Why Companies Need to Make Customer Service a Culture Before Social Media Buries Them Alive

Social Media is quickly becoming adopted amongst the general population, and most of us recognize that corporations are picking up the pace as well. Ads, customer service, and support for most companies are now being tied into social media.

We all have a story where a brand has irked us, then wowed us. Whether it was a faulty product, a substandard meal, or problems with billing, brands can drop the ball on individuals. After mentioning it on social, brands swoop in like a white knight to save the day. When I experienced an above-agreed amount on my cable bill, I contacted the provider to have it corrected.

Through a series of calls I was shuffled from one associate to another, with no call-backs or updates. So, I took the campaign to the web. All it took was a single tweet:

                “@CableCompany I have never been treated so poorly in my entire life”

Within minutes of my tweet, someone in the social media department of the cable company saw my tweet, referenced my name with my cable account, and called me. The issue was addressed quickly, and my bill was resolved. Most people would be happy.

I was pissed.

Why should someone have to learn proficiency in social to be treated properly? Does my grandmother need to get a twitter handle so her insurance company doesn’t put one over on her?

The obvious problem is that brands put such an emphasis on “getting” social that these wow experiences are happening every day. It’s easy to publicly wow these people and tout your success, but what happens when the majority of customer service issues start coming through social instead of normal channels? Will brands be able to keep it up, or will service through social media become as frustrating as current channels are now?

No amount of cultural ineptitude can be solved by corporate adaptation of social media. Eventually the volume of feedback received through those channels will expose whether a company has a culture of taking care of customers, or just a semi-progressive social media team.

If your company does not plan for this eventuality now, the ripples of future negative feedback will be crippling. Once the volume of feedback exceeds your ability to please those customers, the negative comments will viralize themselves and overcome any positive message you can try to make.

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