There is little room for doubt that consumers all over the world are sick and tired of poor customer service. Whether it's the frustration over not being able to talk to someone or the apparent lack of caring on the part of the company itself, statistics continue to demonstrate the overall continued decline in consumer satisfaction. To answer the question in the title of this post I believe wholeheartedly that social media can improve customer service. Here is why.
There are many big names out there that are already using tools like Twitter to connect with their customers, to handle issues, and to genuinely just thank their clients for their business. I am going to highlight a two of them; Delta and Hilton.
Delta has a Twitter account called @DeltaAssist.
When you follow their stream of replies there is definitely a mixture of different conversations.
Sometimes they are thanking people for their business or addressing flight issues. What I noticed is that they do have a pretty amazing response time not only to direct mentions but to those who just post out the word Delta.
The airline industry is one that continues to be under a great deal of scrutiny for its overall customer service so kudos to Delta for keeping pace with how people communicate.
Hilton Hotels is another brand I like to follow and observe. Their Twitter handle is @HiltonOnline.
Overall they take the same approach as Delta does. They monitor their brand name and address any issues and concerns that their guests may be having.
From my observations however they really seem to take their conversations to a different level. They actually have conversation with their Twitter followers regarding topics that have nothing to do with their brand. I really applaud this since this has such a humanizing affect.
From a client's perspective they just had random conversation with a brand that had nothing to do with booking a hotel room. How do you think that develops the trust factor?
Those are just two example. For the company I work for, Twitter has been an invaluable connection tool so it really shows that even for a smaller business Twitter should become part of your overall customer service strategy.
This article highlights just one tool as a means to increase your customer service overall score. There are numerous other ways to use social media to help improve your customer service. However it is important to remember that these are just tools.
As businesses we need to have that customer service mindset in the first place. If we are a consumer minded group then using these tools will become natural. Having regular conversation with your network beyond the transaction is what builds social capital.
Social capital is what sustains you through those times when things do go wrong. Social capital is what helps build brand loyalty and brand advocates.