As social media customer service continues to evolve, the debate over whether or not customer service belongs on social media in the first place goes on. Some people say social media is just making bad customer service worse. Other people (65% according to recent surveys) say customer service via social media is much better than having to deal with a call center.
I think one reason there are so many contradictory opinions about it is because as of now, there is no standard for social media customer service. What I mean by that is social media customer service is still in its infancy. There are no standards yet, and everyone has a different opinion about what is acceptable and what isn’t. Throw into the mix that some brands are more adept at social media than others, and you get completely different customer service experiences across the board.
I saw a very insightful chart called Social Media Customer Care Maturity Model today, and if you are interested in this topic, I recommend clicking over on that link. It explains how brands have to evolve in social media before they can provide good social media customer service.
They break the ‘brand social media evolution’ down into 5 levels. The first is listening (or ignoring), the second is social media broadcasting, the third is social media marketing (which is in my opinion when a brand first starts being effective in social media), the fourth is social media customer care and the fifth is proactive engagement. Brands who are at that fifth level truly understand how to work social media to enhance the relationships they have with their customers and potential customers. However, few brands are at that level right now.
This infographic below called Modern Hospitality: Social Media With A Smile (by Best Hospitality Degrees) looks into the future of social media customer service, and how it might evolve over the next year or so. This reminds me of the new online payment system McDonald’s is testing. It allows people to place their order and pay online [source: Today Money]. It will be interesting to see how their support for that app will spill over into social media.
Social media customer service still has a long way to go, but I agree that it’s better than contacting a call center. The question is, will it continue to evolve or will the brands who don’t know what’s up give it a bad name? I suppose only time will tell.
Where Social Media Customer Service Could Be By 2015
(Click Infographic To Enlarge)