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Use Social Media to Provide Better Customer Support & Increase Brand Visibility

There are few things more annoying than needing customer support and having no way to quickly get it. Alas this is exactly the predicament I found myself in recently when I was placing an order via GrubHub one Friday night. I got my order in with no hiccups – everything seemed to be going as usual – however little did I know that GrubHub crashed as I was placing my Friday night dinner order. Unfortunately the system didn’t notify anyone of the crash, and I only found out 55 minutes later when I arrived at the restaurant and was told that absolutely no order had been received by the restaurant.

Oh boy.

Rather unfortunate – so I went over to GrubHub’s 24/7 support number to see how I can resolve this issue.

Disconnected.

Ok, no worries. They have a live chat option.

Not available.

This was starting to become rather frustrating. I checked to see if my card was charged for the unplaced order – it was. So I called my credit card company to explain the situation and reverse the charge, however I was told that I needed to reach out to the merchant – aka GrubHub – the currently unreachable vendor because the charge was still processing.

By this point I was feeling pretty annoyed and decided to just leave things for a different day – hoping GrubHub would reappear the next morning. I ordered my food in-person at the restaurant and they did their best to put everything together as quickly as possible for me. Shout out to Ginza Sushi in Brooklyn, NY.

Unfortunately – the next morning everything was still the same. The charge for my non-existent GrubHub order was no longer processing. It processed. I paid for an order that never actually happened. The GrubHub contact number and live chat options were still not available – and I was at a loss.

Social Media Customer Support To The Rescue

Then I realized I could do what every other American wants to do when a company mistreats them – go complain publicly on social media. So I went to Twitter and sent out a tweet explaining my frustrations with GrubHub – tagging them in hopes of them seeing my tweet. And then something amazing happened – GrubHub saw the tweet, replied, issued a refund, and a $10 credit. Thanks to a tweet. Thanks to social media!

Customer Support via Social Media

A few weeks later I had an issue with BJ’s – having purchased a business membership in December of 2015 & having never received my welcome email or member number. I had tried calling for a few weeks, however nobody could locate my membership and each call ended in “someone from the sales team will call you back in 48-72 business hours“. Needless to say nobody ever called me back. Once again – I went to Twitter – and once again BJ’s was able to solve everything, within minutes, via Twitter.

The Moral

The moral of both stories is to consider social media as another customer service channel. This applies to both customers and business owners. Customer service is a strong basis of many businesses – and coming from an age where we had to send an email or dial in to a call-center to get something like support – I greatly appreciate the advances that social media has made in the customer service area.

When dealing with social media for a business it’s easy to overlook the concept of relationship building and providing customer support to an already existing customer base. However as more and more new technology gets developed, and more people get attached to their mobile devices, social media is slowly becoming a perfect avenue for customer support.

Imagine the scenario of the average consumer who requires customer support. Place yourself into their shoes.

You can either head over to you’re service providers website, find their Contact page, find the phone number, call it, wait on hold, get transferred, wait on hold again, get transferred again, you’re phone dies, call back, get transferred several more times, and finally reach a resolution [maybe].

OR

You can send a tweet.

Which one seems easier?

There’s more to it though. When it comes to support – people want immediate help. They don’t want to wait 24 hours for their email to be replied to, nor do they really want to go through a 45-minute phone process – and social media lets you offer almost immediate support.

Benefits for Business Owners

From a business stand point, there’s even more benefits. Let’s go back to our imaginary scenario. How many times did we get transferred? 3? 4? That means we’re paying a 4 different people which, in an ideal scenario, could’ve been replaced with a single social media rep, and a single phone call rep. Furthermore our customer support is fully transparent thanks to social media – which means that everyone who isn’t our customer can read it and see what kind of an awesome company we are for helping our customers. Lastly every time someone mentions us on Twitter or Facebook – whether to praise us or to ask us a question – our brand mentions are going up. In-turn our SEO rankings are improving thanks to the all of the social signals being sent out by our own customers.

Now, I get the concern that being so available on social media opens up the door for some public backlash if there’s a truly disgruntled customer – however the many benefits of resolving you’re customers issues via social media should outweigh that vulnerability. Plus there are plenty of ways to handle negative reviews online without simply avoiding an online presence entirely. Furthermore by embracing social media as a communication and customer service tool you’ll be building stronger relationships with your customers, increasing customer satisfaction, and building a stronger brand presence.

About Michael Boguslavskiy

Michael Boguslavskiy is a full-stack developer & online presence consultant based out of New York City. He's been offering freelance marketing & development services for over a decade. He currently manages Rapid Purple - and online webmaster resources center; and Media Explode - a full service marketing agency.

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