Social customer care: When Twitter and Facebook become traditional

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I was having an interesting chat the other morning with Hans Grefte, Product Director at iCasework, a company that provides case management solutions to mainly public sector companies. Hans was kindly showing me how they had extended their case management offering into the social sphere through the use of Twitter and #hashtags. During the latter […]

I was having an interesting chat the other morning with Hans Grefte, Product Director at iCasework, a company that provides case management solutions to mainly public sector companies. Hans was kindly showing me how they had extended their case management offering into the social sphere through the use of Twitter and #hashtags.

During the latter part of the discussion, we began talking about the impact social media was having on case management and customer service. The way people complain and provide feedback is changing, the time between the cause of the complaint and making the complaint itself has condensed to seconds, and the fact that complaining or providing feedback is very much a shared experience now. Such changes are providing new opportunities and challenges to companies.

This conversation got me thinking about how we think about the future and the changes that may result. From a customer service perspective, we think about that future in terms of what a contact centre might look like, what skillset will agents require, or what role will apps play. Our tendency in many respects is to take what we know today and simply fast forward that five, ten or twenty years.

But what if we approached this in a slightly different way and asked, what will customer service look like when:

  • Twitter, Facebook and Google Hangouts are the traditional channels of customer service?
  • badges, QR Codes, Klout or PeerIndex-type scores, #hashtags, apps and Augmented Reality are the traditional mechanics of customer service?
  • Google search is your help homepage?

For those companies which operate within a regulated environment what will:

  • complaint management look like when Groubal, Trip Advisor, YouTube or Google Maps are the traditional places customers go to complain?
  • customer service look like when online communities are the traditional places customers go to for medical or financial advice?

What are the implications on organisations of these questions? What might your customer service (if it’s still called that) look like in a world that has moved on from email, IVR, the phone, live chat and web sites as we know it?

The question isn’t necessarily about whether these specific technologies will exist, but rather what will customer service look like when these types of communication and mechanics have become the norm? It seems to me that this question has far greater implications than whether three Tweets equates to a phone call.

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