Social media, and Twitter in particular, is being used more and more as a customer service channel. It is attractive for customers as it brings immediacy of contact and from the companies' perspective, if handled carefully, it is a fantastic marketing opportunity: the social networks can provide spectacular word of mouth responses, help considerably with brand awareness and can be a very strong source of recommendations. Will the emerging wave turn into something bigger or simply fade away?
Challenges for social in the long run are multiple: a network like Twitter has a narrow bandwidth for a given company and can only handle a relatively small number of customer interactions at a time. Also it provides very little triage capabilities at the moment and all queries are channelled in one place, it is like having only one email account in the old days. But more concerning is that, as time goes by and the novelty factor fades, the bad practices which we see in real life (bad response time, no response etc) are starting to creep in the social media customer service sphere and this may encourage the general public to go away and try something else.
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