Customer service is important for businesses of all sizes. Supporting your customers before and after a purchase can encourage them to purchase or use your service again, and it can even help to grow your business through the word of mouth. On the flip side of the same coin, poor customer service can lead to customers feeling annoyed or frustrated with your business, thus discouraging them from using your services again, and likely losing the business of those within the immediate circle of said customer through word of mouth.
We’ve all probably been in situations where we’ve called up a support line or a help number for a company, or have even just tried to get into contact with a company only to be put on hold for 10 – 15 minutes, and then finally answered by an automated system. This, or even struggling to find a way to contact the company you’re looking for is incredibly frustrating.
So how can a company use social media sites to assist with customer service? Well, with social media becoming more of a prominent thing, (not saying that it hasn’t been for awhile), it isn’t too uncommon to see companies using several social media sites to their advantage. Whether this be to promote their business, share deals, or offer another way for people to communicate with them, it’s certainly a good medium to use when nearly every person with a phone or a computer has access to social media.
In my opinion, every business can use social media as a means of customer service. In fact, most larger businesses are using it for exactly that, on top of using their pages for other things…such as Wendy’s, who have previously gained popularity for their snappy or witty tweets in regards to feedback from customers, or even at the mention of other restaurants or businesses.
I understand that this doesn’t necessarily fall under the bracket of “customer service”, but it is showing how a company can use social media platforms to communicate with other people and potential customers, building some sort of character that people can associate the name “Wendy’s” to. As these tweets become viral, attention gets drawn to the brand, leading to more and more encounters and communication between the company and consumers. I feel that the Wendy’s page is doing a great job with managing and running their page in this way, but I still believe that this is a fairly risky approach when a franchise’s reputation is on the line, considering how most of Wendy’s tweets are at the expense of either the individual tweeting at them, or another company. This is not to say that some people don’t do a decent job at provoking Wendy’s first, or that they don’t deserve what’s coming to them.
In terms of actual customer service being shown on social media, I think JetBlue represents a perfect example of social media being utilized to assist a customer
Esai Velez tweeted at JetBlue expressing his disappointment towards his broken television during his flight. The TV was the only one on the flight that showed nothing but static, so he expressed his concern. Instead of ignoring his tweet, JetBlue empathized with him, tweeting:
Oh no! That’s not what we like to hear! Are all the TVs out on the plane or is it just yours?…We always hate it when that happens. Send us a DM with your confirmation code to get you a credit for the non-working TV.JetBlue
The entire interaction between JetBlue and Esai Velez took a miniscule 23 minutes! This obviously made the customer very happy, and is a good example of exceptional customer service. Like I said before, JetBlue could have either made excuses for the broken TV, or they could have completely ignored the tweet, but they decided to empathize with their customer, and offered assistance.
Customer service can be shown in multiple ways, especially with the use of social media. Simply responding to customers and listening in on customer conversations can give you good insight as to what your customer base is thinking. Doing something unexpected or nice for a customer can give you good social media coverage, and can bolster your business. Even in the case of Wendy’s, being edgy and witty seems to make people happy as well, which also draws attention to your business, despite not being considered as “customer service” at all times. Making people happy is the #1 priority of customer service, being able to assist your customers in both a professional and patient manner will keep your customers coming back to you, and will help to draw in more customers in the future.
In my opinion however, the only difference between a company using social media to conduct their customer service, and a company using their own website or page for customer service, is that the use social media “broadcasts” what they are doing to all other people on that particular site, thus hosting the possible benefit of acquiring new customers, sort of like an advertisement, just for doing their job.