I read a headline today that got me all fired up: "Dump Your Social Media Strategy; It's Not Customer Service." Mostly, the article is a promotional piece for Lithium Response, but the first few graphs make a good point in that social media is a tool, not a solution in and of itself. (Something I have written about repeatedly.)
This brings me to my point, which is: Just because you have a social media presence doesn't mean you provide excellent customer service. I can have a door man at the front of my house but that doesn't mean everyone who comes over will (or should) feel welcome. In fact, the doorman might be making people feel unwelcome. Maybe he is glaring at people, has a bad attitude or smells funny.
Just as I do with my social media network I have to be certain my doorman is doing his job correctly if I expect him to help my guests feel welcome. And even then, the doorman is only one small part of the visit to my house. Once people get in the door, the doorman is forgotten and they are focusing on all the other pieces of the experience of being in my house; what it looks like, how it smells, how it feels, how I interact with them and what they can do once they get inside.
Your social media network is much the same. Stop thinking about it as a destination. You don't want people to stop at your Facebook page, you want your Facebook page to welcome them in. And since it is JUST A STATIC PAGE it really can't be held accountable for how visitors feel. Ultimately it is the social media manager behind the page who determines how visitors to your page feel. Are they recognized when they visit? Are their posts Shared or Liked when appropriate? Do they feel welcome?
Social media itself is not customer service. It is a tool for providing customer service. Like a comment card at a restaurant. Just because you ask someone how their dinner was doesn't mean they feel good about the fly in their soup. What is ultimately at the core of your customer service is how you truly feel about your customers; whether or not you are truly interested in them. If you are, it will show in your actions toward them. If you are only interested in what you can get from them (email addresses, sign-ups, sales leads) that will show too.
Before the Digital Age, when people still used phone books and print advertising to discover new businesses and services, word-of-mouth was the most powerful and sought after form of advertising there was. Today, with the rise of the Social Web; viral videos, Facebook and Twitter, word-of-mouth is still the most powerful form of advertising there is. And people will only give you good word-of-mouth advertising if you give them service worth bragging about.