The topic of Twitter-based client service may seem to fit more into my colleague Anthony Lam's area of expertise (client relationship management) than mine, but there is a marketing bent that should not be overlooked. After all, customer service and marketing are intertwined. When you communicate with clients on a public forum, you are displaying your commitment to service - or lack thereof - for other clients and prospects to see.
At the end of the day, good customer service is good marketing. Someone who has a positive service experience is likely to spread the word. Retweeting a helpful company response or tweeting about an experience is a simple way for satisfied clients to get the message out - and provide free marketing for your company while they're at it.
Anthony Lam recently recounted his experience of taking a cross-country trip using two separate airlines in "A Tale of Two Airlines' Customer Service." Both flights were delayed, but the desk attendants overseeing one were considerably more helpful, personable and respectful, leading him to vow that he would never again use the carrier that provided his return flight. He didn't name the offending airline, but if he had done so, this would have constituted as bad publicity, albeit on a small scale.
Social media strategist Cindy Morrison did name names in a blog entry earlier this year. Luckily, what she had to say about American Airlines was complimentary. After running into problems using her frequent flier miles to book a flight, Morrison consulted the airline's traditional customer service channels, but hit road blocks. Finally, she took to Twitter, and that's when her fortunes turned around.
"American Airlines' social media department had me taken care of in mere minutes," she wrote. A subsequent tweet of hers, in which she gave "corporate social media kudos" to the airline, went out to her substantial follower base, which numbered nearly 15,000 at the time.
The level of customer service you offer can be beneficial or detrimental in terms of marketing and business building. Do you track what people are saying about you on social media? How do you handle customer service issues and client feedback in a public forum?