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Focusing only on social media customer service is not an option!

Focusing only on social media customer service is not an option!

On a previous blog post about how UK telecommunication brands fail when using Twitter as a customer service tool I mentioned as one of the four ‘insights’ that….

Social media is NOT a replacement for a call centre but one service option amongst many for customers needing assistance”.

It is critical to highlight again that while Social Media Customer Service is vital for your business health it should never be THE strategy but one of the tools in your overall customer relationship management. Digital or not, traditional marketing methods are still able to win customers back.

While people love to complain online because it is an effective way to get attention, other people’s support, as well as a quick way to announce their frustration about a company, it doesn’t mean that they will always do so. I want to tell you a story from my point of view as a consumer. I want to also say that this blog post is dedicated to Ian Armstrong, who is the in charge of Customer Service at Youmesushi in London.
Recently my girlfriend and I decided to order food from Youmesushi! It is a lovely Japanese restaurant and we really enjoy their take away. While most of the time the food is great value for money, last time we called the person who answered the phone happened to be rude to my girlfriend and in fact discouraged us to not place an order as it was close to ten and apparently they do not serve after that time. It was not the fact that we called late, rather his attitude towards us that frustrated us.
Now let’s have a look at my reaction:

•    I didn’t tweet about it
•    I didn’t blog it
•    Update my Facebook status
•    Or talk with anyone about that experience

The only sure thing was: You won’t see my money ever again. See ya! Plenty of take away locals to choose from!

Surprisingly enough after the next few days a customer service manager  called me. Whether he did it because of a routine check or because other people complained that day is unknown to me. But by making the phone call I had the chance to tell him about the rude employee on the other side of the line and my disappointment in them. He offered us a twenty percent discount, apologised and got my full contact details.
I went home and thought to give it one more go (plus I had the voucher so why not) and that night indeed we reordered the food we enjoy eating.

A few days later Ian as mentioned earlier called to find out more details about the situation (we were on the phone for roughly ten minutes), to apologise once again and to give me his direct contact details should we experience similar behaviour in the future.

Now I understand Ian is doing his job and protecting the business. But after five years now in London this is the first time I  have EVER experienced something like this. And this restaurant won two customers back that would have been lost should they not have called us. I also now know the Head of Customer Service personally. And no I do not follow him on Twitter, I did not LIKE his page on Facebook or ever read one of his blogs (in fact I don’t even know if they have one). It was a simple discussion on the phone.

As a social media specialist I owed this blog post to Ian, to increase the value of his work and reputation and to my readers to help them realise that focusing on one customer service channel is not the point. Focusing on the customer is. Whether through Facebook, telephone, door-to-door, etc do whatever it takes to make everything possible for them to know who you are and what you do. I know Ian now without the help of social media. And in case you wonder why social media is an important customer relationship channel – the answer’s in front of you. Well you are reading this blog post now aren’t you? And you know Ian is good at his job too.

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About the Author:

Ioannis has ten years experience working in online marketing and was an early enthusiast and adopter of social media tools. He is currently a Marketing Manager at London Registrars and also works as a consultant for Atladas Media. He has successfully completed SEO, digital marketing projects and training seminars for clients such as Interaction Studios, Executive Language Tutors, Digital Asset Laboratory, Affinity Training, Maroon Accounts and LimeTree Online among others. He has also taught social media to students at Middlesex university and is about to become a guest lecturer at Hertfordshire University.

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