Power of Social Media and Customer Service

You might have heard that someone got very bad customer service one day and no one would resolve the complaint at this company.  This person gets upset by the treatment received and decides to write a complaint letter to the president of the company.  In few weeks he receives a note and the issue is resolved by president’s interference.  Everyone gets back to business and few people in the town heard of the story and thats it.

Now go to Web 2.0, someone got bad customer service and received no reasonable response  to the complaint.  This consumer feels mis-treated as his complaint is not treated fairly.  This person sings a complaint song, and shares it on YouTube.   Word about this customer service story circulates the internet through the song shared on YouTube, people in millions watch it and it hurts the organization’s bottom line (over $100 millions) and the brand.  And then this individual gets an apology from the company and complain finally gets  resolved.

This is the power of social media if used correctly. It works both ways.

Here is the complete story  about singer Dave Carroll incident and whose guitar was broken by United Airlines (Link to Huffington Post story) . Watch the  song. 

Here are some key points (and some Customer Service/Help Desk experts can add more) –

  1. Consumer expects good service all the time, although doesn’t give reward or recognize it publically, but indirectly rewards by doing business again and again.
  2. Consumer is generally prepared to handle good and bad customer service; in case of bad service, do not expect more business.
  3. Consumer is wowed by exceptional service only and you can find 5-star reviews online and strong brand following is built/maintained. Facebook Fan page and twitter following of brand can tell something.
  4. Consumer is offended by horrible customer service.  You can find 1-star reviews online and some dedicated websites to complain about product, brand or service can be found.  Some may get creative like David Carroll and make a dent on your brand.
  5. If not sure how to handle the complaint or issue, do not just say No.  Let your boss help you.
  6. If you face customers, genuine attitude determines consumer behaviour to a bigger extent.

I have noticed that consumer tolerance to bad service is inversely proportional to size of brand or organization.  Bigger the brand or name of the organization, higher the expectation of consumer in terms of service.

 Here is another blogger with the same story- http://adgablog.wordpress.com/2009/11/06/how-to-ruin-a-reputation-in-4-days-on-youtube/

What are your thoughts, please share.  Have a great day.

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3 Responses to Power of Social Media and Customer Service

  1. As a consultant who works in the medical world, it is my experience that doctors need to stop thinking of ‘patients’ and begin thinking about healthcare consumers. Those consumers have choices and today’s consumer is much more demanding. Keep in mind that ‘customers vote with their feet.’ They will not tell you they are unhappy, they just don’t come back. They also tell their friends and today, those friends may be on Twitter or Facebook, which will only make the message travel all the more quickly.

  2. virk says:

    Thank you Arthur for the comment and I liked to line where you said ‘customers vote with their feet’. So true, I believe business understands it but I am thinking that when it comes to customer services, Pareto’s priciple of 80/20 is put in place; business focuses only on 20%. How true is it, do not know.

  3. CSR says:

    Remember, most help/service desks have a call model that are built to have service metrics built in.

    Which Take care of the standards for good service.

    You can’t make every satisfied all the time, but you can deliver expected services if the call model is consistant and has a measure when an exception occurs.

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