Customers getting VIP service with social media compared to traditional call centres
This has led to them become more receptive to responding to complaints and queries posted by consumers in social networks. A new study by Fishburn Hedges shows that 65% of those polled felt social media was a better way to connect with a company than the traditional call centre. Only 7% thought they were worse off using social.
It’s not just young tech savvy types using social media to bypass the call centre either. While 18-24 year olds were unsurprisingly the group most likely to conduct customer service queries through social media, the report found that 27.4% of over 55 years olds have dealt with a brand through social media. Indeed 40% of people, including those who don’t even use social media themselves, believe that it improves customer service.
What sets social apart from call centres is the personalised, VIP service the consumers feel they are getting. They have a one-on-one connection with the brand – two thirds of people that have engaged with brands on social media believe that it has allowed them to find their voice. In age where we expect to get information and solve problems instantly online, it has become unacceptable to people to spend hours on hold.
There is no muzak on Twitter either.
Eva Keogan, head of innovation at Fishburn Hedges, said:
“Many people are currently enjoying the VIP treatment from brands on social media. As millions more catch on to this great route into traditional customer service channels, the challenge for brands will be maintaining the same level of service.”
While it is the personalised nature of social media is that attracts people to use it to communicate with seemingly impenetrable corporations, it also means that there is the possibility of major brands overreacting to every hint of negativity online. If they are not careful, they can end up spending resources on dealing with non-issues. According to Sarah Schofield, head of corporate communications at PepsiCo:
“Some people have knee-jerk reactions when they see something online and think they must react immediately. 10 people discussing online isn’t really an issue, and if 10 people were in a pub discussing something similar, you wouldn’t take any notice. Obviously it needs to be monitored but kept in perspective.”
However, Warren Buckley, managing director of customer service at BT is more wary:
“One person with no ‘followers’ can very quickly become 10,000 people”
Search for a brand in a social network, and you’re likely to find people discussing it. Those brands are now realising that they have to engage with people to keep that conversation positive.