Many people think of social media primarily as a marketing tool, but one of the big secrets is it’s power as a customer service vehicle. Unlike traditional media, social media is a two way street. People will talk back at you as much or more than you talk to them. This is more of a conversational medium and it’s as important to listen as it is to speak.
If you are listening carefully enough on social media, you are going to hear customer complaints and frustrations. I have talked about this before both on the blog and in the podcast. I have told you how important it is to acknowledge these customers and deal effectively with their issues. This is basic customer service and doing it well can buy you a great deal. I wanted to bring to you a real world example of one company who does it right.
Take a look at this Tweet stream. A customer tweets his frustration at waking up with no power. He is clearly angry. How many people do you think he is going to tell at work about how much be hates TXU Energy? He has already notified his 145 Twitter followers. But TXU is right on it, producing a reply that acknowledges the problem, offers sympathy and a solution. Here is the kicker. They provide him with a toll free number to call which is fine and a little typical but they also offer to take his Twitter direct message and deal with it personally. That extra dedication makes all the difference and shows everyone watching on Twitter, TXU is truly interested in providing gold star service to its customers.
Now look at the reply from the customer. He never expected to hear from them and he is no longer frustrated. I have written before about customer expectations online and how easy it is to meet and exceed them. Here is a real, tangible example of how that can pay off. How many people do you think he will tell in his day about how cool TXU Energy is? He has already notified his Twitter following who were last left with a very negative view of TXU. Yes, customers can actually do damage control for you.
Social media holds a wealth of opportunities to interact with your customers and prospective customers in a positive way and many times it will have nothing to do with marketing. This is why it’s important to get other departments involved in social media other than marketing. Customer service, marketing, HR, and sales; There is a role for everyone in social media if you’re thinking big enough.