Customer Service Defines Your Brand In A Way Advertising Never Will

Impatient, are we? Not so much by nature, but by digital design. If something takes a few seconds to load, for instance, we act as if we are being cheated of precious time.

The powerful multi-way communication channels we now rely on have also reset expectations. Emails can sit there unanswered, but ignoring an Instant Message is another issue entirely. Now, take that concept to Twitter and Facebook.

According to Marketing Charts, a new study conducted by Havas Worldwide suggests that consumer expectations are high for social responsiveness, and that brands that fail to meet those expectations risk alienating a large portion of consumers.

What happens when companies don’t respond quickly? Consumers get annoyed. 48% of respondents agreed that “it annoys me if I don’t get a fast response from a company or brand I contact via Facebook, Twitter, or another social media channel.”

Facebook and Twitter are places where people like to talk. That’s the “social” piece of social media. The need to craft traditional but moving communications remains. But now a brand (with help from its agency partners) is also expected to keep up an ongoing dialogue with the company’s biggest supporters on Facebook and Twitter. This dialogue is one part content offering, another part realtime conversation. And as a representative of the company, the conversation can quickly turn to customer service, reputation management and sales.

Brands spend lots of money on advertising in effort to capture the interest of a coveted audience. But whatever good will the brand earns via paid, earned or owned media can be instantly washed away in a devastating typhoon of social media cluelessness. Don’t be that brand. Understand the demands of modern media and invest in developing talent to meet these needs, because they’re not diminishing.

Footnote: To McDonald’s credit (see above), the hamburger chain maintains a customer service account on Twitter to quickly address customer’s problems.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.