You are enjoying coffee on a rainy Sunday afternoon video chatting with a friend. 5 minutes later, out of the blue, you get disconnected from the internet. Now that is something you really didn’t expect especially when you and your friend met online after such a long time. At first you try to restart the modem or check the connection and when the Internet still doesn’t work, you do the most obvious thing and dial up the good ol’ customer care service.
One minute into the call and you are still either making a choice from the menu or reentering your customer ID or some other information. How you wish you could just call up the number and a HUMAN received it. Anyways, when you finally end the call you would normally have a ticket number and an assurance that the issue will be resolved in the next 24 hours.
Now consider this, when your internet didn’t work, you simply logged on Twitter (through your smartphone ofcourse) and sent out a tweet mentioning how unhappy you are with your service provider. 10 minutes later you get a reply from the service provider asking you to ‘Direct Message’ your phone number. You also realize the service provider has started following you which is sometimes coupled with the direct message or a tweet to you that says “Hi! Can we follow you on Twitter?”. Once you send a direct message, it normally takes 10 more minutes till you receive a call from your service provider and it’s a HUMAN you are talking to!
By the way, the issue may still require 24 hours to be resolved but this gives us an idea of the importance the companies are paying to social media. Companies have hired teams to handle their social presence which proves how social media has become one of the most important customer support channels.
I believe one of the reasons why companies are taking social media so seriously is its nature of influencing other users. If a television actor (or anyone who has a verified account on Twitter) for instance, posts a tweet against a broadband service provider, this tweet is going to impact the brand image of the company. On the other hand, if the same television actor would have called the customer care service, you and I wouldn’t even know about it. Above all, companies do realize that if Twitter can play an important role in Arab Spring it does actually possess the potential of subverting governments!
So today when you post a tweet or login on facebook and it asks, “What’s on your mind!” it’s not just the friends that are looking forward to hear from you 😉