Emerging Media and the Realm of Customer Service
Customer service is often an overlooked, but important element of marketing. According to Forbes, successful companies like Zappos love talking to customers and even classify customer service as an important marketing investment. Having a great and helpful customer service force can make or break relationships with customers, and great marketing is all about building and maintaining strong relationships with customers. However, it is important to realize that emerging media is changing the way customer service can operate.
Not too long ago, before the explosion of social media and other digital media, customer service relied heavily on telephone calls and customer service representatives. This could be frustrating for customers, because customers could be placed on hold for long periods. Also, more customers are beginning to prefer other means of communication over the telephone.
That means we’re seeing the rise of using social media, email, video chat, texting, and instant messenger as avenues for customer service. What an interesting time we are in that businesses can Tweet or instant message their way to better customer service! Over a decade ago, there was limited web chat, but now, according to Raconteur, over one third of customer service center activity is over emerging media.
So, what does this mean for businesses?
Businesses need to become smart on these emerging media platforms. They have to understand how to interact with customers. Each platform has a different way to have a conversation with customers. For example, with Twitter, users are limited to 140 characters and use a lot of “hashtags.” For Facebook, you can have private conversations with individuals in Facebook’s messenger app, or you can reply to public comments that are posted on the business’s wall. Also, many businesses are utilizing instant messenger tools that are built into their own websites.
Furthermore, customer service centers need to be smart in many of these emerging media platforms—not just one. Customers expect businesses to provide a multi-channel customer service experience. Customers want the ability to choose what media to use. Whatever method makes them feel comfortable and eases their troubles will enhance their experience. In fact, according to research by Avaya and British Telecommunications (http://www.avaya.com/uk/documents/autonomouscustomer2015-uk_essential.pdf), 88 percent of customers would be more loyal to businesses that are easy to deal with.
How do you know which communication channels to use? See the below chart for which generations prefer which channels of communication:
Finally, it is interesting to note that with emerging media, customer service no longer has to rely on traditional customer service representatives. Some companies, like Under Armor, have even recruited their most loyal customers and are paying them for answering live chat questions from other customers. Wait, what?! Customers are providing other customers with customer service?! This means emerging media is blurring the lines between customers and businesses.
Have you noticed any other emerging media trends that are affecting the customer service realm? Please share.