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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Embracing Social Media for Customer Service

With not only the emerging popularity of social media itself since 2009, but also the emergence of companies using social media to field customer service complaints more effectively and efficiently, I have found myself increasingly upset when companies I want to interact with DON'T have a social media presence.

Something that has never been a part of the business plan for companies has now become a must have, and if they don't, it's more than just a zero, it's a negative.

There are countless examples of this out there if you care to search for them, but my own story includes WestJet, Memorial University, Dairy Queen, and Old Spice.  Only one of these was met with any success, and all have different positioning and volume.

When a recent flight was cancelled, I was stranded in an unfamiliar airport and was on hold with WestJet's customer service.  I remembered what a prof told me about increased customer service via twitter over the phone.  While on hold, I popped onto twitter and sent them a quick @mention asking where the @WestJet kiosk was in the airport, as I had trouble finding it.  They walked me through the airport in less time than it took for the CSR to answer the call on the phone.

During one of our particularly snowy winters here in Newfoundland (ok, let's be real, they're all particularly snowy winters here), I was walking to my car from the Business building.  Knowing not every student on campus drove, I was surprised that some of the sidewalks still weren't cleared.... 4 weeks after a major snowfall.  I tweeted @MemorialU voicing my concern multiple times to no avail, despite there being content published on a regular basis from the account.

In my growing disappointment for one of my favorite brands' unoriginal marketing content, I tried to reach out to both @DairyQueen and @OldSpice to open a conversation about it, and it fell on deaf ears (or ignored, haven't decided yet).  The content I'm referring to is DQ's blatant imitation of Old Spice's hugely successful campaign. (Not to mention Edge Shaving Gel's new similar campaign).

Then the kittens vs puppies debate lives on...

Either way, this brings me to my point.  Because of the great success of one company's social media customer service, I now expect it from every other company.  Even if you're not going to use it for pushing content, it's a familiar place that your consumers can interact with you and each other.

Better they bash your brand here where you can deal with it rather than on a competitor's site where you can't.

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