The VPM Blog

The Pitfalls of Social Media Customer Service

Posted by VPM Guest Blogger on Dec 1, 2014 3:03:20 PM

shutterstock_230969722 There is no denying that the Internet Age has brought about new techniques in marketing and customer care, but not all new things are good. Even some great technologies can be used incorrectly, eroding the consumer experience and losing customers for a business. Social media and Internet-based customer care may be good for the majority of clients but great customer service will be outstanding for all clients. We recently looked at companies doing a great job on social media, but let's explore some of the pitfalls of social media customer service in this article.

Age Effects

With respect to customer service, research from The Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services shows that there is a divide in the perceptions of justice during adult developmental stages. At the heart of the matter, people call customer service because they feel that they have been wronged. People considered as young adults, between the ages of 18 and 39, do not place as great an importance as old adults, ages 60 and up. Creating an Internet-based customer service system that does not resonate with the older adult population will only serve to alienate an already disgruntled population. Use a cloud-based customer contact system like Zipwire to integrate social media, live communication, and Internet chat so that every age level feels respected and empowered. At the end of every customer service event, the consumer needs to feel that justice has been served.

Facebook Experts

Social media communities offer marketers the opportunity to harness word-of-mouth advertising multiplied by the power of the Internet. Under the strict control of the marketing department, social media electronic word-of-mouth (eWoM) can be a strong promotional tool. If the company loses control of the conversation, eWoM can clash with customer care efforts. When marketers attempt to embed a company’s message into the social media stream, the marketing message is systematically altered in the process. The altered message can differ from the customer service message. The nature of social media eWoM is that there are voices in the community that are more respected than others. They become de facto experts that can inadvertently hijack the customer service message. Always be certain that the company’s voice is the loudest and most respected to retain your message.

System Rigidity

Customer service cannot be seen as a stand-alone department that handles angry clients. Instead, it is the face of the company, making negative interactions into good ones. The greatest barrier to positive customer care communication is the culture of the company itself. It is nearly impossible for a customer service representative to offer justice inspiring solutions within a corporate culture of injustice and animosity. Social media customer service is supposed to offer the client more options. Yet a rigid business culture simply reflects its rigidity on an Internet-based platform. Before setting up your customer service system, look at your internal workings and make certain that you are mirroring the parts of the company that you want the consumer to see.

Lack of Integration

Executives love to compartmentalize and departmentalize systems. It makes them easier to understand and manage. This concept goes against the fundamental principles of social media customer care and marketing. Internet-based customer care has many moving parts, including customer created content, fixed company generated information, and on-the-spot customer service produced solutions. All of these need to be integrated into one, grand marketing message. If done improperly, your marketing message can devolve into a rambling mix of incoherent communications that only serve to frustrate consumers even more.

If you are concerned about how your organization is using social media and internet based customer care, you should contact us today for a free marketing evaluation.

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