Social Media is Redefining Customer Service

By Soko Directory Team / Published January 11, 2016 | 9:15 am



Using-social-media-in-business-to-drive-growth

The advent of social media has completely shifted the engagement rules between brands, CEOs, celebrities and their customers, clients and fans. Before the client/customer/fan were simply treated as and when the brand, celebrity or CEO felt it was a favour they were doing them and most times, they were arrogant and belligerent in their approach to issues raised.

That has since changed and now the customer is firmly the king and the old adage that the customer is always right has never rang so true. Social media is now a force, a catalytical force that the ordinary Kenyan, for customer who has suffered for so long without any redress.  Now he has a club, a weapon he /she can wield with desired effects or results that will make a brand worth its salt to act immediately to prevent a backlash.

The interesting bit is that while the customer understands how to wield this weapon to the maximum effect, the victim of this, read the brand, the CEO or the celebrity has no clue what is cooking and just what is in store for them should they not meet the acceptable standard of service or product delivery. The matters become complex when the brands CEO is on social media and has no clue on how to engage and ends up creating a utopian society that is within his or her social class that ends up alienating the ordinary customer that the Brand CEO is meant to serve.

This in itself is a social media goof as the ordinary customer has no interest in following you and engaging you if you will tweet or update how you dinner at Sankara was when they can hardly afford the service they getting from you and yet you as a CEO for the brand cannot in anyway assure the clients or engage them and tell them what the brand is doing to make its services affordable.

There is no manual for social media training but the realm of reasonable social media engagement is key in being able to meet the needs and demands of the customer. Many brands have goofed, not to mention key public figures whose careers hang in the balance thanks to their issues going viral on social media.

This is not a local issue, but something that is global, reason being that the internet has made the world a small digital village. Customer (Dis) Service issues are going to be amplified through various social media grid points right to the heart of the new global battlefield, where the customer and the corporation, brand, CEO are at war.

Mass consumption is at an all-time high and customers have more options than ever before, raising consumer expectations to new heights. At the same time, rapidly expanding corporations are looking to cut labor costs, outsourcing their customer service departments to the other side of the world. Face-to-face time between business and consumer is practically non-existent, and customer satisfaction has declined dramatically.

These alone are enough ammunition that the customer needs to launch a social media attack on the brand, corporate or CEO, not to mention the inflationary pressures that customers are going through. Many have dubbed 2016 as the year corporates, brands, CEOs and celebrities are cut to size and the year when they learn to appreciate their customers and fans. Question is, are the corporates ready to engage, to handle issues that will virally emanate from the digital world?

But why are clients bitter that social media is viewed as a weapon against corporates, against the CEOs  and against the celebrities, instead of being seen as avenues for engagement  to better the services and products on offer. As platforms to help improve our social economic lives through networks. Are the corporations at fault for putting their bottom line ahead of customer satisfaction, or are consumers demanding too much from the corporations?

Are the CEOs alienated from the reality on the ground that they can’t appreciate what their customers are going through or they coming up with policies that are alienating other regions form the rest? Are the celebrities misusing our hero worship instead of using the same for fighting for better social justice?
Whatever happened to good customer service? Well 2016 clearly portends to be a year that will redefine what customer service truly is.


Steve Biko is the CEO of Hidalgo Group and can be found online here.




About Soko Directory Team

Soko Directory is a Financial and Markets digital portal that tracks brands, listed firms on the NSE, SMEs and trend setters in the markets eco-system.Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/SokoDirectory and on Twitter: twitter.com/SokoDirectory

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