I was reading the Martiz Research report on customer service and Twitter (thanks to Jay Baer for his post about the study) and I realized that despite the fact there were plenty of good statistics…

We may have missed a valid point.

The study shines a glaring light over companies who are ignoring Twitter as a customer service model. This happened to me recently. On Tuesday I had sent a tweet to Southwest (a complaint) and never received an answer. Jay points out that 70% of companies ignore customer service on Twitter. 

I found something else in the study and I find it fairly disturbing. Yes, 70% of companies ignoring customer complaints on Twitter is disgusting. However, the study also found that 51% of respondents didn’t believe the company would actually answer them anyway.

This is a symptom to the overall problem of communication within the digital world. There is a great quote from Paul Greenburg that pretty much sums all this up.

“What I do care about is that you conclude that your company needs to change the way you deal with the customer NOW, because the customer has already changed the way they deal with you.”

Are we training the customer to not care? You may be great at customer service but this study isn’t speaking directly to your individual customer. It is giving you a good idea of what the consuming public thinks and how they act.

Three things to remember:

1. Research – You may be surprised how little you know about your customer database. Do you have the information you need to deliver quality customer service? Are you using Twitter and monitoring sites (like Google Alerts) to keep track of the conversation?

2. Systems – Use Hootsuite or CoTweet to enable your employees to respond to customer complaints on Twitter. They both have extremely valuable systems for answering and responding to Tweets of the positive or negative nature. Talk to your staff about the value of the system and what exactly should happen when a customer complaint is read.

3. Value – Try to setup metric to measure the value of the answers for employees and customers. Did the answer drive revenue? Did the lifetime value of the customer increase because of the answer via social media? We are all new to this world but in order to measure the right way… you need the right data.