Social Media and Customer Relations
Posted by Iker Ibanez
This wonderful article made me think about how some industries are making use of Social Media whilst other are still very hesitant about it. It also does a very interesting insight on how the relationship between these companies and their customers are changing, and even more interesting, how the perception the customers get are also changing accordingly.
Air travel is being one of the industries which most benefit is getting from Social Media. Nearly 200 airlines are already actively present in Social Media, and the nature of this industry is clearly benefiting from having a direct and real time communication channel with their customers. Air travel operations are subject to innumerable and unpredictable situations that cause disruptions and delays. So from a purely operational point of view, it is clear that Social Media, specially facebook and twitter are key elements in this new way of addressing customer communications. Delays and cancellations for any of the classical reasons -weather, plane maintenance, crew rotation, etc.- can now be made known to the wide audience.
Not that this will solve any of the issues and eliminate the delays or cancellations, but it is definitely helping customers be aware of the situation and plan accordingly. Knowing is better than not definitely.
This is probably the most obvious usage of Social Media, but probably not the most powerful. Three different usages can be identified:
- Communication with customers (operational)
- Marketing and sales
The power of feedback
Think about feedback. This is a double edged weapon. Feedback is good, and making things easier for customers to give feedback right where and when the issue or the good experience is happening clearly encourages more than filling a feedback form. People just tweet their last good or bad experience, or post a comment on your wall about it. This is really powerful, but demands a managed presence in Social Media to be able to listen to this feedback effectively.
But this has a downside too, which I tend to see as a big opportunity. You can no longer hide failure. If you cause a problem to a customer, not only you will know, your whole set of followers will do. This obviously can be seen as a downside, but I clearly see this as an opportunity for companies to improve customer service and attention, and really treat customers as they deserve. Furthermore, most of the failures in customer service will remain undetected behind the fact that customers rarely complained, and even more, complains never reached the media. Now this has completely changed, but also for good, now you know where your weakest points are, so your customers become your best allies.
The true revolution
The more I look at Social Media adoption in the large Enterprise, the more I see it as a movement towards customer centricity. No longer we make the customer come to our online systems, we go to where the customer spends his or her time
online. We do not ask for feedback or claims to be given in a particular manner and a particular place, we listen to the customer wherever and whenever the customer is.
This is for me the authentic revolution of Social Media in the Enterprise. Not only being able to communicate, but reinventing all our customer interactions to be where and when the customer is, on every occasion where the customer needs to interact with us. For good and for bad.
For me, this is why Social Media is already revolutionary. Now I am really keen to see how other industries adopt are able to open themselves to this new world of possibilities. Challenging but really thrilling and full of potential.
About Iker IbanezOver the years I have developed passion for a number of things, like airlines and aviation, cars and technology. I think the item that links them all is sophistication. I love sophisticated stuff, I love the sophistication of modern air travel. The sophistication of modern technology and cars. You can find more about me in my linkedin profile: http://sg.linkedin.com/in/ikeribanez
Posted on September 17, 2011, in Airlines, Customer experience, Customer Service, Enterprise, Social Media, Social network and tagged Airlines, Customer interaction, Customer service, Enterprise, Facebook, Social Media, Social network, Twitter. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.