What’s the Point of Social Customer Care?

It’s been a busy couple of months since my last blog post! I’ve moved house, done a mini renovation, work got crazy, had an engagement party and the soccer season started!

I also had some interesting social media interactions with some leading Australian companies that left me questioning the point of using social media for customer service.

Social Customer Care has been a popular catch phrase used by marketers recently. In theory it should help resolve customer queries via social media in a timely manner.

However there is a gap between traditional customer service and the dynamic nature of social media. Traditionally customer queries were dealt with behind the scenes, but now they’re visible for all to see. Giving a standard politician response (dodging answering the question) to a customer query on social media is not going to cut it anymore. Users want answers!

Another challenge is the speed. Social media happens 24/7, and users expect answers instantaneously, which can be challenging to manage. As a result, businesses have had to extend their hours of operations.

Staying anonymous or hiding behind online personas makes it very hard for companies to know who they’re dealing with. This is a tough one, but no different to someone calling up a radio station with a secret agenda.

What got me frustrated recently was how 2 large companies (check my Twitter feed for the interactions) dealt with my social media queries. In both situations they couldn’t resolve my query and wanted me to call them. With the bank, I had already spent 20 minutes on hold and gave up. I asked them to call me! The same happened with my telco interaction, I had to either call or use the live chat, which we used the night before and got nowhere.

I understand there are privacy concerns, with companies calling, but if we’re sending private messages via Facebook or Twitter, how is that any different from sending an email with our phone number?!

Kudos to companies who respond quickly to customer queries on social media, acknowledging is the first step in addressing the problem. But if you can’t do anything, it leaves the customer frustrated and the issue is still not resolved.

To make Social Customer Care really work, a re-think of how businesses use it is required. Get it right, and companies can save money with customer service departments and ultimately the customer is happy!