Wherever I turn these days, I hear and read mentions of social customer service – the provision of customer service by social media channels – and how it’s great and will transform the delivery of customer service in organisations.
But, is there a bigger thing at play here? Is it that we, in business, are all ‘magpies’ by nature and only interested in the next, new and shiny thing?
I think so.
So, let’s call it how it is……social customer service is just not that important for most UK firms’ customer service (right now).
Why do I say that? Well, my own experience with clients, my own experience as a customer and a recent survey by Portal suggests that:
“social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook are in fact the least favoured method of communicating with a business regarding customer service for a third (31 per cent) of Brits. Just two per cent claimed that the new median is their preferred method, while email and telephone enquiries were far more popular, with 52 and 19 per cent of respondents respectively stating that they are their favoured channels.”
Now, whilst getting to grips with and integrating social customer service into business operations may be interesting for many and a challenge for some businesses it is only a last resort for many customers.
The survey goes onto say that, in fact, email, phone and face to face are still the preferred methods for many businesses too.
So, extrapolating from the survey, we can imply that if social media is the last resort for customers then it may already be too late and businesses have already failed many of their customers already as they have not been able to get a hold of them using other means.
Email, phone and face to face channels may not be sexy and fashionable right now but customers still prefer them. It may feel mundane and hard work to research, analyse, unpick and improve your service by these more traditional channels. But, that’s the ‘grind’, the investment that needs to be made, if delivering great service is your aim and you want to keep your customers coming back for more and more.
Sure, pay attention and integrate social customer service into your mix. But, prioritise traditional channels before that as that’s where your customers are. In doing so, you might just deal with many of the complaints and reputation management issues that you’re facing on the social side too.