if you experiment on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or Google+, what they care about is being treated with respect and getting their issues resolved.

And lastly, don’t ignore them. I repeat, don’t ignore them. If you’re on these channels, they expect you to be there for them.

P.S. I’ll leave with a few more comments to reinforce the point:

customer service dell google+

Enhanced by Zemanta

Next Article

How to get your ideas heard

  • Pingback: Why every customer service “success” on social media is really a customer service failure | Business Blogs()

  • G Swizzle

    In a way, I disagree with your post.  Your assumption is that customers are using social media platforms as a last resort method of getting their issue corrected.  I postulate that customers go to social media FIRST because:
      —  there’s no searching for customer service phone number
      —  there’s no “press 1 if you are calling about a blender” never-ending phone tree
      —  there’s no waiting on hold
      —  there’s no perpetually cheery CS representative who has been trained to utter the phrase “I’m very sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.” every ten seconds
      —  and a variety of other reasons.

    It’s “instant on” gratification and maybe it works and maybe it doesn’t…but the customer has made their gripe known, their voice has joined the others on the networks, and they can move on with their lives.  Perhaps when enough people deliver the same gripe the company will make changes.

    This exact scenario happened to me recently with a consumer product I purchased.  I found a fault in the product and immediately posted on the company’s Facebook wall.  In my case, they corrected the problem very accurately and very quickly.  …but I never even considered calling the 1-800 number–didn’t even enter into my mind.

    That’s just my $0.02…

  • Chrisconsidine

    Direct contact and response is the best for all parties. Concrete results and making the complaint into a POSITIVE experience for the customer is imperative for the Business and The Customer.
    Get rid of the WAYMISH virus in all businesses. People who do complain are valuable. They just didn’t walk away from your company and product, the are looking to you and giving you an OPPORTUNITY to fix it and create an ADVOCATE from a regular customer.
    WAYMISH is an acronym for: Why Are You
    Making It So Hard…for Me to give You my money? It represents all the
    slights and indifferences made by employees and organizations that
    lead customers to believe that you don’t really want their business.
    Things like not listening to what the customer is saying, putting
    policies ahead of common sense, not attempting to resolve
    complaints, etc.

    Can you afford to create unhappy customers that take their
    business elsewhere?
    How many customers does your organization lose every day? How many
    were planning to give you their money but ended up leaving in
    frustration? It may be more than you think! And these days you can’t
    afford to lose even one good customer. Let this unforgettable
    program teach your staff the attitudes and behaviors that make
    customers feel valued so they will buy from you again and again.

    Benefits:Increases revenue by teaching staff how to avoid common
    customer frustrations that result in lost sales Maximizes customer lifetime value by teaching skills that
    positively impact customer satisfactionCreates positive word-of-mouth and referral business by
    showing staff how to meet customer expectations and practice
    service recovery