Ignoring Customer Tweets can Rapidly Increase Churn

An industry thumb rule states that good PR covers up bad problems. But, an undercover understanding of customer service management reveals its ability in preventing problems to become bad ones in the first place. As per a consumer’s mindset, customer service management is associated with automated menus, lengthy hold times and outsourced staff. On the other side of the line, customer service representatives fear a consumer who whines about the weather and forgets to turn on a router before stating that it is broken!

Time and energy have become a luxury in 2012. In this age, we as consumers expect a television to be controlled by the same device we use to text while we hope the world news is delivered to us in 140 characters or less. While we were in the single digit years of the millennium, intangible medium such as mobile phones or email were the “new” technology. As we advance to 2012, intangibility has gained mistrust and decline in popularity. In this scenario, automated customer service has higher potential of losing consumers over satisfying them.

Customer satisfaction Index or popularly known as the Heat Index of a pissed consumer was the highest in 2006-2008 as per the ACSI study. It declined drastically through the 2008-2010 phase. As of the past 4 quarters, customer satisfaction and participation is on a slow increase. Clearly the economic turn down has brought about a remarkable change in mind set of consumers. With lower disposable incomes, individuals are inclined towards a complete package. Best value for money and extended customer service for higher longevity of the product have gained top priority while making a purchase. Additionally the insecurity brought about by recession has compelled consumers to indulge in credible research before committing a purchase.

The above figures also present an opportunity to companies to understand the 'Threat' and 'Opportunity' of its SWOT analysis study. Here, the threat across all industries is redundant technology and intangibility. While the opportunity lies in increasing tangibility, personalization, customization and eventually saving time and energy for consumers.

Recently, bigger companies have started investing in Twitter to increase their visibility and tap its potential as an effective customer relationship management tool. IBM, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Hilton and Samsung are examples of companies that have allotted considerable budgets in new media/technology developments specifically in Twitter. Not surprisingly, a study on focus.com segregates these companies under the Top 10 companies for customer satisfaction.

Twitter integration with service management solutions has several benefits for companies. Customer service representatives can track, participate and solve customer queries using Twitter. Since this specific medium allows only 140 characters, consumers tend be precise and expect specific responses. This limitation eventually saves both parties time and energy, thereby increasing efficiency. This efficiency rate is incomparable to the call center efficiency that is measured by success per second. Additionally, Twitter allows a company to build and/or protect its brand image, as the medium allows free consumer participation and a high viral capability. Thirdly, the immediacy and transparency of twitter makes a conversation less formal, ultimately making the company more approachable and engaged with audiences. Auxiliary to addressing consumer concerns, customer reps can also provide product tips and tricks, real time data visibility, thereby increase overall customer satisfaction.

The marketing landscape is rapidly evolving with changing consumer psychology and social CRM. Traditional methods need to be revamped as per consumer demand. Twitter offers companies a variety of tools to improve customer service management. It has the ingredients that companies can alter as per taste and preference and provide a tasteful solution. Unlike other social media platforms, Twitter is more quality over quantity. This benefit allows companies to increase depth of engagement over breadth of marketing objectives. Thus, it won’t be over ambitious to start addressing customer service management in terms of tweets, quotes and 140 characters over automated services. Additionally, collate records and customer information through a CRM solution integrated with Twitter to better analyze trends, pinpoint bottlenecks through feedback posted and improving products by understanding customers better.