When you walk into Best Buy and ask a blue shirt employee about a digital device, computer or a component, there is a 50/50 chance that this experience won't inspire confidence. They may not have what you're looking for, they may not know what they are talking about or they may be in a bad mood (or all the above).
But when you voice a complaint on Twitter, this won't happen. And kudos to Best Buy's digital team for making their digital social presence so phenomenal.
Customer service is the first step in successful relationship marketing. Before your brand inspires new conversation, you need to perform triage on your brands big flaws. For nearly all brands, customer service is the first wound demanding triage.
And so, social customer service is often fantastic. It's so fantastic that brands are rewarding customers for complaining on Twitter, in forums and on blogs, providing far better, faster and more convenient support in social than they do in traditional channels.
In the long run this triage isn't sustainable. By rewarding highly visible customer service complaints, brands are only bringing stronger attention to support needs, many of which are negative.
The Solution: Brands need to VERY actively listen to and learn from social customer support feedback. Triage is absolutely necessary, but it must be performed, tracked and learned from in order to improve traditional support.
Fulfillment/Support is the first step in building a positive relationship. But rewarding vocal negativity is not the end-game, it's the beginning of a truly different customer service offering in both traditional and digital environments.