Is Social Media the Future of Customer Service?

posted this in
Social Media
on August 22nd, 2013

A few months ago I had a service issue with my cable company. Rather than calling the company and being passed from person to person before my issue was solved, I tweeted them.

Within just a few minutes, they sent me a direct message asking for more information about the issue. Then, before I knew it, they helped me identify the issue and put me in contact with the correct department.

And I’m not the exception.

This is how many customers are starting to interact with brands on social media. In fact, a study by The Connection showed that 37% of customers actually prefer using social media for customer service inquiries over traditional methods like telephone calls.

So that begs the question, “Is social media the future of customer service?”

My answer: kind of.

I think traditional customer service will always exist in some form (there are some situations that are just better handled with a phone call). But it is also important for businesses to understand and use social media as an extension of their customer service department.

I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Examples of Companies Rocking Social Customer Service

After my encounter with my cable company, I started looking around at brands who’ve adopted this mentality. I found many companies who are rocking at social customer service, but there were 3 in particular that stuck out to me:

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

How they’re transforming customer service

When it comes to solving problems and answering customer questions across social media communities, KLM takes the lead.

Not only do they have a dedicated social team who answers questions around the clock, but they offer support in 10 languages!

KLM also uses their social media presence as a way to update followers when a plane gets new seats or they add a new flight destination. And they have a snazzy Trip Planner on Facebook to ensure your trip runs smoothly.

How you can start doing the same

Use your social media channels as a way to offer support to you customers or update them when something new is happening with your company.

A great way to get feedback on social media is to set up a support tab so your customers have a place to go to send you feedback directly.


How they’re transforming customer service

I’m a huge advocate of Birchbox. Not only do I think the product is great, but I also think their social customer support is awesome because they take the time to actually listen to what customers are saying.

Each month after a beauty box is shipped out, ladies flock to Birchbox’s social sites with questions about their products, suggestions for how to better their experiences and even video reviews of their boxes (which the team pays attention to!).

By listening to what customers are saying, they’ve built a community of loyal Birchbox lovers who know their questions and comments will be noticed.

How you can start doing the same

Take the time to listen to what your customers are saying on your social media communities.

Whether you’re selling air conditioners or auto insurance, you can use social media as an outlet to listen to what your customers are saying so you can improve your products and services.

Optimal Run

How they’re transforming customer service

Optimal Run is all about using social media as a way to educate their customers. For starters, they have a Facebook app where you can get a personalized footwear recommendation and by doing so you’ll save $10 on your order.

They’re also really good at helping customers decide which is the right type of shoe for the type of activity they’re using them for.

Customer service isn’t only about putting out fires. It’s about providing a really great experience for your customers and being their go-to resource for information.

How you can start doing the same

Start using social media as an outlet to educate your customers. No matter your industry, your customers will always have questions for you.

Facebook and Twitter are a great place to start answering those questions and providing helpful information, blog posts and FAQs to your customers.

Social Customer Service Won’t Fix a Broken Product/Service

It may go without saying, but a commitment to using social media for customer service won’t magically make all your product or service’s problems go away - you have to start with something great.

Otherwise something like this happens and no tweet in the world will save you.

Have you had any success using your company’s social media sites for customer service? Let me know by sending us a comment on Facebook.