Over the past couple of years the way companies interact with their customers has changed beyond all recognition. I have been thinking a lot about how social media in particular is reinventing customer care. I'm something of a latecomer to the entire world of online networking, but have become quite a convert after seeing how all this connectivity is helping me to do my own job.
But business networking is one thing. Caring for customers is another, and if you have been following my earlier blogs then you will have seen several examples of companies connecting to customers using social media.
It all looks great, and some of the stories are astounding. Check out the twitter feeds for some of the major telcos online and you can see customer queries are being dealt with openly within minutes. Often the brand is interacting because of a complaint or negative mention, but they are jumping in and fixing problems within minutes and that should be applauded.
But is there a twin-track of customer service developing? A potential division between the digital haves and have-nots?
What if I'm just a regular pay-as-you-go mobile phone customer and I get a problem with my phone? I can find a landline and call the company, but contract customers probably get answered faster than PAYG, so I might end up negotiating an endless IVR in my quest to find out what is wrong.
That's not always the case, but we have all been in this situation -- the endless options that seem to lead anywhere, except to a friendly helpful human voice.
As social media customer service scales up and more customers just expect to be answered because they griped about a company online, will that impact the service offered to the less digitally aware and isn't this something those of us in the industry should be worried about right now?