A post I wrote about the power of social media in relation to customer service (you can find it here) was recently tweeted and commented on by one of my Twitter followers @tomswift. In that post I talk about the power of social media in affecting the reputation of companies with potential customers. With social media, disgruntled customers now have huge megaphones with which to broadcast their discontent, so companies should beware, and be aware of their social media reputations.
Still, today when responding to @tomswift’s tweet, I found myself wondering aloud about how long social media will have such power. Will there be a point at which there are so many people saying so much about a company that individual issues will go unserviced, perhaps even unheard–as now is often the case with overloaded email boxes?
I know that today, if I were to send an email to the company I was wanting to address my customer service complaint (if I could even find an email address of a real person), the likelihood of someone actually having the power to address my concern and then actually doing something is very small…because there are too many email and customer service agents are often unempowered.
Right now, hiring social media managers is all the rage. Right now, companies realize the importance of social media to their reputations…but at what point does one person’s broadcasted complaint via twitter stop getting the attention that it currently does? At what point will it take a larger number of similar complaints before a company responds? Is social media getting more attention because it is the newest form of customer communication? While the email and phone complaints are not any less important, they often don’t garner the same level of attention…and one must consider the question: at what point will social media complaints become similar?
One could argue that the very medium of social technology changes the dynamic and therefore companies will continue to address social media comments and concerns. After all, social media is about community and engaging with customers, having conversations with them, right? But aren’t phones conducive to conversations? Didn’t we used to have conversations (or sometimes still do) via email threads? For all of those involved in social media, consider the question…and then, I would love to know your thoughts. Or if you don’t want to comment, feel free to take the quickpoll: click poll.
5 thoughts on “When will social media become the new email?”
Good post! I think some of the reason customers prefer to take up their issues via social media is so they have “backup”
Other customers with similar issues that will retweet/comment or “like” it.
Calling up a company all by yourself and getting limited aid from someone with no power to really help you feels demotivating and I think a lot of people just don’t bother with complaining as they think there is no point to it.
In social media for every “like” it is a confirmation that the customer is not all alone in the world about it.
I think today any company should focus on following up the customer post-sale. Discover and deal with any problem the customer has before it hits social media and if it does hit social media. Focus on turning a bad situation into a good thing.
If customers come to your business fan page and see that every complaint is dealt with and everyone is happy. They will love you
Thanks for your comment and I agree. What I love about social media is that it gives us yet another vehicle for communication…and rather than abandon all others, I think companies should utlize them all. I was joking with a friend of mine that people no longer use their phones to call but to text and email. But wouldn’t a disgruntled customer be so surprised if the VP of customer service actually gave them a call to talk one on one? I think of email in a similar way – not a form of communication to abandon, but to use wisely when it will be most effective. But, in the end, I agree that no matter how a customer complains, if a company deals with it, the news will get out and the company/brand will succeed.
In Person > Mail > Phone > Email > Websites > Instant Messaging > Blogs > Tweets > Mobile Updates > Facebook > Even More “Social Media”…
All are pretty simple communications – some more mysterious then others. But all are used in different ways, received in different ways, and almost certainly interpreted in different ways.
I recall reading a pretty awesome article about how email is the most misinterpreted form of all these communications. The premise was that people read emails and then reflect how they feel at that moment (not related to the email) into what someone has said and sent to them.
You might consider social media just open communication that is easily published and easy to consume. I think you can more accurately get the true essence of the message with social media over other communications.
I think people that care and are working for a company they like will always interact with what is being said in social media. Not like email.
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