There’s a trap out there.
A little black box that could possibly suck the life out of a customer care operation, if it isn’t careful.
It’s called Twitter.
It’s hot. It’s sexy. It’s cool. It gets you some of that tech “street cred” that you crave.
You want to communicate, build relationships, and cultivate your evangelists.
Customers who are “Twitter savvy” start to notice you are out there, and that’s OK too.
Unless your traditional “analog” customer care springs a leak. Then these “savvies” make and end run and go to your Twitter feed.
Of course, you help them- it would be folly not to.
That’s noticed by the savvies – so more people reach out on Twitter for customer care. Even after the analog leaks are plugged.
So you hire more people to be on Twitter, and little by little, your attention is shifted away from your analog bread and butter, and towards the digital world.
After all, it IS cooler.
Eventually, a third of the 8-10% of your customers (or maybe even less, but that’s the average right now) who use Twitter are making a LOT of end runs, and the trap is set.
You are wasting a tremendous amount of valuable time trying to solve problems for 3% of your customers, and worse yet, with a 140 character limitation.
Is this really the future of customer care?
It can’t be.
What’s going to happen once Twitter (or another service like it) really goes mainstream, and let’s say 50% of your customers become “savvies”?
It would probably look like my TweetDeck feed in “real time” mode – a stream of requests that are moving so fast that there is absolutely no way you can keep up with them (plus, it gets you really dizzy).
It just can’t be.
Until we invent products and services that don’t require interactions beyond 140 character bursts, the best way to provide the highest level of customer care, in ANY age, be it analog or digital, is through “open” one-on-one communication. Face to face. On the phone. Or even an online chat session, or an e-mail exchange, that doesn’t give you a “character limit exceeded” warning.
We can’t put ourselves in that black box. Communicate, yes. Inform, yes. But make sure that your customers know that the BEST place to get a problem solved is using that good ‘ol telephone. And make sure there are enough well trained people ready to answer them when they do.