That may seem like an odd statement coming from a social media firm, but we’re not ones to skirt around the truth. Here’s a great, real-world example to illustrate:
My wife and I have been on a tear with projects around the house recently. Paint, lighting, trim, you name it and we’re redoing it. She purchased two lights online from a vendor we won’t name over a month ago. After a few days, she checked the website to see why we hadn’t received a shipping notification, and found that our order status was “pending.” She called the company and spoke with a rep who then told us that the lights were on backorder, which wasn’t disclosed when we made the purchase. In fact, we had received an email from the vendor the day we put the order in that said they had the lights in stock. We weren’t in a hurry, so at this point, things were OK. We weren’t thrilled about the lack of communication, but we would get over it.
About a week later, one of the two lights arrived. We figured the other might be a day or two behind and thought nothing of it. After waiting a few more days, my wife called and was told that the item as on backorder…again. My wife asked if they would be willing to expedite the shipping once the item was back in stock since we had waited so long. The rep said that there was nothing she could do, blamed the manufacturer, and hung up. At this point, my wife took to social media…
The resulting public interaction between consumer and brand was 100% avoidable. In fact, if customer service was truly a priority for the vendor, social media monitoring wouldn’t have even been necessary to deal with the complaint. Instead, due to a lackluster customer service culture, they ended up using social media to publicly address complaints and feedback that probably could’ve been handled privately by an empowered employee.
This is exactly why companies that truly care about customer service stick out so much - think Amazon, Apple, and American Express. They’re the exception, not the norm.
Do they get complaints that come in via social media? Absolutely. Those situations are unavoidable. And, in those instances, social media channels are a powerful tool to help resolve and/or steer the conversation towards a more appropriate venue. However, those situations are few and far between for them because they handle so much more behind the scenes, through empowered employees that put their customers first.