So I tweet “Tata Photon Plus’s customer service sucks big time”. To my surprise Tata Photon Plus on twitter responds asking me if they can be of any help.
I describe my issue to which they have a common reply.
And this has been their standard response I can see on twitter.com/tataphotonplus .
My initial thoughts were,
- Why would a brand use a Gmail id for customer care?
- If they have to direct people to an email id, why be on twitter anyway?
Me being me, I asked them to solve my issue on twitter and their answer was that they have a protocol to follow.
Nevertheless I emailed them, after all they at least made the initial effort to be on twitter, only to know that I can feel free to call their customer care number to solve my issue.
However this is not a post where I am being just another disgruntled customer. The point I am trying to make here is, why do brands need to follow a protocol for customer service/support/care on social media.
How different is a call centre customer care to a twitter customer care. In fact twitter is public and one wrong step could fire back. I don’t see any protocol followed when I call the call centre. The customer care executive solves my issue over the call. Why give the step motherly treatment to twitter/social media.
If your offline customer care is well routed and is many a times internally managed, if not it is at least well integrated with your systems and business verticals, why not replicate that to social media.
So let’s jot down some bullet points that go in favour of integrating your social media customer service into your other processes-
- Quick response time is always appreciated. This is only possible if it is not an agency managing your twitter account.
- Internal resource will be at a better position to handle the query than your outsourced team
- If the outsourced team again directs the troubled user to the offline customer care channels, you are only ending up increasing the time of response and adding one more unnecessary step towards solving a users problem
- You can cut cost by directing users that have similar problems to say a trouble shooting blog post that you have written.
- You can also cut cost by encouraging brand evangelism. Many a times in a very active community I have seen loyal users assist other users, solve their queries, fire fight even before the brand reaches to that conversation.
- You can further cut cost by managing more queries in the same stipulated time than that of the agency.
- If it’s a product issue you can internally share the feedback with the product development team, if it’s an idea it can be forwarded internally to the R&D team. All of this information just gets lost somewhere between your communications with the agency.
Sadly, the harsh reality is that marketers still think that the primary benefit or reason for them to be on active on social media platforms as a brand is to either acquire customers or increase current consumption.
Convinced that it should be managed internally? Can you think of any other reasons why Social media should be integrated in your business functions? Please feel to disagree and have a healthy debate by commenting on this post.