When it comes to customer service, social media is a powerful tool, but that doesn’t mean that companies have mastered it yet. Twitter user Ali Cornford has had little luck contacting companies about problems through the platform. She says that companies respond to her tweets with generic apologies or requests to direct message her – which they don’t respond to either. When she takes her issue offline, she usually gets no response at all.
TD Bank is one example of good social media engagement. In 2014, the bank surprised customers with Automated Thanking Machines and a #ThenAndNow photo exhibition. On the other hand, other companies have failed to live up to customer expectations and behaviors. Increasingly, people expect businesses to respond to inquiries immediately and efficiently. With this trend, social media has become an integral part of customer service.
American Express’s Twitter account also falls into this category, but the company has two accounts on the platform. The main Twitter account focuses on connecting users with the brand’s other social media account, @AskAmex. The main Twitter account can’t help customers in the moment, whereas the company’s other account, @AskAmex, has dedicated staff devoted to customer support. However, the company’s two social media accounts should both offer equal levels of service. Otherwise, customers will be forced to contact two accounts rather than one. That’s inconvenient and wastes their time.
The best way to deal with a customer complaint online is to remain positive. Avoid defensiveness or hiding the problem – this could backfire if you’re not careful. Moreover, transparency is key in customer service. If a customer feels that the company is trying to manipulate them, they are more likely to complain about you on social media than write a positive review. The last thing you want is a bad experience – they will use social media to spread it to all of their contacts.