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Thoughts On Social Media Automation And Its Consequences.

The Customer Strikes Back.


I should start this article by saying these are my own views and don’t necessarily represent the views of @LeemarDigital, Now that is out the way let’s get to the crux of the matter.


In an age where anyone with a Twitter account can voice an opinion to 1000’s of users, the motto “the customer is always right” has made a triumphant return.  No more can a company make mistakes without a negative review being posted on TrustPilot, we have even made it to the unfortunate stage of this legitimate review of a zoo making it into The Huffington Post:


“The animals at the zoo looked very sad and it made our children cry. Can’t they train them to smile?”


I believe that if i am aware of this fact, then other small businesses with an internet presence may share my fears.


Barely a week goes by that we don’t see boycott hashtags flowing through the Twittersphere, you can even search for trending ones here:


Now we know multi national organisations can afford this criticism, being able to hire PR guru’s and expert lawyers, these things simply aren’t in reach of smaller business owners and it is for this reason i still haven’t come to fully believe in automation.  Now this may sound odd coming from someone who makes their money selling automation solutions, however i promise i will explain myself.


As a company we have come from the other side of the tracks as it were, with both managing partners working for an eCommerce company where we write content and handle IT issues, although it is not a common occurrence we have witnessed customer complaints coming into the sales department.


Being privy overtime to both complaints dealt with using automated response techniques and complaints being dealt with by a sales assistant.  I can say with 100% honesty that complaints dealt with by an actual person resulted in a happier customer and a more efficient and effective fix to the problem.


The reasoning behind this is my opinion is the human’s ability to empathize with the customer, AI in its current state, will not be able to offer a diplomatic solution to issue as while we are able to create intelligent bot solutions that can talk and interact with a customer we are still far from sentience, especially at a scale that could be used commercially, Without this empathy there can never be a middle ground for the AI, we can only be left with a positive or negative solution. Without empathy there can be no compromise and without compromise only one side can be happy and it stands to reason an AI’s loyalty would lie with its owner.


So are you saying scrap automation ?


Absolutely not, Automation has a number of benefits, the first being the massive amount of time and money saved, you can use several techniques to grow your following through the means of automation, from favouriting and retweeting content based on keywords of your choosing, the benefit of not having to track down all the top content within your industry , simply key in your industry related keywords and supply great content to your followers, a feature we honestly couldn’t live without.


Hybrid Social Media Management


What i am suggesting is, Hybrid Social Media Management, we need to take the best of both worlds and combine them to create outstanding customer service. Automation can be used to handle the increase in growth and engagement by automatically sending out our content, we can also implement measures to account for following a user back based on a variety of factors.  We can now go as far as to schedule our posts using multiplatform software like Buffer and Hootsuite.  We can then further use automation to take care of queues, but we need that human aspect there, a human has real world experience, can see events as they happen and then communicate about them, whereas an AI will be unaware of this new information until it is entered leaving it lagging behind. A human can come to a civil resolution to a problem with a customer where as a bot cannot, for example a customer has purchased Item A from a Web Store , they have had the goods outside the time frame covered by distance selling law and now wish to return them. In the process of the AI , the terms and conditions will state the customer cannot return and that will be the end of the matter, potentially angering the customer and leading to a bad review. If that same issue however is handled by a sales assistant working for Web Store they may have it in their power to take Item A back into stock at a charge agreed on by the customer and thus creating a resolution where both sides are happy.


By adhering to these techniques i think it will become clear that your client base, audience or following are happier, you will also be helping to keep a job role active, when even huge companies like McDonald’s are now replacing counter staff with touch screen computer systems.


It is very hard for a customer to feel valued if they can’t build a rapport with the staff, a touch screen wont ask you about your day while making you a coffee, they won’t comfort you should you have an accident in store and as far as the touch screen is concerned you are no more than £7.00 and a Large Big Mac Meal.


If for example your Web Developer were seeing you as nothing more than a monthly paycheck, you would start looking around for someone new, someone who shows passion in their work, someone who can get behind your ideas, expand on them, and help you create your dream. By only using AI I feel user interaction and growth can only stagnate, leaving a social network as a minefield of untargeted Ads and bots talking to bots.


In Conclusion


To conclude if you would like vision of an automated future, think back to the last phone call you had where you were left on hold with only the monotonous drone of “Your call is important to us” to keep you company.  Did you enjoy that call ? Would you enjoy that experience online ? If you answered No to both of my questions, I think you would agree that Hybrid Social Media Marketing is the perfect way to conduct yourselves online.


Many Thanks For Reading

Leemar Digital

Find Us On Twitter: @LeemarDigital


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