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?