Lost in the Shuffle? Traditional Customer Service in a Social Media World

Over and over again, when someone talks about social media, most likely he or she is going to mention the fact that it allows consumers to become more engaged with a brand – it builds a connection. Yet, while social media allows for consumers to interact directly with a brand, and quickly in most cases, what does it mean for traditional customer service?

I admit; I cannot remember the last time I called an 800 number of a brand to voice a complaint. Instead, I take to social media. For example, this past week, I received a phishing email from Lucky Brand indicating that I had placed an order with them, which was not the case. I tried calling the company’s 800 number, but it was busy. So, instead I took to both Twitter and Facebook to try to figure things out. Unfortunately, the company did not respond to my Twitter post, but I found others who had been impacted. But the company did respond via Facebook. Also, it was on Facebook where I found that others experienced the issue. The brand did not respond until later in the afternoon. It amazed me that I was able to get a response via a social media site and not by picking up the phone. So does this mean that traditional customer service is a thing of the past?

The answer is yes and no. Yes, more and more people are going to social media sites for immediate responses to customer service. And, yes, brands interact with consumers, but there is still a place for traditional customer service in today’s “social” world.

Sometimes you just need to speak to a person to sort through issues. In addition, there have been times where I have been asked to call the 800 number via a Twitter post so more details could be given about that particular issue. A brand can really delve into a problem over the phone. Social media may not be the correct medium for that. My suggested approach: look to social media if you need a quick answer to a minor problem. Also, go there if you aren’t getting answers over the phone. But, if you are having a major issue, call the company. Conversation is the best way to communicate. Plus, there are times when things get lost in translation in a post.

This recent article from Mashable discusses the place of tradtional customer service in today’s social world. Also, it is critical to follow the 10 Commandments of Customer Service regardless of the medium. Is there anything missing?


4 thoughts on “Lost in the Shuffle? Traditional Customer Service in a Social Media World

  1. I think online chat is the best customer tool out there. It provides the immediacy and the personal contact necessary for good service.

    • I frequently use online chat, especially whe I cannot find information on a website. For example, I constantly use the feature on the PR Newswire website when I need pricing for a specific area. The information is not avaialable on the company’s site, but I get answers within minute via online chat. I hope that online chat is an extension of the type of customer service that is exhibited by a company over the phone.

  2. I just recently experienced an issue with a company that wasn’t responding to my email requests. So, I had to go public on them and post a message on the company’s Facebook page. Sure enough, I get the response that I had been waiting weeks for within a day. The last thing a company wants is an image of not taking care of their customers.

    • It is truly amazing that social media causes a company to respond. But shouldn’t they still want to pride themselves on strong customer service, even if social media is in the picture?

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