Personal Connection #1: Customer Service Takes the Back Seat to Social Media

This is what we, as consumers, dream of customer service looking like.

Customer Service At MOD Restoration

The gentleman, clearly being the customer, looks very pleased and satisfied. Also, the woman looks the same, as if she is eager and happy to help him in any way she can in order for him to leave with a positive attitude towards the company. Unfortunately, this is what most customer service looks like in the technologically-savvy world we now live in.

Yes, this is every customer’s nightmare that seems to repeat itself over and over. You’ve hit a wall with all of the voice-recordings and never-ending options list and are ready to throw your phone out of the window. But why? Why does it seem to always come to this?

This is one area where social media has come to hurt us as consumers. Companies are leaving all and any communication that you or they have for one another to go through one of the numerous medium outlets, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, or even Instagram. That is, however, the alternative to doing what this guy’s doing above (wishing his telephone never existed and regretting ever getting involved with that company).

The issue with customer service is such an unnoticed issue, because companies seem to be all for the customer and pleasing them. How many commercials have we watched of Flo, the Progressive insurance lady, winning us over with her weird, yet quirky personality and drive to pleasing her clients? Flip that thought and think of how many times, (if you have Progressive insurance), you have tried to seek out information about your plan or an error on your statement, that is typically electronically sent to you now, but you’ve only ended up wasting hours out of your day with more questions than you started out with? This isn’t a bash to Progressive insurance, just an example of how companies have let their most important asset- we, the consumers- slip right out of their hands.

Brian Solis published a brief chapter from his new book, “What’s the Future of Business”, on his website. According to Solis’ expert opinion, being that he is a guy of many trades: digital analyst, sociologist and futurist, if you ask any executive what their priority business goals are for 2013, you’ll hear something that has to do with customer-centricity (Solis). If that’s the case, then why is it usually the number one thing people as consumers have against a particular company? I’m just as stumped as you all are reading this, why here’s my take on it.

I feel that companies and everyone involved in them, whether it be the highly respected executives or the bottom-of-the-totem-pole, minimum wage workers, are too focused on producing efficient and “ground-breaking” work that their initial reasoning becomes a speck of dirt lying on the ground. There are so many things that people within a company or business have to think and worry about, that sometimes their most valuable asset- we, the consumers.. stay with me- become second priority be default. This is where public relations professionals should be coming in! As it says in our text, they are the ones in charge of mandating communication between the company and their audience. I also think we play a small part in that.

We’re all so concerned with getting the latest and smartest piece of technology that we turn ourselves into savages. Can you say, Black Friday? Anyone? We ignore the service we could do for each other, like reading the online reviews- yes, that’s a media outlet, but it provides us with important information on the company AND product. I’m sure if we did that a bit more, as opposed to buying it because it’s the newest and coolest product, we wouldn’t be in that guy’s position; wishing that we had never developed a relationship with that company!

Credits

If you would like to hear more of what Brian Solis has to say, please visit his website and look for his article titled, “The First Mile: The Broken Link of Social Media Customer Service”.

The first image displayed is credited to Hanny Lerner’s article titled, “Customer Service, Customer Service, Customer Service”, on Forbes’ website.

The second image displayed is credited to Gianluigi Cuccureddu’s article titled, “Social Media for Customer Service Only Used Because Other Channels Suck”, on Damarque.com.

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7 thoughts on “Personal Connection #1: Customer Service Takes the Back Seat to Social Media

  1. Kimberlee, great job on this connection. Your writing, the style of the post, and the content choices are all very nice. Think about a way to distinguish your credits at the bottom. Maybe put all the credits in italics, or have a header that says, “credits.” You also might think about linking the images back to their original home online. Nice work.

  2. COMMENT #2

    This is absolutely true!! I, myself worked for a cell phone company and the only reason why it did not take us hours to get through to customer service was because we knew a “code” to dial right before the “typical recording” started giving the menu options. I agree with the comment that you made about how companies are all about being customer driven and giving top priority to consumers and so on, but what happens when we try to get answers about our services or products? Another interesting thought to this is that, with technology and the global communications customer service makes it even harder for consumers, because it does not only takes hours for you to get in touch with a live representative but when you finally do many times is with somebody way out in another country, and sometimes it’s a bit hard to understand. The power could very well be in our hands, but instead we just keep on buying and they just keep on selling. I am intrigued as to how worse or better this could get in the future. Hopefully it would get better. Great job!

  3. Kimberlee, I really enjoyed reading this post. You gave great examples to illustrate your point–especially the one of Flo/Progressive Insurance. Though organizations tend to put on a facade of customer care and concern, the reality is often the opposite. I often wonder about this exact topic as society today is so incredibly reliant on technology and social media that it tends to take for granted the advantages of person-to-person interaction. Since organizations have transitioned to using social media platforms to open the lines of communication between their customers, I suppose only time will tell whether such methods are effective or inhibiting to customer satisfaction.

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  5. I fully heartedly agree that we the consumers can become second priority to the company. Sometimes companies are so focused on getting to where they need to go or creating their brand that they do not take time to really hear what the consumer is saying. I liked how you mentioned flo because really who is not sick of her? She is basically on every channel of the TV. I do not have progressive but it is interesting to hear that it is hard to get answers. We are living in a world of technology and sometimes that really helps and sometimes that really hurts, especially for the consumer.

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  7. I have never thought about it in this way until i read this article. It is kind of scary how much things are changing and how fast. Just in our short lifetime there has been such a major change in the way things operate

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