Customer Service 3.0

Every interaction that a customer has with a company can make or break a brand.  One wrong move and a customer will ban a brand for life.  If a customer gets angry enough, s/he will blast the company online and spread the word about a horrible experience.  On Web 3.0, this rapid-fire word-of-mouth can cause irreparable damage.  So why haven’t companies realized the power of social media as a customer service tool?

A Mashable article published last year stated that 80% of companies planned to incorporate social media more heavily into its service process.  However, this article presents some very interesting statistics illustrating that companies apparently forgot about their promise.  These are the two that stood out to me:

– 56% of companies ignored complaints posted on Facebook

– 71% of complaints made on Twitter went completely ignored

Here’s one more statistic for good measure: Only 23% companies have dedicated customer service handles on Twitter.

I find it interesting that companies are quick to embrace emerging media but fail to use them to their full potential.  I would argue that customer service is a much larger component of a brand than advertising, public relations, or any other form of media ever could be. Think of Zappos.  Zappos is what I call a “case study brand”: one that is highlighted time and time again for simply being outstanding in the marketing world.  The Zappos brand is founded on customer service, and this is present on its social media sites.  Zappos is not only quick to respond to positive and negative comments, but it also personalizes responses so that customers feel valued.

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It might be a tall order to request that every company be like Zappos, but all companies should remember that social media needs to be a tool for customer service – unless, of course, their customers aren’t too important to them.