Monday, November 23, 2015

Social media as support

A new article in CRM Magazine caught me by surprise: "Social media is now a viable support channel." The articles opens with a description of how Hyatt Hotels leverages social media for customer engagement. "If you are talking about one of our hotels while you are staying in our hotel, we will respond," says Dan Moriary, director of social strategy at Hyatt Hotels. Hyatt also uses social media as a way to engage more personally, from pillow preferences to service.

The article goes on to highlight statistics of customer engagement on Twitter and Facebook, including five million customer tweets and 350,000 Facebook posts went unanswered in the last quarter. The rest of the article encourages customer-savvy brands to use social media to better engage with customers, current and future. People are increasingly using social media to communicate directly with the companies they rely on.

This is where the article surprised me, because I thought we were already there. Perhaps it comes from working on a university campus, but we see students engaging with each other and with companies through social media all the time. Millennials aren't "increasing" their social media usage, they are already there.

One example: A friend reached out to her family vet via social media after their dog ate something bad for her. Starting with texts, she quickly progressed to Twitter to share details about the plant her dog ate, and how much, including photos. Someone from an older generation (including me) might have called the vet, and spoken to someone directly. But today's generation are happy to engage electronically.

Our students do this, too. Whether through Twitter or Facebook or even YikYak, we see university students using social media to air complaints and raise questions. Our Helpdesk uses Chat as a way for students, faculty, and staff to ask questions. And our Library uses a similar Chat service to respond to patrons. We haven't yet implemented Twitter for the Helpdesk or Library, but I predict this won't be too far off.
image: Twitter

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