Customer service is one of those trendy things that should not be so trendy.

I’m like one of those internet dinosaurs, I can remember so far back in the “Commercialized Commerce” era of the internet (and before that, but no one really cares), that people were leery of doing customer support via email, and they actually wanted you to call them instead.

What?  Surely I jest!  (No, actually, I don’t.  Plenty of people told me email was a passing fad back then).

So I’m flipping through my inbox the other day and I come across a Mediapost article –

Brands Failing In Timely Response To Customers On Social Media

OMG, I am completely flummoxed with this one.  Like we have gotten to the point that we expect the companies that we deal with to have a Twitter squad that checks our hashtags 24 hours a day and responds to them instantly?  Or maybe the Facebook page monitor is falling down on the job if they haven’t assuaged our fragile egos in the four minutes since we posted a minor criticism of a product, or left a 3 star review.

Following this trend, the Sprout Index shows that the number of social messages needing a response from a brand has increased by 18% over the past year. In spite of the high volume of messages that require a response, brands reply to just 11% of people, says the report.

So then I notice another article about how Zendesk is adding a module for SMS support for brands.  So this one I can see, but again, the potential for abuse and missteps is just soooooo huge that it boggles my mind why anyone would want to do this.

When a text arrives, the agent views the conversation in Zendesk, just as they would an email ticket, the company says.

The promise here is that someone will be on the alert for all these other forms of communication, some of which are not particularly traceable and can’t really be put into the accountability chain properly.  Where does it end?  Facebook, Twitter, SMS, email, hey, let’s do Snapchat, maybe the messages will just disappear before anyone sees them…

[Tweet “It’s like having live chat on your site – if no one is there to chat, people get mad. “]

I admit that I’ve Tweeted at the cable company in the past, but when I’ve been emailing you and filling out support forms and you haven’t gotten back to me, three days is enough time for me to be patient.  It’s the equivalent of a nuclear strike, in my mind.

Be careful what you ask for, people, especially if you’re going to start toying with Skynet style communications.  The next thing you know, the bots will be running the show and we’ll all be sitting around trying to figure out where we went wrong.  Alright, not all of us, that’s for sure.