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Are you communicating with your customers using social media?

Is your business able to react to consumers on social media? Some major US businesses are deciding that older communication channels are the best way to deal with customer complaints.

Charter is a major cable TV company in the States and has this week shut down its social media customer services team.

And Charter isn’t alone either, New England’s biggest grocers Wegman’s told its 8,000 Facebook fans to find another way to talk to the company.

The companies cited two different reasons for their decisions. And they’re ones any business with a social media presence should bear in mind.

Charter is simply stopping dealing with customer service issues via social media; it will still maintain its channels.

Perhaps the public nature of complaints put them off. It also says its customers have multiple ways – phone, in person, live chat on their website – of speaking to customer service teams.

The decision hasn’t gone down well with social media commentators, but then it wouldn’t would it, who have pointed to the decision in the same week by Charter’s competitor Cablevision to recruit a social media team.

Reuters spoke to J D Peterson of customer service consultants Zendesk about the decision. He warned that some businesses are struggling to deal with the volume of contacts and that some businesses really aren’t set up to deal with customers this way. However, he also cautions that businesses with a major web presence but no social media profiles aren’t doing what their customers expect of them.

For Wegman's, time was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Its staff simply weren’t able to keep up with comments coming in to their Facebook page, they had real life customers to serve, and in the end the company decided silence was better than a one-way dialogue of unanswered consumer queries.

Back in August, Conversocial followed America’s top 100 retailers and found that many of them aren’t that hot on Twitter customer service.

Only 13% of complaints received a response with five of the top 10 clothes stores just ignoring complaints. And when they did reply it often took a long time: 37% of complainants had to wait 10 hours or more for a response. Ten hours in which they probably shared their frustration with their followers.

So, it’s clear that if social media is going to work for your business you need to make a commitment to it and you need to be sure your platform is a good fit for both you and your customers.

You can see ZenDesk’s infographic on the survey here.

We believe that our customers should be able to contact us in the way that is easiest for them. Because of this we have Social Media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for any and all customer queries.

However we also have a team available on the phone by calling 02380 633644 or emailing our support@thetoolkit.co.uk address.

Get in touch with Toolkit Websites, web designers in Southampton, Hampshire, UK and see how we can help your business grow.