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April 21, 2013

Should You Bother Using Social Media to Serve Customers

by kailindong

Social media usage has exploded over the past few years, and provides many benefits to users. More and more companies pay more attention on the social media platform to reach customers and hope to resolve customer service request. However social media marketing is not as fancy as they expected before and companies cannot help customers efficiently on the platform. Currently I read an article which talks about how to use the social media platform to serve customers and resolve complaints raise the question: “Should you bother using social media to serve customers?”

In the article the author finds that 84% of customers have never used social media platforms to contact customer service and 83% do not expect to resolve customer service issues on social media platforms. Moreover when most of the customers use social media for service, they often feel “pissed off” and forced to go there to ‘vent’, because the company was “ignoring or failing to solve issues in other channels”

My past internship experience also revealed the social media service problems. One of my responsibilities is to collect the online complaints and make quick response to them. I found that majority of customers who complain online tended to exaggerate the negative attitude towards companies and their upset feelings can stir heated discussion online. If company cannot solve the single issue appropriate and efficient, the negative influence will be a fatal impact to company’s image. Therefore we should think twice whether the social media is an ideal place to provide service or resolve problem? From my perspective, I think we shouldn’t regard it as first priority to fix customer relationship but the traditional service channels such as phone and face-to-face after-service. It’s more important to pay more attention on the vast majority of our customers. Therefore we should guide them away from social media and towards a channel that will provide a better experience.

However the small minority customers can never be ignored, because the open social media embrace huge potential powers which can destroy a brand or create a great brand in a short time. Companies should shift from the social media defensive role to game player by taking advantage of online complaints. When I was in charge of the official Pond’s twitter, our team did great job in solving problems. We forward the complaint twitter with quick reply and solution on our platform. The actions make customers feel respectful and help the other customers solve the similar problems. Social media is double-edge sword and companies can should balance the social media and traditional channels. Never overlook or overestimate any channels.

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Karen Dong

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