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Are Organizations Ready For Social Media Customer Service?

It was bound to happen.  Companies are taking the two-way communication model of social media and bringing it to the next level.

Specifically, they’re beginning to use them as extensions of their customer service departments.

According to BrandweekTwitter is a particularly popular tool for this.   The ease of adding followers and sending Tweets make it an ideal tool for both monitoring customer complaints and resolving them.

So stakeholders now expect more than continuous updates from you-they also expect a speedy response when they have a major beef with you as well.

That could mean an extra headache for companies that are already scrambling to manage their social network presence online-and for their agencies as well.

The only solution may be to appoint a full-time social media customer service representative-to both monitor what’s being said online and to respond to it.

But this solution presents a whole new set of problems.  Do customer service representatives know how to effectively respond to online complaints?   Should social media monitoring fall under the customer service or public relations umbrella?  And if it’s both, how can both departments be structured to maintain effective communication?

While no company has a formal customer service member on Twitter yet-probably because they’re also trying to figure out how to manage such an endeavour-it’s only a matter of time before someone sets a precedent.

It’s some social media growing pains that are going to have to be sorted out soon.

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Christie Adams

Hi JC, n nSounds similar to what Brandweek said Comcast is doing in the States. So what we have are situations where the communications team is Twittering on behalf of the company, and begins to perform customer service duties when complaints reach their ears. n nAt some point, I think companies are going to have to formalize this approach-and decide whether it will be the responsibility of the customer service or communications department to monitor and respond to customer complaints that come via social media.

John Carson

Good point, but, if done correctly, the customer service department will become the communications department if the end user comes away with a positive experience. n nThe future of PR — hmmm, not so sure! n nJC.

John Carson

Hi Christie,

“While no company has a formal customer service member on Twitter …”

http://twitter.com/richardatdell could be close. He’s very active in the space. (Richard Binhammer.)

Cheers,
JC.

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