With online customer services, the consumer can be made to feel like an important person with some stake in the company and a personal tie to a flesh-and-blood representative. The fact that this can be accomplished with minimum effort on your company's part is a large part of the reason why social media services should be pursued if they haven't been already. Taking suggestions from an already engaged customer base can be a constructive way to build on existing enthusiasm.
Part of the reason outside solutions might be even more desirable is that even popular platforms like Twitter are certain to go through changes: contracting with specialists who know this and are able to help with transitions can help temporarily unfamiliar territory become a business' area of expertise.
A story in Slate has chronicled the new alterations brought to tweeters that allows interactions between different parties to be visually connected to make for easy reference among users. While users have been recorded speaking out against this feature, Slate author Will Oremus points out that this could provide greater context to interactions. This could have some benefits for customer service managers as well.
"Suddenly conversations between people you follow are the centerpiece of your timeline, taking aesthetic precedence over the one-liners by virtue of those blue festoons," Oremus writes. "And it feels like you're welcome to join in."
Tools like this might allow mobile messaging services to better organize discussions online with customers and, perhaps in the future, eliminate entirely the presence of automated "bot" responses by making it easy enough for live operators to take action themselves.