Posted on : 19-12-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Comcast, Customer Service, Social Media
There has always been a lot of conversation about Comcast and Twitter, including varying opinions of what we do right and what some perceive as wrong. While I was on vacation there was a blog post by Ari Herzog comparing Comcast social media efforts with Walmart, LA Times and Whole Foods. Overall it was a fair comparison, although for some reason no one realizes how active my team is within blogs, Facebook, forums, You Tube, and other social spaces. That is a post for another day! One of the comments is something I am very passionate about and I thought is would be helpful to share my thoughts here for some discussion. At the end of the case study on Comcast it states “good luck finding Twitter link or icon” on Comcast.com. Fair point and true, but lets get into why.
Not only has this discussion happened within social media, we have the discussion at work all the time. There are many who have suggested we add a Twitter link as another method to contact us. Believe it or not, I am the one that is resistant to this. Let’s start with our goal within social media: “To meet Customer’s where they already are, listen and help when we can.” I have always been passionate that the key to social media for businesses is listening first. An area that I think companies can continually work on.
Many companies have used Twitter and other social media spaces very successfully to market products. When you are doing this, placing a link on your website can work well. Dell is the perfect example of this:
We have never sought to publicize our efforts or seek recognition for listening and helping, but needless to say it has happened. I still find a lot of that discussion to be weird, because all we have ever done is what I refer to as Customer Service 101. One of the things I realized is that publicity causes is many people that have never been on Twitter stop by. I love Twitter, and I am excited when new people find it, but it is not always the right experience if you do not know how to use it. One story occurred after I appeared on NPR Marketplace. A woman needed assistance and went to Twitter for help. It was her first time to Twitter. She signed up and tweeted a few times. She then when back to the the show and stated she never heard from Comcast. We did reply to each of her tweets, but, as it turns out, she did not know to go to the “replies” tab to see responses. This did not meet her expectations or ours, but that is what can happen when someone goes to a new space and does not fully understand how it works. This takes me back to our overall goal, “Meet Customer’s where they already are, listen and help when we can.” I do not see a need to generate business for Twitter but make it one of many places we listen.
Of course this would lead to the argument that we are not providing the same efforts to Customers not in social media. Well, that is not true either. Even before we were active in social media, my team developed a process for Customers to share feedback with Rick Germano, Senior VP of Customer Service for Comcast. This is another process I have managed over the past few years. This is prominently displayed on our website, and all feedback is reviewed and we assist Customers in the same manner. We listen to every piece of feedback they provide, and help when we can. I think in this age of Customer Service, providing as many means for Customers to share feedback is extremely important. We also provide links throughout our website to our help forums, which are also managed by my team. This does not mean we do not share links to our efforts on Twitter, but we do so in places where we find Customers that are already on Twitter tend to be, such as Comcast Voices blog.
I love the evolution Twitter has brought to companies, especially related to Customer Service and support. I am proud to have played a small part, but this will continually evolve and time will create new best practices that all companies can share to create the best possible experience for Customers and prospective Customers. The moral of this story is Twitter is great for those that fully understand it and like to be in the space. Places like Facebook are better for others, and some individuals will prefer not to be a part of any of these social spaces, and there is nothing wrong with that.