Customer service in a digital age

A recent encounter with US Cellular customer service got me thinking about the future of customer service. When you call tech support a recorded message says it will be easier to troubleshoot issues with your phone if you are calling from a different phone or a landline.

That recorded message is where I had a dilemma. As a college student, my cell phone is my only phone (and often my main form of communication). How am I supposed to call from another phone if I don’t have one?

So, what is the answer? How can customer service evolve to best serve those of us that are permanently attached to our BlackBerries or iPhones and have left the landlines in the dust? If your department title is customer service, shouldn’t it be easy for your customers to interact with you?

I don’t know the answer. I don’t think anyone fully does, but I do believe the answer is to start experimenting with new technologies.

In our increasingly digital age, technology is constantly improving and changing.  However, how customers interact with customer service professionals hasn’t changed much. It has almost always been telephone based.

A few companies have utilized instant messaging platforms, but they are not heavily advertised and often difficult. I have used instant message platforms from NEW, Pearson and HP. I have yet to have a good experience.

What about Twitter? In the last year,  Twitter has grown more than 575 percent. Has customer service adapted and followed us to Twitter?

What are your thoughts? Have you had positive (or negative) experiences using an alternative form of customer service? Leave a comment and I will use your input to help guide a series of posts about the how to evolve.

    • Ben Green
    • January 29th, 2010

    I have to say, I was shocked to find out a friend of mine who I follow on Twitter made a tweet to the effect of, “Spent 2 hours on hold with EF Tours. Painful hold music but totally worth it.”

    Within two days he tweeted again stating, “EF Tours replied to my tweet about being on hold. That’s quality customer service.”

    Maybe the effort to connect with consumers via technology based interaction is there; it’s just late. The thought from EF Tours was nice, but did it help how long his phone call took? Probably not. I think companies need to take their thoughtful follow-ups and perhaps be more proactive in connecting with customers to better their services.

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