No company’s customer service is infallible. Most consumers appreciate this to an extent – yes, there are a number who believe anything less than 100% success is an absolute, humanity destroying failure, and that company should be swallowed up by the sea and plunged into the depths of hell and eternal damnation!

But on the whole, people are willing to forgive if an attempt has been made to rectify a problem. There is a double edged sword element to this when it comes to customer service on social media channels. If your company has yet to integrate a strategy I can pretty much guarantee that the powers that be consider that either their target customers aren’t on social media OR they don’t want to open themselves up to criticism – after all, the only reason people use Twitter when interacting with brands is to complain, right? Not necessarily. Let me look at both of these suggestions individually:

Our customers aren’t on social media

Now aside from this being statistically unlikely, not all social media integration is there to be a front-line lead generating or specific customer service tool. Having an active, up-to-date social presence not only helps your web ranking but also gives your company a voice in the online community. Some of my favourite accounts are not necessarily companies I am likely to buy from but some of my followers might and some of my followers, followers might. The six degrees of separation becomes much easier to see when you are actually playing the game.

We don’t want to open ourselves up to criticism

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I recently had the internet installed into my house but was a little cautious of a certain internet provider considering I had been at the wrong end of some poor service previously. I took the new service with trepidation, tweeted my concern and the company responded with a nicely worded reply to settle my nerves (left). This certainly wasn’t something I was willing to phone up to ask – it was merely a passing concern.

I joked about their choice of language and ended up having a nice conversation with them. This interaction went a long way to improving my opinion of this company. Now, as you can imagine I use Twitter a lot so knowing that I could get in contact with them at any time via my preferred medium AND get a swift response means they quickly moved up my favourites list.

As simple as it may sound, being shown this little bit of attention by a brand made me feel special. As a result of the joke I shared with them something more profound was seeded, the start of brand loyalty. The point I’m making is not all consumer interactions on social media are negative. I was unsure about the company I was buying into but my mind was put to rest by a simple exchange and I have gone on to recommend Virgin Media to others.

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This Business Insider blog references some actual ROI figures and more percentage facts should you be interested but the fact remains, building brand loyalty via social media channels can help unite your existing brand advocates with brand skeptics which in turn leads to a greater sales reach and potential revenue.

As for me, “the magic” was installed with no problems and I can now be considered a happy customer, which I’m sure is the service outcome every company is looking for.