Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Why Is Utilizing Social Media in Customer Service Important?

Some people may find this hard to believe, but even today in the year 2014; I’ve routinely heard customer service representatives refer to social media as a “fad”.  A surprising number of business professionals put next to zero value in managing online social media accounts because they fail to see its importance.

I would like to share with you something I learned Sunday evening: There’s a branch of Avis/Budget car rentals in Portland Oregon that provides awful customer service.  Wait actually I can be even more specific.  The branch is the one on Washington Street, and the awful customer service is taking rental car reservations despite having zero cars on the lot.  Not specific enough?  The woman at the desk actually yells at the customers, “It’s not our fault we ran out of cars!”  Oh, and her name is Ursula.

You probably think that in order for me to know all of these details I must be that customer who was yelled at.  Nope.  Well, then the customer must be a close friend or a family member.  Nope.   Perhaps, I’m a close friend of Ursula.  Nope.  Well, maybe I’m actually Ursula and this is some sort of confession.  Nope.   Actually, I don’t know the customer or anyone involved personally, nor have I have ever even been to Portland…or Oregon…or a state that borders Oregon.  Also, I’ve never dealt with any branch of Avis or Budget – I’ve actually never rented a car and I didn’t learn this information while searching for anything remotely related to renting a car.  I read about the customer’s horrible experience looking at my Twitter feed.
That’s a screenshot of just one of an entire slew of Tweets from comic book writer of Batgirl, Gail Simone.  She detailed her entire experience Sunday evening on Twitter for her 52,000 followers to see.  And as you can see above this tweet received 14 re-tweets and 52 favorites.  Each snippet of her experience has similar or greater than share numbers.  That means that the original 52,000 followers that the tweets were shared with are now extending further beyond her network to followers of followers and so on.  As a comic book writer, Gail Simone doesn’t have millions of followers like big-name celebrities, but the effects are evident.  It’s probably a good thing a big-name celebrity never complains about a business online.
Oops, maybe they do.  Now, these are extreme examples, if you’re running a local business odds are Will Smith isn’t going to come by and then follow up his visit by slamming you on social media.  However, the average person has over 250 people in their personal networks.  And if one or two per week are complaining about you online, it doesn’t take very many weeks to cripple your business.  And as you can see, complaints aren’t just going to review sites such as Yelp or Google.  Each day the number of users on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, etc. are growing exponentially.  And if you handle your business and online reputation the correct way, customers on these sites will be telling their hundreds of friends how great you are!
Above is an example from Gail Simone the same evening after her ordeal was resolved by another branch and you can see people are perfectly happy to favorite and share the good opinions of your business as much as they do with the bad.  This is why there’s no need to view Social Media as a hassle, because the reality is proper management can turn Social Media into the best thing that’s ever happened to your business.

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