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How Social Media is Changing the Call Center Concept

In today’s fast-paced world, a phone call can seem frustratingly slow. We’re texting, emailing, and connecting on social media more and more, making the traditional phone call feel outdated. Though it’s easy to see this play out in our personal and work experiences, it’s also become more common in the customer service industry. Social media has become a new go-to for customers who need support or wish to air their grievances. So how does this affect the long-standing call center concept? See how the customer service world is adapting to these technological changes.

Multiple Contact Points

Until fairly recently, customers had three options for getting in touch with a company: mail, phone calls, and email. When social media became more widely used, however, the industry exploded with potential contact points between customers and companies. While Twitter and Facebook continue to be two of the biggest online players, those sites are only the beginning when it comes to using these services for customer service purposes. Now, there’s also Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Yelp, and Pinterest, to name a few.

The Good and The Bad

For customer service companies, the high number of social media sites certainly presents a challenge. It takes a considerable amount of time to manage accounts on all these venues. In addition, there’s the issue of tone getting lost in the online environment, allowing both customers and companies to potentially come across as more aggressive than originally intended.

However, social media customer service isn’t all bad. It can reduce the time required to deal with certain issues, especially quick questions that can be answered in just a line or two. Being available to help customers in a convenient online venue can improve company image and increase visibility. When done right, it can increase customer satisfaction and lead to increased profits.

Learning From Others

There are plenty of lessons to be learned when it comes to interacting with customers online. Learning from the mistakes and successes of other companies is one of the best ways to decide how your business can incorporate this modern approach to customer service. Here are just two helpful examples:

  • United Airlines broke a customer’s guitar and failed to take responsibility. The customer posted a song called “United Breaks Guitars” to YouTube – it immediately became a viral hit and has garnered over 14 million views.
  • Nike has a dedicated Twitter handle (@NikeSupport) that responds instantly to customers’ questions and complaints. The account can respond in seven languages and has over 408,000 tweets and nearly 160,000 followers.
  • When Smucker’s took a stand against labeling GMOs in food products, a number of complaints were posted to their Facebook page. When they deleted the comments without responding, it only made matters worse by bringing negative attention to their brand.

The Future of Social Media Customer Service

According to one survey, social media is expected to be one of the largest areas of growth for customer service in the coming years. However, only 33 percent of contact centers support social media as a channel for customer interaction.

Companies who want to thrive in an ever-changing technological environment need to embrace this medium. While many have already done so for marketing purposes, creating convenient methods of communication with customers over social media helps companies become more efficient and effective while also cultivating a modern image.

Learning the ins and outs is only the beginning. Companies must make sure their customer service teams also use the right tone and approach when responding to comments, questions, and complaints. When it’s utilized correctly, this medium can most definitely work in the favor of any business.

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