“Please hold for the next Customer Service Representative”

No matter how good a product is, an organization’s customer service skills can make or break them. Customer service is essentially how a brand treats its audience. It reflects the company’s level of professionalism, patience, and attitude. Now some might say, this is only reflected through the employees of that company (whereas some employees may have better customer service skills than others). But these employees are trained by the brand to represent that brand. How these employees react to their customers displays what the brand is willing to tolerate.

As it relates to social media, which is the marketing direction many companies are headed. Good customer service skills are even more vital. An organization offering support to customers through various social platforms is one display of how advanced they are technological. It allows them to meet customer needs instantaneously, which in most cases will reflect positively on the brand. According to Hootsuite Blog, 1 billion messages are exchanged between people and businesses every month on Facebook Messenger. 64% of people would rather message than call a business and 18.7% of U.S. social buyers completed their most recent purchase without leaving the social app. So shouldn’t customer service on these platforms be a priority?

An important component of good customer service skills on social media is to always be aware of what consumers are saying about your brand. Having this level of awareness helps the customer service team find and aid disgruntled consumers who may post negatively about your brand, rather than having them try to find you. One example of good customer service I have found on social media is JetBlue Airlines’ Twitter account.

They always seem to find these “unhappy” customers on their social media rants and do their best to appease them professionally and respectfully. This may be de-escalating a complaint, resolving a problem (such as refunding or crediting a customer), or even complimenting a satisfied customer. Jetblue’s customer service on Twitter appears very active and engaged in what their audience is saying about their brand and tries to stay ahead of the curve.

On the other hand, there are also many examples of bad customer service skills out there. One such brand is “Amy’s Baking Company”. This restaurant actually went viral for its bad customer service skills after being a guest on one of renowned Chef, Gordon Ramsay’s shows.

This company does nothing to appease its customers and quite frankly thrives from riling them up. Now, this may be a marketing strategy of theirs, who knows, but their customer service skills are essentially nonexistent. Another brand with poor customer service skills on social media is American Airlines. They use automated responses on Twitter to respond to large amounts of @mentions they receive, which is not always the best response to a complaining customer.

Being this generic displays poor customer service skills, as it lacks that “personal touch” that consumers seek. It also makes consumers feel as if they are not a priority with your brand. For American Airlines what can be done differently it’s for them to stop using automated responses, but rather use real agents who can offer a more individualized approach when dealing with consumer problems. They should also do more of what JetBlue Airlines does and stay engaged with their audience, and not only just when they have complaints. Social media is a great way to stay effectively engaged with new and prospective customers, and organizations should take advantage of that.

Customers spend 20 to 40 percent more with companies that respond to customer service requests on social media. And companies that don’t respond to customers on social channels are losing customers year after year, with a 15 percent higher churn rate. One business type I see that could add customer service on social media to their marketing efforts and have it be effective would be banks. I already have a hard time getting through to customer service through my bank itself as is. Most banks have a social media presence already, adding customer service skills to that social media presence would decrease their response time to complaints, but also increase customer interactions enhance customer experience and engagement, and even appeal more to prospective customers. This could also improve the banks’ targeting and advertising strategies so they can better satisfy consumer needs.

            To sum up, we may not realize it, but customer service is a crucial part of a brand image. How a company deals with its consumers, depicts its personality as a brand. They can be polite and professional like JetBlue, generic and distant like American Airlines, or even sassy and witty like Wendy’s. A brand’s customer service skills on social media can significantly enhance its image if used effectively; by allowing them to respond to customer issues quicker, stay engaged, and resolve public conversations about product frustration professionally.

6 thoughts on ““Please hold for the next Customer Service Representative”

  1. Amazing job on the research! When looking back at something I just read about social media policies and procedures – it says not to delete negative feedback. I completely understand why now! Your research has given the explanation as to why we need to keep those posts and provide feedback to those customers in a positive/professional matter. Make them feel like you are paying attention to their wants and needs. We may not always want to, but it’s beneficial if you want the customer to come back.

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  2. Very well said! I too feel as though one of the biggest components to a good customer service team is a sense of personality, which I also wrote about. Automated responses can definitely isolate the person looking for help and make them feel even more helpless and frustrated. I also can’t believe I didn’t even think to mention Wendy’s!!

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  3. You show both great examples of good and bad customer service. It’s interesting how people reacting in a bad way thinks that will benefit them when in reality, it only damages their reputation.

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  4. Great read! I thought you made it quick and easy to understand good and bad examples of customer service within social media. I liked that you compared 2 airlines, it shows that having good customer service within an industry that receives a lot of complaints is actually possible!

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