3 Observations From The Eye Of A Customer Service Twitter Storm

twitterstormWhen a customer tweets me directly to report that they are receiving poor customer service, I listen–all the more when they copy my boss on that tweet.  In a recent case, a customer was working through an issue with one of our agents via chat and after twenty minutes of chatting, took to Twitter to voice their displeasure with the situation.

After tweeting back to the customer to let them know I was looking into the issue, I walked the ten foot journey over to the agent chatting with the customer.  She explained the issue and that they had just resolved it.  To my delight, she worked with one of our leads and they resolved it in exactly the same way I would have done it.

Upon returning to my desk, I tweeted the customer again to let them know I believed the issue was resolved and asked them to let me know if it wasn’t.  I then got to be the beneficiary of a praise tweet from the customer when I literally did nothing.  One of the perks of being in leadership I guess.

Why did I share this story with you?  In this age social media customer service, this is a great case study for a few reasons.

1. Customers don’t always wait for the phone call to complete before turning to social.  The customer’s issue was in the midst of being resolved, but not fast enough.  I would think the chat would have ended before they turned to Twitter.  They didn’t!  We took too long and they turned to Twitter in order to speed along the process.  This is once again a reminder that customers have a louder voice than ever and we need to be on the ball.

2. Everyone in your company had better be ready on social media.  I spend a lot of time building my personal brand on Twitter but never try to hide the fact that I am the Director of Customer Service for Phone.com.  If a customer wants to hunt me down, it’s really not that difficult.  This customer quite possibly opted to contact an employee at the company for fear that the customer service Twitter account was being monitored by the same people doing the chat support.

3. Don’t let complaints send you into a Twitter panic.  Customer service is hard enough as it is and it’s so easy in the midst of a public complaint to go berate someone on your team.  While we can work on getting faster, I’m more proud that my team got it right and on the first try.  By giving my team the benefit of the doubt, it was a non-issue in our contact center– and in the public face, it ended up becoming a positive.

The only issue that remains is learning from this situation, identifying the root cause, and improving our system so customers don’t reach this level of frustration before contacting us in the future.

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Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR, the premiere provider of outsourced call center and business process solutions. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service and experience professional. He is co-founder of the Customer Service Life blog and a regular contributor. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

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