Before the ubiquitous and virtually unanimous use of social media, online vendors could be lax with their responses to customers’ complaints, questions, and even to filling their orders and shipping in a timely fashion. The nexus of social media and customer service has changed all that.
Now, social media can blow-up those same complaints and questions and make them go viral. It used to be that one unhappy customer would tell 10 people; now, that same dissatisfied person can tell a million. No company wants its brand damaged by a “squeaky wheel” posting on Twitter, such as, “Hey, <BRAND>, where’s my <PRODUCT>?”—that is, after the customer has chatted or talked to the vendor with no result or their email has gone unanswered. Celebrated case study in point:
In 2009, United Airlines damaged singer Dave Carroll’s guitar and refused to compensate Carroll an estimated $1,200 for repairs because he had failed to make the claim within the company’s “standard 24-hour timeframe” [sic]. Carroll immediately wrote, recorded, and posted to youtube the song “United Breaks Guitars.” Four days—and four million youtube views—later United Airlines’ stock plummeted 10 percent. The singer wrote another song describing his experience with a UA customer service employee, with the same social media effect.
Since the incident, Carroll has been in great demand as a speaker on customer service. In 2012, Carroll published the book United Breaks Guitars: The Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media. In 2013, the success of Carroll’s online protest was used by the German television and news service Tagesschau to exemplify a new kind of threat facing corporations in the internet age.
Needless to say, all businesses, big and small, should take heed. Obviously, the basic challenge for online companies is to put out the fire before it spreads wildly when customers post negative comments on social media. Vendors have to monitor youtube, FaceBook, Twitter, Google+ and the rest, and address these posts immediately and preempt having to launch a damage control campaign—which United Airlines because of its customer disservice to Carroll expended a lot of resources on.
The social media and customer service knife can cut both ways, however.
Social media posts can also benefit a brand if they offer praise for a vendor’s efficient response, low-cost or free expedited shipping, reliability of service or products, etc. In other words, if companies are smart they are listening to what people are saying on social media. This is where there can be synergy between customer service and marketing.
Social media users’ praises can multiply into hundreds or even thousands of users now feeling very positive about a brand overnight—all from one good word posted by a user who has a lot of friends and followers, who all have their own followers, and so on. All of sudden, the brand has gained a bunch of new customers.
Prior to the advent of employing social media to handle customer service, it was a no-brainer for online commerce to capitalize on social media as a premier marketing tool.
Just as the static FAQ feature has gone the way of the fax (once the greatest thing since sliced bread), online customer service has had to quantum-leap away from the inefficiencies of the automated telephone labyrinth, automatically-generated “no reply” emails, and the submission of a contact form. Next to outsourcing labor, the greatest lament of the rise of cyberspace commerce is the disappearance of the human customer service representative. Companies which afford this now luxury to their customers have a leg up on their peers and competitors. Check out Patagonia for a grand exemplar of this once absolutely necessary communication channel.
The perception is almost ironic that customers today reap the benefit of a personal interaction with a vendor if the latter responds via electrons and pixels of social media. Yet this dislocated correspondence is considered to be one of the advantages that businesses gain by such communiqués.
Where the rubber hits the road, also, is that customers want to be responded to in kind when they post to social media. If customers tweet their complaints, for instance, vendors have to serve those customers by tweeting their responses.
Other advantages, when an online business monitors social media 24×7, is the immediate response, for both customer and vendor. Consider that customer service begins the very moment a web surfer comes to rest upon the sands of a site. They might want to buy something the vendor sells, but first they might need to ask a question about it. If the site doesn’t have a way to answer immediately, the prospective customer may know or at least hope the business has a social media command center as alive and present as Gatorade Command Central, for example, and they will immediately post their concern on social media.
People want answers now—not when a chat feature is live again tomorrow. This is especially true when people are on the road, planning to travel, or having technical difficulties—it may be now or never for your business: people will spend their time looking for another brand.
Most especially with social media, companies must be aware of the high visibility of the quintessential digital public space. Past, current, and potential customers; competitors: “everybody” is watching. This is where the edge of the social-media-customer-service blade can cut for the vendor, though, if it handles things excellently. In order to do that, again, continuous monitoring is a sine qua non.
Fortunately for those online brands just getting their feet wet in the social-media-customer-service command center waters, they don’t have to start from the original models of 24×7 Armed Forces readiness, law enforcement 911 centers, or FEMA. They need to look no further, Cayzu Help Desk simplifies the potentially infinite amount of confusion surrounding the marriage of social media and customer service.
I will be the first to admit that I’ve had a long and not so happy experience of dealing with a variety of web hosting companies in my life. And what I’ve learned the hard way is that you pay for what you get and when you try to go cheap, you will have problems!
So during a recent outage of my past web hosting company (this company is huge by the way) I decided to perform what I called: the Social Customer Service Experiment which involved me trying to get support during the outage through a variety of their different support channels. Initial and follow up response times have been documented and put into the below infographic.
The clear winner for me by far, with the fastest and most up to date information was the support I received through Twitter! Hope you enjoy!
Looking for a social media enabled Help Desk Solution? Cayzu can help! Check us out now for a free, no obligation trial!
Cayzu wants to provide you with the absolute best in online help desk software, but we also realize that it can be difficult finding just the right customer service software for your business. Thankfully, we’ve provided you with a few of the most essential components to help you make your decision in finding the best help desk software for your needs.
What’s Your Budget?
The very first thing that you’ll want to do is figure out just how much money you have in your business bank account to devote to help desk software. We’ve found that one of the main reasons many small businesses don’t have good online customer support software is because they don’t believe that they can afford it. One of the great things about cloud computing is that it makes the process easier and more affordable than ever. Just to make sure that we have the perfect option for all of our customers, we have three separate plans for you to choose from with our SOLO plan starting at $0 forever for up to 3 agents.
What Kind of Bells & Whistles Do You Need?
As you’re figuring out how much you can spare for help desk software, it’s also best that you figure out exactly what your specific needs are when it comes to customer service. Besides the areas in which you’re lacking, you should also consider any areas where automations can increase your agent productivity and lower redundancies. Which touch points could use a bit of help to make it easier for your customers to access your business?
Examples of some of the features we offer include:
- Social support for Facebook & Twitter
- Advanced reporting, business rules, and SLA
- Integration with LogMeIn, SurveyMonkey, ZohoCRM & more
- Multiple products and brands
- Mobile Apps
- Unlimited Agents & more
Do You Know What Features You’re Getting?
It’s also a good idea for you to know as much as possible about the features you’ll be getting with your help desk plan. Don’t hesitate to let us know if you ever have any questions about any of our features or about customer support software in general. Just inform us of your personal requirements and we’ll do our absolute best to pair you up with the right plan and see to it that as many of your requirements as possible are met. We know that not everyone will be able to make a final decision based on our responses to their questions, which is why we allow you to test our solution for free.
What Kind of Security Do You Need?
Depending on what industry you’re in, you might have sensitive and confidential addresses, names, account numbers, and passwords that customers have to include with their help requests. Ask about security before you decide on a specific plan so that you can be sure that your customers and their information will be well protected. We ensure that each and every one of our servers is hosted in a world class data center that’s under constant surveillance by Internet specialists.
Other Questions You Should Ask:
- Is the help desk solution cloud based? (Quicker deployment/no back end management)
- Does the help desk solution provide a branded self-service knowledge base?
- What is the total cost of ownership? (Are there any hidden fee’s, modules etc..)
- Does the help desk solution provide you the right reports to run your business?
- Does the help desk solution provide you expandability through integrations and an API?
- Does the help desk solution have strong roots and a good reputation?
For more help on deciding on the perfect help desk software for your business, get in touch with a Cayzu representative today. Together we can give your small business the big business resources it needs to evolve.
Rather than view Twitter as another way to pass the day, here at Cayzu we recommend that you look at it more as a powerful resource to help with your customer service, we call it social customer service. Twitter offers a variety of benefits that you may not be aware of, but your competition might be. So just what are some of the ways that Twitter can help improve your business when paired with our help desk software?
Time is of the essence when it comes to customer service. Not only do customers expect to be able to connect with your business through a variety of channels, they also expect faster response times, and that’s especially true in an emergency situation. Twitter allows you to instantly be aware of when a customer is in need of help. Studies have shown that roughly 40 percent of users on Twitter expect to wait less than an hour when they have a customer service issue.
With Twitter you can give your customers a response in real time. If you like, you can even create a special Twitter handle dedicated solely to customer service. This will allow you to take care of your customers without having to worry about cluttering up your normal Twitter business account.
Truly Useful Tools
When used right, hashtags can become another useful customer support tool. A hashtag that’s specific to your business can be used to follow and track conversations and invite your audience to get in touch with you on Twitter should they ever need help. We recommend that you also search for hashtags that are popular in your specific industry in case there are common issues your customers need help with. Even if you have the best help desk software monitoring your Twitter account, you can still improve your customer service if you have the right information and social media platforms.
Even though a blanket response is a great way of saving time while making sure your information reaches as many people as possible, it’s not a good way to form one-on-one connections with your customers. With Twitter you can have a personal interaction with a single customer. Simply type “@” before listing the customer’s Twitter handle and you’ll be engaging them in a direct conversation. There’s nothing to make a customer feel truly appreciated like connecting to them on a one-on-one basis. You can also send direct messages on Twitter if you’d like for the correspondence to remain private and your Twitter feed to remain uncluttered.
While there are several great things about Twitter, there are also a few downsides to the platform. For one thing, if a customer decides to complain about your level of customer service on Twitter, there’s a very good chance that their complaint could spread like digital wildfire before you’re even aware of it. It’s best that you keep an eye on @mentions every day in case there are some problems that demand your immediate attention. The best time to put out a fire is when it first starts and a help desk solution that automatically monitors Twitter for you is a game changer.
The help desk experts here at Cayzu would be more than happy to keep an eye on your Twitter feed so that you never have to miss another customer complaint. Get in touch with us today for more information or if you’d like to learn more about our help desk software.