A few weeks ago, I had a problem with my computer. I called the customer service number, innocently thinking that I would receive just that…service. After a heated one way conversation with the computerized voice, I finally gained clearance to speak with a real person. Two hours later, I was no closer to fixing the issue. Seemingly, I was being passed from person to person on an unending cycle of “hold on, I’ll connect you to the correct department.” This frustration just aggravated me and I eventually hung up.
Thinking back on it now, what I should have done was post my problem on the company’s Twitter site. These days, it’s the surest and quickest way to get your voice heard. Companies large and small are using social media platforms to engage customers in service so customized that it almost guarantees loyalty.
- 37signals, a company that provides web based applications for small businesses, uses Twitter to alert users to performance issues or server downtime. Unsolicited news makes for a happier customer.
- A passenger on a Southwest flight Tweeted about lost luggage and flight delays; his post was answered by Southwest asking for another chance to make his experience better. They followed up with him after his return flight and they received a positive review on his blog.
- H&R Block uses Twitter to engage in question and answer conversations with customers.
- Papa John’s is running a contest on Facebook to create a new pizza for its menu.
- Staples handles customer complaints through a dedicated “Tweet Team.”
Twitter seems to be the social media front runner in customer service examples. In a recent Edison Research report, 51% of Twitter users said they follow at least one brand on a social network. The number drops to 16% for users of all social networks. 19% of users say they use Twitter to seek out customer support. It is a platform that works.
Companies are acutely aware of their role in keeping the customer happy. However these days, they are actively engaging with their online users instead of the usual passive nature of a customer service phone number. It sends the message that they actually care about the customers. Nobody is a better example of this than Frank Eliason, Director of Digital Care at Comcast. I’ll leave you with the interview Ada Wong had with Frank Eliason at the SocialMediaPlus Summit. He certainly gets it.