4. April 2012 11:01
Customer service has been adapting in recent years. Many have said it is dead. Truth be told, social media is the new customer service.
Social media is the gateway for customers to directly connect with the businesses they shop at in a very intimate level. From large corporations to your local mom and pop store, social media is the best way to reach out and get a response to your issue. The reason? Social media is not a simple message, it is broadcasted on the internet through Facebook, Twitter, etc. and all consumers can see it who like/follow your service/product or are researching. If the message is not handled quickly, or is ignored it will leave the costumer not wanting to do business with the company. Or even worse, the business gets defensive in their responses, creating a social media war with a customer. Yes, I have have seen this first hand and it was not pretty. You never want things to get to that point.
Respect the customers comments, apologize for any issues, ask them to try it again and make sure their next try or visit is amazing. You can even go one step further and offer something to make things better with the customer, a coupon, a free appetizer for their next visit, samples, etc. You want to restore their trust and want them to try your service/product/restaurant again. The best outcome would be the costumer posting again, how amazing their experience was the second time and thanking you for your help to make it better. Furthermore, you want everyone else to see that if someone decides to do business with you, they will be taken care of. Even if they weren't completely satisfied their first time around.
As social media has been developing, large corporations such as Time Warner, Jet Blue and SouthWest have taken to social media platforms in full effect. Creating teams that concentrate only on their online communities, making it nearly impossible for a comment or a tweet to get lost. These larger corporations have the money, backing and full understanding to deliver the customer service social media creates.
On the other hand, mom and pop's have a much harder time with grasping social media. Either they don't understand it, think they don't have time for it or do it rarely. Social Media is not something to be ignored even for the small businesses. Small businesses can create a very effective presence in their local community. However, starting all the major accounts, and update them once in awhile at best is wasted effort and at worst can be seen by a potential customer as bad customer service. It's best to update at the very least once a day, and check all the accounts you have to see if there are any comments. Respond to those right away, make a point to really connect with your customers. In the long run this will really help you and your business grow.