Social Media and Customer Service Today
There are two types of customer service: internal customer service and external customer service. Internal customer service represents the relationship between an employee and his or her co-workers. For a business to be profitable and reputable, it has to have great relationship with its customer base, but it also has to have a healthy work environment. To achieve that, employees need to be professional and friendly with each other. Gossiping, backstabbing, and being rude with each other will affect the company in a negative way and will promote an unhealthy corporate culture where people will not like going in to work and will not be as productive as they should be. This also increases tardiness and absenteeism. And most importantly: the customers can tell if there is a problem between employees. Therefore, these negative actions are prohibited.
The path to having great internal customer service is theoretically pretty easy, but mistakes and misunderstandings do happen. So it is important to talk clearly and in a friendly manner to each other. Explain everything in detail and use a friendly tone. It is better to speak face to face, in video chat, or over the phone, instead of via e-mail, because e-mails tend to be pretty bland and too formal. Another important thing is to never assume something about someone: when in doubt, ask. And don’t ask someone else just because it’s more comfortable than facing the person in question, instead just address that person directly and smooth things out. More often than not people tend to overthink things and get to the wrong conclusions. I don’t work at the moment, but back then these are the methods I used to apply at work. I was lucky enough to have great co-workers and a very good work environment. My colleagues were my friends and I used to love going to work.
External customer service is the relationship a company’s employee has with a customer. Whenever a customer gets in touch with a company’s employee, whether that be in order to get some help or information about a product or service provided by the company – or in order to purchase a product or service, the interaction from the employee’s side is called external customer service.
Due to the very high competition nearly every field faces in the United States, customer service has to be of top notch quality. If a customer experiences poor customer service (even though the product or service might be of good quality), they will most likely not purchase from that company again, giving the competition their business; and also they might spread the news to their friends and family, or publicly on social media.
I feel like small companies provide a slightly better customer service, and let me tell you why. Large corporations have separate departments just for customer service, employing hundreds of people in call centers who are dedicated and trained to provide the best service. However, the queue to get in touch with those people is too often very long on the phone, and it can take several days to get a reply to an e-mail. On top of that, the conversation with those people is usually rushed and not too friendly or personal. It’s almost like talking to a robot. However, small companies usually have smaller traffic when it comes to customers with issues, so they have more time to dedicate to solve a problem or to provide information, even if there is only one person with customer service task.
I personally love nail polish and painting my nails, it’s one of my dearest hobbies, and for that I often purchase from independent (or indie) small nail polish companies. These nail polishes are unique, interesting, and are of very good quality. They are so much better than drug store or salon brands. These companies are run by a handful of people, and their social media follower base is like a family. It is very easy to reach them in case there is a problem with something or if I need information about something, they reply very fast and are extremely friendly! I feel like every interaction is personal and that they do take it to heart to solve my issue fast so that I am a happy customer. Another example is actually from today, one of these indie brands that I follow on Instagram asked us followers how can they make their customer service better in terms of providing news and information about the collections in a better way. It just makes the whole experience a nice one when a customer feels included and feels like his or her opinion matters.
And this brings us to the last topic, social media. Well, the example above is a perfect illustration as to how social media changed customer service. With the appearance of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and other platforms, customers can now interact directly with a company or a brand, making these relationships closer and friendlier. A customer feels more special if a brand replies to their comment publicly, even if it comes from a marketing specialist. Also the companies have a better way to connect with customers and get to know their wants and needs more easily, and can alter their products and services accordingly.
Similarly, with the appearance of the internet, it is easier for a customer to complain about a company. A negative post, tweet, or review can go viral in moments and can ruin a business, or at least make great damage to it if not handled well. That is another reason why customer service has to be of really good quality and employees need to be trained to be professional, calm, friendly, and great problem solvers at all times. Organizations that are struggling with online customer service, whether because they don’t have the knowledge or the time to take care of that, should invest in hiring a social media specialist or marketing company to help out, because it is a very important factor nowadays to have a social media presence and good online reputation. Why? For instance, if I’m looking for a new restaurant to eat at on Google Maps, and I see a place with no reviews or no website, I will not go there, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.