You may have read the scathing report of how a Best Buy manager dismissed the company’s customer service presence on Twitter (the @Twelpforce) as "just social media," and how he regarded the customer service advice offered through Twitter as “It could be anybody.”
Today in my Twitter feed, I noticed a comment that reminded me of this incident and how businesses can truly utilize social media as a real-time customer service portal. There is no holding on the telephone, no automated menus to navigate, and a personalized, thoughtful response (often) on the other end. Social and customer service are a natural marriage.
Here is what I witnessed and how companies handled concerns:
@tcuf*** (I will shorten the cutomer's full handle for anonymity's sake) said: “Leaving @NM_News (Northwestern Mutual life insurance)...they don't take care of their customers.”
Within an hour, @NM_News replied with: “@tcuf**** We saw your tweet and we'd like to help. Can you please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can chat?”
NM_News offered a great, timely response, delivered without pointing blame, offering a solution to the customer and a portal to resolve the issue. This is where social media monitoring has to be a crucial part of your social business plan. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are not solely valuable for their part in customer acquisition, but more importantly, customer retention. A colleague said to me earlier today, “Customer retention is five times more important that customer acquisition.”(Acquisition is pretty awesome, too, though!)
I saw another response to a customer complaint, and I jumped over to @Dani***’s page, where he made the comment that @1800Flowers was really getting pummeled on Twitter via their @ mentions (the day after Valentines day, I did not find this too surprising). So I hopped over to the @1800Flowers Twitter page, and took a look at what people had to say and how the company was handling it.
@rand**** expressed his Valentines woes: “@1800Flowers Paid for guaranteed Feb 14 delivery but nothing show up at all & its now Wed at 2pm and still nothing. CS line hangs up on me”
But @1800flowers swooped in with a solution: “@Rand***I'm very sorry. Pls follow/dm w/ ord issue, ord #, ur name, recipient's name, del date. Thx! We appreciate ur patience-Tene”
In non Twitspeak: “I am very sorry. Please follow with a Direct Message with order issue, order number, your name, recipient’s name and delivery date. Thanks! We appreciate your patience, Tene (the person handling the business Twitter feed).”
It is worth mentioning, as @rand**** did in a follow-up tweet (@1800Flowers ok...tried DM but you are not following me), that you cannot Direct Message someone that is not following you on Twitter. The fact remains that 1800Flowers is taking the time to respond to every tweet the day after Valentines Day (trust me, there are a lot).
Try it, search for your favorite (or least favorite) business and see what people are saying about them, and how the company is handling it. A little bad press is an opporunity to showthat your company is putting the right foot forward to resolve the issue, and can turn a bad word about your company into a chance to retain another customer, rather than them leaving without saying anything.
We tweet from @SourceLink, and we always have an ear out for community feedback (hopefully all good things ;) Follow us and always feel free to share your experience with us.