I define real customer service as getting the help you need, when you need it, without any hassle. Using that definition, you’ve probably rarely received real customers service. It’s so rare, in fact, when it happens, you rave about it to all your friends.
There is a new type of service on the rise: Twitter service. Twitter service happens when you complain on Twitter about a company’s lack of real customer service. A representative from that company is monitoring Twitter, and personally responds to you. The company representative gives you Twitter service, fixes your problem, and you are ecstatic. You may even blog about it as James Rock did when he received Twitter service from Virgin Media. But that’s not real customer service.
Twitter is a stop-gap for some companies. It’s the appearance of customer service to cover for the lack of a real customer service solution. James Rock should have been able to solve his problem through normal Virgin Media channels. But he couldn’t, so he complained on Twitter. And that’s the only reason Virgin responded. What about all the customers who don’t have a Twitter account? Where’s their Twitter service?
Twitter service is all the rage now. When a company uses Twitter to help isolated customers, social media gurus go gaga. They write complimentary blog posts about the company engaging customers. Twitter service companies get invited to speak at conferences.
Companies should stop hiding behind Twitter and develop a solution that helps all customers, not just the isolated few. My question is: Where’s the real customer service?