How to Use Social Media As a Customer Service Tool

Last night I experienced the power of social media first hand, and it came from a very illegally source, General Motors. Yes, that's right. The company that just months ago was working through a bankruptcy is now using social media to improve their customer service.

Here is what happened. Yesterday my service stabilitrak light came on in my Trailblazer. Since I am not a car expert, I had no idea what this meant. I called my local Chevy dealership and made an appointment to get it looked at, but from that point, a huge knot began to grow in my stomach.

What kind of cost would I be looking at? Would this be under warranty? Is this a big deal?

With all these questions in mind, I headed to the fountain of information, Twitter. I posted a simple message asking my followers if they had ever had this problem and would it be expensive. I used the # tag when mentioning Chevy, hoping to get multiple opinions.

Within 5 minutes of my tweet, I received a Direct message from @GMCustomerSvc asking me to direct message him with more info, so he could help me. I was amazed, not only with the speed of this reply, but also that he offered to help me.

Over the next few minutes we replaced tweets, but we soon found it cumbersome to limit our messages to Twitter's 140 character limit. That is when my new GM buddy asked me to switch our conversation to Facebook. He sent me a friend request, and within seconds, we were chatting away about my situation.

At the end of the evening, Jared the GM Twitter Specialist had confirmed my appointment, assigned me a follow up case number and verified that the Stabilitrak was not under warranty. As much as that news disappointed me, I was happy at the service I had received.

This whole episode really illuminates the power of Twitter and the way social media can be used to improve your customer service. Instead of me going to my appointment today already worried and dreading the wait, I was armed with information, comverted that someone cared and confident that I would get good service.

How can you use social media to improve your business? Can you interact with customers through social media?