Elon And Tesla Are Getting A Lot Of Press For Their Social Media Response. Should They Be?

 

By now, you’ve probably read about how quickly, electric car manufacturer, Tesla Motors, implemented a change after a customer tweeted about a problem. CEO, Elon Musk, and Tesla are receiving great praise for the fast customer service effort. They did a great thing here. But should this really be as big of a story as it has been?

It’s interesting how many are responding to this. Almost as if Tesla’s achieved the impossible in, yet, another area of business/technology/leadership. The reality is, what they did is definitely great customer service – but it’s expected now. For sure, let’s celebrate great customer service. But let’s also recognize that this really shouldn’t be the big news story that it is. If Elon or Tesla didn’t respond to customer complaints, their brand would suffer tremendously.

More than a decade of rapid social media growth has given us an environment where consumers expect fast responses from businesses that have a presence there. Let’s be clear – we’re not just talking about fast replies. Elon replied fast. But if his company hadn’t responded quickly, they wouldn’t have lived up to the expectation social media amplifies. Blame it on our instant gratification culture or the fact that we’re addicted to mobile technology – whatever the reason, the expectation is here and it’s changing everything.

At HelpSocial we get to view this from an insider perspective. We see the volumes of customer service tweets and posts that are ever-increasing. We see social media teams growing, changing. We’re witnessing a wholesale shift in how the traditional call center is becoming a digital contact center where social messages vastly outnumber incoming phone calls.

Internationally, private social messaging networks like WeChat, Line, Viber and Facebook Messenger are becoming the standard means of customer service. Many brands have set strategic goals to deflect huge numbers of phone calls towards these types of channels. Why? Because customers expect them to be there and because if they’re not there, the customers will move to a competitor who is. Literally, brand futures are on the line. And, also, it’s exponentially cheaper (1/6th of the cost, or less) to serve a customer in social media than it is to take a phone call from that same customer. We can’t overlook that. 😉

Social communication is changing the way businesses operate. We must streamline our departments and use integrated technologies if we’re going to be able to keep up with the pace of service that’s expected. Sound hard? Or maybe Tesla-level impossible? It’s not. We’re seeing companies large and small make the changes every month. And we get excited every time we hear a story about how much faster they’re able to help their customer.

Personally, I view all this as social media forcing the business world to #behelpful. I don’t know if that’s something worthy of all the press Tesla’s getting for this, but either way it’s great to see companies living up to the expectation. The next few years will be amazing. Soon, a story like this, won’t be a story at all.

-Matt