On Wednesday of last week, I gave Mediacom a call on the Social Media Phone. HOW?

By doing this, I posted on Twitter:

“Hey Mediacom, my web connection is on the fritz, can you guys please give me a call?”

Why did I post it to Twitter instead of just picking up my “real” phone? Well, a couple reasons:

  1. image credit: jonjon_2k8 on Flickr

    I HATE being on hold.  And anyone that’s EVER called Mediacom knows that’s their favorite game. And

  2. I know from past engagements that Mediacom is listening and answers the “Social Media Phone”

Is Social Media becoming a new channel for customer support?

Of course it is!

Remember when customer support via email was first introduced? It was a harder transition that one might think, especially for larger companies.  But with social media, some companies have already jumped in while others are just beginning to recognize that potential. In time, I it will become a standard practice.

There are major differences here, however. Adding email to the customer service mix was just another technology or mechanism by which companies could have private conversations with their customers. This is not the case with the Social Media Phone. These conversations (unless direct messaged or texted) are public, and that changes everything.

It also flips something else upside down: businesses now line up for customers instead of customers lining up for businesses. Rather than asking customers to do the searching, to find the businesses, to initiate contact, to get in line (or call center queues, etc.), it reverses everything and “puts the burden” on businesses to listen and respond to customers wherever they are.

This marketing reversal from “Supply -> Demand” to  “Demand -> Supply” model was outlined quite thoroughly in a book I recently read. “How Companies Win,” by Rick Kash and David Calhoun. They explain that reversing the traditional train of thought from “I have this ‘stuff’ to sell, I need to find a market…” to “This market needs this ‘stuff,’ we poised to fulfill that…” has been perpetuated through social media channels.

Companies who choose to jump in early will benefit the most. Right now, this practice is remarkable. It gets noticed and gets talked about. It represents an opportunity to delight customers with remarkable service.

Mediacom responded…  Lesson learned!

Meet your customers at their point of need.

Has your company picked up the Social Media Phone yet? Can you cite other instances where social media has enhanced / solved trying customer service issues?

Chime in.  Let us know how you’re integrating the Social Media Phone into your marketing plans. Or better yet, pick up the Social Media Phone and ask us how!

Keep Cooking!
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef