How Social Media is changing traditional customer service

November 14th, 2013

I remember back when I was studying Business at University, we were provided an interesting statistic about customer satisfaction. We were told that happy customers would tell 4-6 people of their experience. However, an unhappy customer would tell 9-15 people. It is amazing how much that equation has changed with the boom of social media as thousands of people can be exposed to an online review.

A few generations ago, if you had an issue with a product or service, it was a matter of addressing the problem face-to-face with the business owner or “the Manager” in order to seek a resolution. It was a very personalized yet private exercise. Now with the advent of social media, it seems that the business is starting to be removed from the equation. Instead of addressing their concerns directly with the business, almost a third of consumers will now go directly to social media channels to share their complaints and warn other potential consumers. This is a real shame for both the business and the consumer.

With any business, things never go 100%. For Platinum Heritage specifically, we may have weather related issues (wind, rain, sand-storms, cold, heat), staff related issues (language barrier, cultural differences, different sense of humor, personal issues, staff under training), Hotel pick-up issues (hard to find pick-up points, traffic, delays caused by late guests), mechanical issues (A/C failure, breakdowns), technical issues (payment gateway issues, website downtime, emails lost in Junk folders) not to mention issues that guests have with each other. At the time of writing, half of our “average” reviews on TripAdvisor are actually complaints about fellow travelers.

I hope that as the social media phenomenon matures, consumers will realize that providing the opportunity for a business to respond BEFORE posting a permanent online footprint, will allow the business to respond to the inevitable situation that eventually, something will go wrong. A company should not be judged IF something goes wrong but by how they deal with a situation when it arises. By cutting them out of the process, you are not giving other consumers an accurate impression of the company’s performance.

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