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 GrubHub crashed as I was placing a 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. Rather unfortunate – so I went over to GrubHub’s 24/7 support number and … disconnected. Live chat? Not available. This was starting to become rather frustrating. I called my credit card company and was told that I needed to reach out to the merchant – aka GrubHub – the currently unreachable vendor. 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.
Unfortunately – the next morning everything was still the same. The charge for my non-existent GrubHub order went through on my card. The GrubHub contact number and live chat options were still not available – and I was at a loss. 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!
A few weeks later I had an issue with BJ’s – having purchased a business membership in December of 2015 and 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.
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 have to say I greatly appreciate the advances that social media has made in the customer support fields. See most businesses only view social media as a way to attract new customers – and unfortunately overlook the concept of relationship building and helping their existing customer base. However as more and more new technology gets developed – more and more people are turning to social media for their support needs – and it makes sense.
Consider this. 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.
Doesn’t that seem 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 immediate support.
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. You’ll be building stronger relationships with your customers, increasing customer satisfaction, and building a stronger brand presence.