Using social media to provide online, real-time customer service is a growing trend amongst brands large and small, though only some have gotten it right so far. A big misstep that we see fairly often is the practice of driving this online customer service offline. You’ve seen it before – a user posts about an issue on a company’s Facebook page or tweets their problem to the company’s Twitter account, and the brand responds with a very unauthentic “We’re sorry to hear that. Please call us at (123) 456-7890 and someone will look into your issue.”
Wrong, wrong, wrong! When a company directs a user’s social media complaint to a non-social medium, they have completely defeated the purpose of using social media for customer service, and have missed out on an opportunity to provide a seamless brand experience in a highly public space. Proper online customer service allows for the entire exchange between brand and consumer to occur online (assuming no sensitive details like credit card information are required).
Here’s an example of a company that gets it. Jennifer, our Director of Marketing, posted a complaint on FreshDirect’s Facebook page about a product from her most recent order this past Friday. By Saturday, the company had responded to the post with instructions to send an email with details on the issue (she did). By Sunday, she received a notification that the cost of the faulty product had been credited to her account. Jennifer never had to pick up the phone or go out of her to way to have this issue resolved in a timely manner (and on a weekend, no less). This is what an effective social media customer service experience should look like.