Usage and customer service in social media

I enjoyed the readings this week that covered descriptions and research around social media, as well as answered questions like “why use social media?”.  Being a social media user for a few years, I can relate to a lot of the information these readings covered.

The reading from Always On provided a lot of information on studies conducted in 2006 about Facebook.  I remember using Facebook in 2006, this was my senior year in college.  After meeting someone at a party you’d become friends on Facebook.  I also had to laugh when the article mentioned roommates that sit in the same room IMing each other, as my roommate and I did that in our college dorm room.  The reading also provides usage stats and how Facebook profiles are used to gain more information about people.  I wonder how much these stats have changed in the world we live in today.  When I first joined Facebook, I remember friends of mine that didn’t go to college couldn’t sign up for Facebook.  They were upset because they felt like they were missing “the next big thing”.  Now that anyone can create a Facebook profile and so many features have been added, like an advanced chat, I would think people spend more time on Facebook and would say it’s a comprehensive solution to getting to know people and keeping in touch with them.


I enjoyed the part of the Qualman reading about how business use social media to address customer complaints.  I’ve seen a number of friends, and I’ve done it a few times as well, complain openly on social media about poor service provided by a company.  When a company reacts and reaches out to their customer for the poor experience they are talking about, it shows the company cares.  When companies don’t react, the customer feels not only is the company wrong for what they’re complaining about, but also that the company doesn’t care enough to address their clearly upset customer.  Potential customers see this as well and create an opinion of the company.  Customer service has evolved.  It’s not just someone sitting at a support desk to take customer complaint calls or a manager speaking to a customer at the store, good customer service addresses customer complaints in whatever channel they’re received.  If the company provides good customer service on Facebook (like the example below) people see that and take notice.  The company has a positive perception and people will be more likely to order from the company in the future.


I know how my own usage of social media has changed throughout the years, but I’d love to hear how your experiences have changed.  Do you use social media more or less than when you first signed up?  Do you use social media as a vehicle for reaching a company you’ve received poor service from?

Posted on September 22, 2013, in Social Media, Society. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I just tried using social media this week to reach out to a company. I had a bad experience with my cable company and posted a complaint on their Facebook page on Monday. I got a response today (Tuesday), but it was just to tell me to email them with the details of my complaint. I sent the email today so let’s see if anything comes of it.

    The most interesting part of this is that someone else liked my comment and posted how she had the same exact bad experience and encouraged others to speak up. I haven’t seen any other posts, but imagine how something like this could snowball. I can definitely see how monitoring social media can be beneficial to companies – in a way, it’s their own form of “preventative” behavior…as in, preventing others’ behaviors from hurting their business! But, hey, if it helps improve the customer experience, I’m all for it. And I am thinking if there’s any way I can start doing this in my work. Hmmm…

    • It sounds like that company needs to get their act together! However, in an area like my parents live in, cable is their only choice. The heavy volume of trees don’t allow them to get satellite and FiOS isn’t available for them. The cable company can provide the terrible service, but if you want TV you need to just deal with it.

      I agree that Facebook can definitely be a preventative tool to communicate with customers and it should be taken advantage of.

  2. Your examples of early Facebook made me smile because I remember doing it too. Facebook was so new at the time, so people really used it whenever, and for whatever they were doing. I still direct people to my Facebook page to keep in touch, but I have a really common first and last name, so I usually need to do the searching for them.
    I definately agree that customer service needs to go beyond and address and solve people’s issues quickly and to their satisfaction. Many companies, specifically airlines and telecommunications companies have grown very large, so it has become difficult for them to keep up with customer issues. That isn’t an excuse for them, but more a circumstance of the world today. They are simply to large to handle issues the way smaller companies with less customers can. This makes it especially important for them to resolve issues, because they all have competitors, and most consumers are not tied to brand loyalty. If their needs aren’t being met to their satisfaction, they will go somewhere else.

    You Zappos example shows excelent customer service on their part, but you could tell that the customer wasn’t really satisfied. It reminded me of something comedian Louis CK said when he was a guest on one of the late shows. I’m paraphrasing here, but basically, compared to past generations, we are the most spoiled and entitled generation because we have grown up with so much. We are used to 2-3 day shipping, but it is easy to forget that it used to take weeks for a package to arrive. We complain about a 2 hour wait time before a flight across the country, but a few generations back, flying wasn’t an option and people had to drive for days instead. To an extent, I agree with him.

    • I agree that some companies are just simply too big to provide a good customer experience. It’s sad that companies need to spend money in other areas than on customer support staff. Many companies few their support team as an expense instead of a team that provides value. But I believe a good support team can bring in revenue. I’d much rather do business with a company that has a good reputation than with a company where it’s obvious they don’t care about their customer. There are things I haven’t bought or paid more for from a different company because of the company reputation.

      I totally agree we are spoiled! I think it continues to get worse with all the technology we put in place. People demand instant gratification and can be unreasonable when it comes to have patience.

  3. Funny, my roommate and I also sat in the same room IMing each other all through college. We thought we were completely weird, but I’m glad we’re not :).

    I think you’re right that customer service has really evolved. As someone who has worked in customer service (and still does to some extent), I have witnessed that evolution from a business perspective, but I have also witnessed it from a consumer perspective. I love being able to log into my bank’s website at 11:30 PM and chat with a customer service rep about whatever problem I’m having.

    I love the Zappos example you posted. Not only is it helpful, but it’s also funny! I think other companies could really learn from this example.

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