Facebook was founded in 2004, Twitter didn’t waste much time, launching in 2006. Becoming household names, we share pictures of our friends, families, and most importantly(?) ourselves. We use social media every day to express: delight, anger, surprise, share opinions, and challenge the opinions of others. Social media is a vocal community made up of everyone: our communities, our demographics, those who we like, and those whom we (frankly) do not.
Just over a decade ago, Mark Zuckerberg (et al) revolutionized this idea of community by giving us a single place to maintain our online identity rich with content and connection. For years this model worked, hand in hand with Twitter, we abandoned the old ways we’d share, invite, touch base, plan, and announce.
But a strange thing started to happen, we began to connect with brands the same way we did with people, and why not? Brands spend billions to be identified as a single entity, why wouldn’t we want to reach out to them like anyone else? And so it began…
Today almost every brand worth its corporate “salt” maintains its social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+. This is where the conversation really begins, our call to action.
What I am referring to is the social customer service revolution.
Brands are bringing the “Wild West” that is social media into the customer support call center. The goal of which is to address the questions and concerns of their customers on social, and not only acknowledge that there is a question or problem, but actually resolve the issue on that very same channel.
Anyone who regularly Tweets questions and/or complaints will surely recall being met with a reply advising them to call a phone number, or send an email, and when these instructions are followed the support agent has no idea who they are talking to, or what they want.
There is a clear communication breakdown, leading to a frustrating service experience for us, the customer.
How do brands resolve this channel triage? Two options:
- They maintain an integrated CRM and ticket management internal ecosystem, giving any customer service agent who answers the phone, replies to the email, or Tweets back, a holistic view of that customer. An accurate history, rich with context and notes, so that the customer not only gets the resolution he or she is looking for, but at the end of the day, feels valued.
- They meet their customers on the channel the customer has selected to make first contact and they stay on the channel from reach to resolution. If a customer reaches out over Twitter, then the brand maintains the conversation, either in public or through Direct Message, on Twitter until they have helped the customer. If a customer reaches out to a brand over social with a question, and the brand replies in asking the customer to call a support number, the brand has failed. It gets even worse if the customer spends more time on hold, then he or she did waiting for a reply on Twitter.
So which option is the right one? Which one do the largest brands need to invest in?
And it’s easier than you may have thought. The wheels are turning; more and more brands are adopting a Social First approach to customer service and utilizing powerful solutions that empower their existing social channels as a primary source of service.
If I have it my way, before too long every brand from Mom & Pop to global enterprises will offer fast and familiar (not to mention, cost effective and efficient) customer service to their social, mobile customers wherever they are.
The social customer service revolution is about resolution, and it will be Tweeted.