Several years ago, Twitter, Facebook and a host of other has-beens were portrayed as the path to revolutionize customer service. But social media is just another tool, like the telephone (which didn’t revolutionize service) and email (which also didn’t save service).
Those heretical views made me something of an outcast in customer experience circles. Now, reality has begun to set in. Bob Sullivan’s recent article at NBC News “Companies alienate customers with Twitter bots, scripted responses” says that people are increasingly frustrated by the shortcomings. The problem, of course, isn’t Twitter. The problem is how companies use it as a customer service tool.
Social media has a place in the customer experience family, but companies must invest time and energy to use it effectively. These articles outline some considerations:
- Social Media and Customer Service – Danger Ahead – The best way to use social media in a service environment is to spot trends.
- Social Media Customer Service is Falling through the Cracks – Shocking statistics supporting the conclusion that bad plans and bad execution yield bad results.
- Integrating Social Media into a Customer Experience Strategy – An example of how it can be done well (and where it misses the mark) plus other bonus links.
The pivot point is that social media as a tool for supporting and interacting with customers is only as good as the processes and commitment behind it. Like other tools, if you design your interactions with customers’ needs in mind, you’re more likely to succeed. On the other hand… using social media poorly results in a worse outcome than if you’d avoided social media altogether.