A bad customer experience was likely to be passed on to at least ten people, while a good one would be lucky to get one mention. It may be tedious to have this drilled into your skull on a monthly basis, but it’s a very true message. However, for many firms, finding out just what their customers were saying about them was much harder to achieve. Today, with the wonderful world of the web, one tool that will help you to find out who is praising you and who is being less than complimentary is Twitter. This site may be classed as a social network but it could also be classed as the Gripe-Vine, where consumers can get their point across. For any business no single gripe, however small, is something you can afford to overlook.
Customer Service: Shock and Awe
You’d hardly believe it, but Twitter is a relatively recent phenomenon, while using it for customer service is an even more recent development. At the moment the concept is new enough to induce a sense of shock and awe in the customer that’s been doing all that complaining. “What, they actually got back to me? Even when I hadn’t got in touch? Wow, now that’s customer service”. That’s the sort of response you get, and you often get that response on Twitter itself, meaning that the super-positive message gets passed onto more people than you could normally expect. When clients complain, gripe and whinge about your product or service on sites like Twitter, it can get you a lot of attention, of just the wrong kind. If you monitor the web for comments about your firm and do something about the negative ones then you can really turn around what could be a whole lot of free, bad advertising.
There’s no such thing as bad press
True, anything that gets attention is good for your firm, at least in some senses. It certainly gets the word out and even bad press can get you a massive following. This might be seen as being a business disaster but if you handle the problem well then that extra fifteen thousand followers that you didn’t really want, might just be as impressed as the one follower who made the negative comment and you’ll find yourself with X amount of potential new customers. The media, old or new, is simply a tool for manipulating the way people think, and if you want them to think positively about you, the new media platforms give you instant access to a huge audience to impress, even if it’s prompted by a massive customer service faux pas.
Joining the Conversation
Some big players are already using Twitter as a very alternative customer service platform. Dell and Amazon are, being techie giants, not surprisingly amongst them. They use Twitter to connect with customers to offer them special deals and rates, but also to monitor mentions and respond to customer gripes quickly, efficiently and with that essential element of surprise. Customer service in the last twenty years has transformed and it’s been an interesting ride; from direct contact with firms to indirect contact via call centres spread across the globe, and back to direct personal service, albeit via a platform like Twitter. It’s likely that the companies that manage their customer service, at least in part, via social networking platforms will be the ones that continue to lead the field whatever that field is. If you’re looking to really wow your customers, and build a favourable following, then it’s time to join the Gripe-Vine.