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Long Live the Twitter Callback!

Has it happened to you too?

There I was, tweeting about a minor customer experience issue to one of the retail brands that I frequent. Less than 20 minutes later, my phone rang – “Mr. Duek? This is Charlotte from XYZ’s social media team. I wanted to get back to you about your tweet.”

The funny thing is that I wasn’t shocked – something about this approach made a lot more sense to me than the historical call-center model. I didn’t have to wade through phone menus to reach an agent; I skipped the ‘approximate hold time’ announcements; and although some brands have upgraded their hold music to Top 40 (of the 1950’s), I didn’t miss listening to that either. From the brand’s perspective, they were still able to document and manage my concern promptly and as part of their defined service process… really, the only thing that had changed was that I didn’t need to waste time on the phone (and to a lesser degree, that the brand was calling me rather than vice-versa).

Of course, Twitter didn’t start this trend. I’ve come across organizations in the past (e.g., Comcast) that have added “we’ll call you back” options when wait-times exceeded a certain threshold… but then I’d ask, why am I calling at all? Why not make the Twitter callback a standard, promoted practice for customer support in situations where a simple tweet back doesn’t suffice? And notwithstanding the customer experience improvement, isn’t it cheaper – yes, that means ROI, folks! – to run a customer service program this way?

If I step back, I’d even argue that social media (and Twitter/facebook in particular) is enabling the next generation of asynchronous customer service. Of course, it’s always been asynchronous for consumers in that we’re waiting on the phone for an agent; but social media has allowed brands to meet us halfway, saving everyone time and money. And best of all… no “garbage” hold music, which will certainly make Marissa Mayer @ Yahoo happier.

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