Reinventing Customer Service with Social Media
    Category: Column By : Arvid Yap Read : 1074 Date : Wednesday, December 03, 2014 - 22:42:43


    Today consumers turn to social media first to ask questions or complain about their experience with your brand. Historically brands have been reluctant to engage via social media because of the time involved and implied need to make a quick response to their comments. In particular, they see negative comments as a problem and a loss of control; more risk than reward. However, given that this conversation about your brand is going to happen anyway, with or without your involvement, your only option is to join the conversation and participate.

    1) You wouldn’t ignore a customer in your store, right?

    Customer service is about listening, engaging and responding to your consumers, answering their questions, solving their problems, turning an unhappy consumer into one that will recommend you to his friends. Today consumers are expecting this interaction to happen in the space they find convenient, social media. The best brands embrace social media and see it as an opportunity to create a positive customer service experience, especially when handling negative comments.

    2) Efficiency

    U.S. airliner Jet Blue claims that it can handle up to five issues via social media in the same time it takes them to deal with one on the phone. Another example is software firm InfusionSoft, that has one service agent per 55 customers, resulting in a 77% customer satisfaction rating. When it converted to a social customer service solution, the ratio changed to one agent per 172 customers with an 87% satisfaction rating. Thus, the firm saved both money and improved customer satisfaction.

    3) Turning conversations into opportunity?

    A negative comment is an opportunity in disguise, to show your brand’s ability to listen to customers and satisfy their needs.  You need to envisage the bigger picture. Going above and beyond for one customer can touch far more potential customers and improve your brand’s perception. Use the situation to show off your customer-oriented approach, allowing you to acknowledge the customer and find a solution.


    Let’s look at a recent personal experience I had with Bank Central Asia (BCA). I was researching several banks to open an account and narrowed my choice to BCA and one competitor. I asked an identical question of both BCA and the competitor on Twitter. After about two minutes, both banks had responded but BCA answered my question in its entirety. Its competitor said they would direct message me the answer (which never came). Guess where I opened my bank account? BCA made social customer service a priority and took my query seriously, which made the difference. In addition, BCA can now track conversations so it will have an engagement history with me, meaning it will know how to best respond to any of my future enquiries.


    As a brand, you can’t afford to ignore social media. It is an extension of your customer service and therefore resources need to be allocated to manage these channels.  Social media is another customer touch point that helps people make purchasing decisions about your products and services, so why wouldn’t you use it? 

    In the end, and this is the critical question, how will your brand use social media to improve customer service?