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While many businesses remain resistant (or reticent) to adopting a social strategy, a number have done so and its use is beginning to mature.

South African successes include Woolworths and Vodacom amongst others.  These brands have definitely got the idea that they must respond and by and large posts on their Facebook pages receive a response within an hour or two.  In addition complaints are dealt with politely and quickly.  Their handling of such is transparent and public which helps to build trust and credibility.

I believe, though in 2012 social interaction must go a lot further and, in fact, go beyond being merely a touch point of customer contact but rather a fully functional client service platform where queries, even those of a technical nature, are dealt with through social channels.

We’ve all been through the frustration of trying to find information about our accounts or new product offerings and getting lost in confusing websites and drop down menus.  Or worse, trying the automated response phone calls where it takes 4 minutes to find you’ve pressed 3 instead of 4 and need to start again.

Imagine submitting your query through Twitter or Facebook and receiving expert, live response.  This would be the ultimate in customer service.  And service trumps marketing every time.

We’ve become so used to receiving slow service it seems the norm, where in fact, it is more and more foreign in a connected world.  Why can’t I request my cellphone upgrade on Facebook and rapidly receive all I need to know about current deals available? Once my decision is made I would literally arrive at a service providers front end store where all paperwork is prepared. I simply sign and leave.  3-10 minutes.

This particular example is particular germane to me since I spent an entire morning at Vodaworld on Tuesday getting a handset upgrade.  I waited an hour and 10 minutes to be served.  Getting a data bundle however would entail anther 30-60 minute wait in another queue.

Social interaction with customers must become production and service points, far beyond the standard touch point and a polite and social rep that tells me to go to my nearest store to get help.

How do you think social can improve customer support and service?  Let me know in the comments.