Social media doesn’t make you a customer service superstar

I’ve written a number of posts about customer service, many of them about how social media is a great customer service tool.

I need to clarify something. Social media does not make a a company with poor customer service become excellent.  It doesn’t compensate for poor attitude, cumbersome processes or a general disregard for customers.

Tools like Twitter only amplify customer service practices – both poor and excellent.

Let me demonstrate with a true story.

From sad to glad

Last week I purchased a pair of MATERIAL GIRL Fahy Laced Combat Boots from The Bay as a present for my daughter.  She was so excited. When we got home we sprayed them with leather boot protector, thinking that they were leather.  They weren’t and the boots were ruined.  My daughter was really sad.  So what did I do, I went to Twitter.

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With an hour, I received a reply from The Bay.

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What followed was a series of Direct Messages (DMs) and emails.  All which resulted in being able to return to boots, get new boots and compensation for our troubles.  This ultimately resulted in a happy daughter and a happy dad.

How to achieve great customer service

  1. Love your customers.
  2. Align your policies. You need to have the policies that support great customer service and will empower your staff to treat them well.
  3. Listen. While I said that social media tools don’t make a bad company good, they do provide a great way to listen for issues and respond.
  4. Be sincere. Sincerity is easily identified.  Whether a tweet, email or phone conversation, be sincere with your customers. Here is an excerpt from one of my emails from The Bay:

    Again, please accept my most sincere apology for all the trouble that you have experienced in regards to this. I completely understand how frustrating an ordeal like this can be to a customer and would like to assure you that we have taken your comments and concerns into consideration to prevent this from happening again. We truly appreciate your customer’s patronage and even more so when they take the time to inform us of errors with our products.

  5. Maintain consistency. Imagine how I would have felt if I had great customer service through Twitter and then in email, but when I got to the store, the manager didn’t reflect the same level of attention and commitment to me as a customer.  All the great work done by those managing the other channels would be ruined. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case and The Bay maintained a great level of customer service at all touch points.

While social media won’t fix bad practices, it has raised awareness and importance of good customer service.  Hopefully it provides a wake-up call to organizations that need help.