Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Changing Customer Service - Social Media

Due to Social Media the way customers are now serviced has taken a change. This change is for the good.

Previously like all other things, we have experienced the good and the bad customer service and care that was implemented. There were some corporates who managed well, while the others managed to frustrate the customers even more. And it goes without saying, that though we have good possibility via the Social Media there will be some who will perform well and others who may not.

It is not that the previous formats of touchpoints have been removed. They still exists. There are call centers, on-desk person to person counters, relationship managers and so on. All these had processes and all would say very much similar things - either they will get back, and / or they are very sorry and / or they will have to ask and then replace goods. Somehow they never knew what was taking place at the company level. They were to form positive contact yet there was no via medium to do so. There were intensive training provided but still there was a gap / still is a gap for some. If atall a customer did get a good and privileged deal this would be notified via some other channel and touch point like maybe an emailer.
If there is birthday greeting to be sent out then perhaps an SMS would go out. So the continuity in forming relationship never could take place. And hence they would be relegated to listening to complains, saying sorry profusely and generally trying to pack off the customer. While if we look at the customer side: They would be given a complaint number and would be addressed later. In some cases the customer had to do lots of follow - up before any action is taken.

Many corporates would put up their customer care number, email id as a necessary evil. Atleast on websites it was slightly easier to detect. In print it would be finding it somewhere amongst much text. 

Coming to the Social Media scenario it is changing the way people interact. Lets take for example a Facebook Fan / Business Page. The same Page is used to address customer grievances, answer questions, give more information, to the extent that the Page can start a movement as well. Unfortunately I do come across copy paste statements still 'we are sorry please send us your email id and we will contact you soon' - the whole page is flooded with this message specially on Twitter. However this is thankfully not the tone across the board. What the corporates do now is that the same Page enables customers to engage and know more about how to handle their product, maintain it, a free download is shared and so on. And what's more customer's give feedback. They share it amongst their network and so the good word spreads. 

What is the change? Previously it was re-active now it is pro-active?

Infact what was previously called customer care is now truly to a large extent 'care'. Care is nurturing just not attending to crises. And, shall we say this is shaping up now with Social Media?

What is your take?

We have an active Social Media community at my Facebook Business Page. You can experience / see demonstration of Social Media and Community Management at http://www.facebook.com/pervarakapadia . To discover, share, interact, network, have question answer sessions and converse on Social Media do join me at facebook.com/pervarakapadia  http://www.facebook.com/pervarakapadia
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