In the last week, I have had my share of bad luck. It just so happens that much of my bad luck was the result of poor customer service. I would like to share with you some of the things I’ve learned along the way as they relate to customer service and being heard when it comes to dealing with large companies who don’t always like to listen.
After many failed attempts (10+) making phone calls and leaving messages for various “senior level” managers at a particular property management company in the Philadelphia area, I finally lost patience and wrote on their official company Facebook page. I received a response within 30 minutes after posting! Now the response promised a follow up phone call with someone. That was three days ago. Either way, it is clear to me now that the way we deal with companies is much different than it was only five years ago. It was common to pick up the phone or even write a letter about a problem or serious concern. Now it seems like everyone is Tweeting, Posting, and even snapping pictures or videos (anyone see the latest Pizza Hut PR nightmare?) about their poor customer service experiences. According to Salesforce.com “social media is driving profound change in social consciousness, political debate, medicine, government oversight, and virtually every other aspect of human endeavor. The reasons why social media is so able to affect change differ in all these scenarios. But one thing they all have in common is this; the veil of secrecy has been obliterated.” We now live in a world where customers EXPECT your company to be socially responsive. According to one source, 62% of customers have used social media to raise a customer service issue. 81% of customers believe it is important for your business to respond to them if they have a question or complaint on a social channel. A recent study showed that a number of companies considered “Top 50” brands don’t really pay attention to customer issues hurled at their social media accounts. 56% didn’t respond to a single complaint posted on Facebook. Similarly, 71% of complaints on Twitter went ignored. It will be important for companies to start not only monitoring their social media pages regularly, but also responding to such customer inquiries. Gone are the days that brands simply need to use Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness and post promotions. Looking to the future, it will be imperative for companies to be more responsive to consumer’s comments (especially the negative ones), be more personal, and train employees how to handle certain situations that arise on social networks.
One thing is for sure: Social media as a customer service tool is no longer experimental. It is fundamental to any businesses success. The sooner more companies begin to realize this, the better customer experiences they can create.