Here’s a Forbes article with a familiar story with an important customer service lesson: customer service personnel need sensitivity training in social media and policies they can use to fix real customer problems.  In this story, the customer was unhappy with a product and unsuccessful with customer service to get the problem resolved, used social media, got management attention and  satisfactory resolution.

The newsworthy part of this article is that the Customer Service representative and the Customer Service manager were warned that the customer had a million followers on Twitter and was going to use that media to complain. Their attitude from both was indifference. Perhaps the customer service personnel  should have bid for some time and escalated within the organization. Or perhaps the customer service organization had no place to escalate the customer’s problem.

Customer Service personnel need to be trained to be aware of Social Media and its impact. Indifference is the worst response by a customer service department. But customer service personnel can only be effective if their management provides escalation processes for them to follow that will resolve customer issues.

In this case, after multiple negative Tweets, the company responded and quickly resolved the customer’s problem. Why was Twitter more effective than a call to the support organization? Is this a case of the squeeky wheel getting the grease?

Customer Service executives need to have policies to better deal with complaints. The company no longer owns the conversation about their brand. Social media has changed that. Books like What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis and “Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing out of Sync? by Seth Godin are preaching that organizations needs to change to accomodate the new age rules. Here are some excerpts from What Would Google Do?

‘Customers are now in charge”

“People can find each other anywhere and coalesce around you – or against you.”

Customer Service  processes need to change with these new age rules and customer service personnel need additional training. Front line staff need to understand what social media is, how it can be used  against the company and to have processes for escalation of unresolved customer problems.

What is your opinion?


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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

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