There has been a theory that people complain on social media because they think that public noise will attract a quicker response. Not so, says Beadle.
“The service level agreements in dealing with complaints are the same on all channels,” he states. “There is no special treatment for social media. We deal with it as quickly as possible as we do with all channels.”
Furthermore, he stresses the point that only 1 per cent of daily complaints come via social media with the vast majority using the telephone. “If it’s dealing with security issues then people prefer to go on the phone,” he explains.
Given the small size of the service, Beadle says it is difficult to quantify what financial and operational benefits its Twitter page has brought. “The challenge now is what role it plays in our overall customer service, such as more outbound questions or reminders to customers to say let us know when they are going abroad and using their card,” he explains.
He advises other companies thinking about developing a Twitter page to focus on tone of voice and to react fast. “Have a long-term view. Don’t set it up for a few weeks and then turn it off,” he says. “Also really think about whether you and your customers want it. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it the right thing to do. You have to see the benefits in improving your customer service.”
Given the fast evolving nature of social media it is also prudent for firms to keep fully aware of any customer-led changes in habit. “Perhaps companies are prowling Instagram looking at photos of toasters whose owners claim they don’t burn toast in the right way! I don’t know,” Schneider laughs.
He is probably joking but in the new world of social media anything really is possible.
In tomorrow’s final instalment of the social media series, we take Royal Mail’s use of social media as a case study…