Social Media and the evolution of Customer Service

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If you own or work for a business, there's a strong chance that customer service skills are an integral part of your role. Work in a call centre? You need to have a great telephone manner. Own a hairdressing business? You need to ensure you make customers feel welcome so that they'll come back to your salon instead of choosing the many other alternatives. Work in retail? You need to deliver service with a smile and look approachable. How you deliver customer service can be make or break when it comes to customer loyalty. Our High Streets are saturated with companies who deliver the same services and sell the same products, so the way in which we are handled as customers can determine where we want to spend our hard earned money.

Gone are the days where your loyalty lay with the local greengrocer, your neighbour the home auto repair technician, or your friend's cousin who worked in the corner shop. In today's world of Twitter, Facebook and E-mail where instant customer reviews are so accessible, plus the 'internet start up generation' creating more competition than you can shake a stick at, excellent customer service is more imperative than ever. People will complain at the drop of a hat, because it only takes them two seconds to do so. I'm guilty of it myself. And because my tweet gets sent out into the ether instantly, I expect an instant reply or resolution. Where I would not previously have complained about a poorly made item of clothing, I find myself tweeting companies about a shirt I bought that ripped after 10 minutes wear, or an expensive jacket that developed a hole. I've tweeted about buses that ran early, meals out that weren't worth the money, and companies whose automated phone lines left me clutching my mobile in a state of rage for what felt like 2 and a half hours. But as the old adage goes, it's about how the companies deal with the complaints that matter.

So when a Hen Party descended upon 47 King Street West Restaurant in Manchester and complained about the service they received, the owners responded in a helpful, professional and courteous manner as you would expect:

47 King Street West Manchester Bad Customer Service

47 King Street West Manchester Bad Customer Service

...Or not. What on Earth were they thinking? How, in any way, was this response appropriate for a business that needs customers to come in and hand over their money in order to succeed? Branding their customers "trash", "bottom of the barrel", "chavs" and "vile" in a personal attack on a party of people who spent £600 in their restaurant.... good move. I honestly cannot believe my eyes. Interestingly the restaurant have now deleted all of their social media pages because they are too cowardly to put up with the inevitable backlash that will be caused by these screenshots going viral. I will be very surprised if this restaurant manage to stay in business; if I lived locally I would certainly not be handing over any of my wages to a family that clearly do not value the customers whose money lines their own pockets! The constant stream of comments in reply to the Hen Party's constructive criticism is childish and in extremely bad taste. Looks like this restaurant's owners are out of touch with social media and the benefits/detrimental effects it can have on your business. Either that or they're just unbelievably rude arseholes. Probably a bit of both.

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