Can Social Media Save Customer Service?

What is the ‘Art of Customer Service’ and can Social Media save it?

Rather than a Wikipedia definition, I developed my own while studying Customer Service at Royal Roads University:

“The brand-client-server interactions that leave you feeling good or bad, before, during and after a commercial transaction.” – Mark McLaughlin

Customer service is an art that can be trained. It is about bringing customers back. A big challenge today is that staff is trained to work the sales product but not trained in Customer Service. Consider that no University or Business School has an academic department for Customer Service! Can Social Media step in to improve the situation? I think the answer is Yes!

Benefits of Social for Customer Service

Using your social profiles to offer customer assistance lets you connect in a way not really possible before. Social can help address customer problems quickly and economically. It can boost customer satisfaction, build brand loyalty, and provide positive marketing for your business.

Considerations around Customer Service

  1. ROI (Return on Investment) – it costs 5 times as much to REPLACE a dissatisfied customer as to retain a customer.
  2. Negative word of mouth travels much faster (and farther) than positive word of mouth – especially in social media.
  3. More customers complain in social media than traditional outlets.
  4. Customers are increasingly likely to ask for help via social networks than to call your help desk. (source)

Implementing Social Listening

Tools like HootSuite, Google alerts, and Twitter searches allow you to create a Social Media listening strategy to monitor mentions about your company, your competitors, and your industry. For example, the Dell Social Media Listening Center monitors more than 25,000 online mentions of the Dell brand daily.

While the temptation is to constantly be trying to increase your Social Media reach, spend at least as much time listening, engaging and building connections with your existing fan base. Cultivate the gold there!

If you want to be proactive regarding what your customers think of you, ask them using an online poll or point of sale survey card.

Availability & Response Times

Larger organizations have teams to respond around the clock, and strive for as quick as 5-10 minutes response times. Smaller organizations often can’t match that, and might have a goal of a same day response or within a few hours.

You may not be able to solve the issue immediately, but you can recognize the issue and outline steps you’ll take to address it. One strategy for setting expectations is to list your hours of operation for Social on your Facebook and Twitter profiles.

Have a Company Strategy and Prepare for Disasters

It’s important to have a widely understood internal company policy for Social  and a designated response workflow that can pay big benefits at a time of crisis. Remember keeping a customer delivers much more value at less cost than winning a new one. Great Customer Service can help you do that!

Customer Service Builds Rapport

“25% of #Custserv is rapport” –   Some say it’s even more!

A good example of Customer Service is WestJet, where every position is viewed through the #custserv lens. Staff are empowered with information to solve customer issues across various channels. Here’s a quote you’d love to have for your business:

“I’ve had companies like WestJet solve problems thru SoMe while I was in line and problem ongoing! Amazing!” – Scott McDonald

Some companies develop and share videos of themselves answering questions on YouTube and replying to customer’s tweets with a link to those videos. Including a video response can raise retweet frequency many times over.

What is your company doing with Social for Customer Service? Have you any other examples you can share with us?


Mark McLaughlin

Victoria Businessman Owner Best Color Video Services Mark lives with his family in Victoria BC. where he is a presenter and a service provider in the Social Media space through his company Best Color Video. Using video production, website design, and Social Media campaigns, Mark creates content and guides brand engagement for a wide range of clients. Passionate about Social Media, Mark was thrilled to be a presenter at Social Media Camp 2012, speaking on the HootSuite Social Media Dashboard.

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