Most companies in the US are using social media as an important channel for communicating with customers. One of the primary reasons for using the social media is to provide information regarding products and services. Several studies such as one done by Simply Measured indicates that only about one third of the companies that use social media provide a link for customer service. Other studies suggest there is an increasing trend to provide customer service through social media.

The purpose of this blog is to examine the relationship between social media and customer service. The conclusion suggests that the proper use of social media for customer service is a win for the customers and a win for the company. Hence, using the social media for customer service reduces the cost of customer service while simultaneously improves response time of customer service to customer requests.

The advantages for customer service using social media include the following:

  1. Companies do not need to have support personnel available 24/7. This will allow the company to maximize the use of support personnel and reduce idle time. This improvement in productivity should be sufficient to justify using the social media as a way to acquire customer concerns as well as accolades.
  2. Companies can utilize self-help diagnostics to reduce the number of customer interactions.
  3. Companies can acquire data from the social media to improve customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.

The advantages for customers using social media to contact the company include the following:

  1. The customer can contact the company 24/7. Thus the customer is not inconvenienced by waiting until company personnel are available.
  2. The customer can resolve made his concerns through the use of self-help diagnostics.
  3. The customer can provide detail regarding the purpose of the call prior to the review by the company. This allows company respond more knowledgeably.
  4. The customers will frequently perceive the responsiveness to their concerns more positively than if they had to wait until someone is available.

Thus the customer and company each benefit by having a direct path through social media. As customers become increasingly aware of having customer service available through social media, other methods of communication will undoubtedly diminish. Companies need to examine how social media is being used by their customers. It is not unreasonable to expect that the trend for communication between the customer and the company in the social media will continue to increase.

The bottom line is that companies who provide customer service should be developing plans (if they have not already) to restructure the customer service strategy to include connection to social media. The signs are clear that customers will increasingly use the Internet to communicate with companies.

The companies who understand this trend and plan their customer service organization to address this change in the way we do business will have a distinct advantage over their competition.

SOURCEThe Customer Institute
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Bill Bleuel
Dr. Bill Bleuel is an award-winning Professor of Decision Sciences at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management. Dr. Bleuel’s expertise lies in the quantitative aspects of business. He specializes in the measurement and analysis of operations, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and customer retention. He has held senior positions in engineering, marketing and service management at Xerox, Taylor Instrument Company and Barber Colman Company. Dr. Bleuel has also experience as general manager in two start-up companies that he co-founded.

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