According to MajaStevanovich

News and views on what matters to me: mindfulness, leadership, public relations, marketing, social media, pop culture and every now and then I will surprise you with something else.

The New 1-800 Number

According to a few small business owners, 1-800 numbers are an antiquated way of doing customer service, these guys turn to Twitter instead. The social networking platform allows them to cope with site crashes, weather delays and many other crisis management situations that affect small businesses and be able to do it in real time. Aside from crisis management, they can interact with their customer base and get real time feedback. It should be noted however, that Twitter is only effective if used often and is unlikely to be helpful if not monitored regularly. From a customer’s stand point, it would be great if we can just scrap the 1-800 numbers all together. I actually wonder who the people are that call these numbers, that I conducted a little experiment and called the 1-800 number for various brands. Wanted to to hear what can they possibly offer to a disgruntled or in rare instance happy customer. Most people leave more frustrated after the call then they were feeling prior to it. In my case, I think I threw off the customer service rep when I told them I had the winning jingle for their next commercial. Ironically, twitter feels more “real” as far as interaction than a 1-800 number can ever be. The image I have above this post makes me laugh, because I don’t picture an 1-800 customer service rep ever having a smile on their face, and the friendly attitude, lets forget about that! Of course if you ask the company to describe their customer service reps they will describe them as professionals with a winning attitude.

Getting back to twitter, its ability to broadcast updates, interact with followers and do so in a concise manner is pretty powerful. Looking at the government and military sectors, these groups have really figured out how to use the medium effectively. Admiral Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has embraced both Twitter and Facebook and has been quoted to be hooked on the services. The real time aspect of Twitter is its most effective feature. The military and government followers get key points of interest and news long before they hit the traditional news stream.

The biggest challenge remains the overall small percentage of people that actively use twitter. Most users that have accounts abandon the service long before they get the full benefit of the medium. Take a look at my post on why new users leave Twitter which explains some of the most popular reasons why tweeps don’t stick around. As companies small and large are embracing Twitter it is important to recognize that the medium has not yet reached its full potential. It seems that everyone these days is tweeting, but that is far from the truth. It is my hope that it is only a matter of time before everyone gets the twitter fever and gets to experience for themselves how interactive and rich the platform truly is. Until then, happy tweeting.

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2 comments on “The New 1-800 Number

  1. Stefanie
    September 16, 2009

    Going into dialing a 1-800 number I already feel like they will fail me – like I will get someone from another country who speaks poor english, or I’ll be told to call back during regular business hours. Better yet, I’ll get a person who will transfer me only to hang up on me “by mistake”.

    Twitter is definitely more of a personal touch. However, it’s not useful if the Twitter account THEN sends me to a 1-800 number or a website to make my complain. This happened to me once – no success. I was not a happy camper.

  2. majastevanovich
    September 16, 2009

    I agree Stefanie, if they have you go back to 1-800, that doesn’t break the vicious cycle. I’ve only seen small businesses rely on Twitter for that kind of interaction; probably because it cuts costs. Unfortunately, big corporations have not figured out a way to make this a better experience for consumers.

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This entry was posted on September 16, 2009 by in Marketing Communications, Social Media and tagged , , .
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