Social Media and Customer Service

To maintain competitive edge, companies need to have a strategy on how do they engage in conversations customers are having about them on social media. I was so impressed when I heard the story of a Southwest Airlines customer who tweeted about a poor experience he had with the airlines. While he was still on the plane, they responded with a positive solution. This left the client happy to continue flying the Airlines. More importantly, they ended up with an amazing positive PR opportunity. News travelled fast, and the story has been quoted and re-quoted over time. I’m sure there is more than one person who selected Southwest over other airlines knowing that if they had any issues, the airline is likely to provide amazing service.

Recently, I tested another company’s responsiveness with social media.  I posted a comment on Sears’ Facebook page, explaining I was having an issue with my washing machine, exactly same issue large numbers of people on the internet were also having. Although Sears was did have a customer service person promise to look into it, no response after days. So I posted another sentence asking for a response to my earlier post. Again a promise to look into it and then nothing. Sorry Sears, you are missing the boat. An answer that doesn’t make me happy would be better than no answer. Not responding to postings on Company Facebook pages, Twitter etc., is the same as giving an 800# to customers and not answering the phone.

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~ by Shannon Group on March 6, 2011.

3 Responses to “Social Media and Customer Service”

  1. Dear Shannon Group,

    My name is Scott and I’m reaching out to you on behalf of the Sears Social Media Support Team. I’m terribly sorry for the trouble you’ve endured with your washer, and also for the disappointment you’ve experienced in trying to get this issue resolved via social media and our support sources. Our social media team does respond to comments made on not only our own pages, but comments others make on their own social media outlets. We’d like to look into this for you. At your convenience please contact my office via email at smsupport@searshc.com so that we can assist with resolving this issue. Please provide us a contact number and the phone number the washer was purchased under and we will call you at your convenience. In addition, include your screen name (Shannon Group) in the email so we can reference to your case.

    Thank you,

    Scott J.
    Social Media Support Team

  2. wow Scott! great use of Google alerts! it is indeed a lot to monitor but the writer of this blog should be acutely aware of the difficulty social media presents for such monitoring

    a blog is by far the simplest to monitor and considering this blog has a very small readership compared to Sears’ Facebook page (facebook is notorious for being spammed and all complaints posted on walls may not be legitimate), i think its author could have been more gracious in her criticism here and take this opportunity to discuss how to monitor such channels

    there are tools (I am certain Sears uses them) that monitor the general vibe and to think that Sears, or any other large group, will catch every tweet and post is somewhat naive

    so apart from Sears’ fail, how could someone else learn from this?

    and a response here to Scott’s post here would be appropriate to show your speed of monitoring (i actually saw this yesterday from one of my Google Alerts!) =)

    namaste and in this day of wanting immediate responses, we are still all people and Sears may not have as many people in place as one thinks (isn’t that the case with all large profit driven companies) =)

    lol, okay so this is really my last critique . . . =D

    • Thank you again for your feedback. I agree, responsiveness is really an important component of social media. In this case, I honestly intentially didn’t reply to Scott from Sears on this blog. Instead, I wanted to take his instructions, reach out to him in the manner he specified and see what happened. I also didn’t respond to you until I had more information as well. Fortunately, their response was good. I had a phone call within a week (faster than before!). When I did connect with the Sears’ Social Media response representative, she was amazing. Thorough, helpful, professional, responsive. Supposedly I should expect a technician on Friday who should solve all my washer problems. If that is the case, I will consider the situation adequately resolved and I’ll be willing to give Sears another chance on another appliance another time!

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