By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Panasonic has announced it is now utilising social media websites to interact and engage with inquisitive consumers. Twitter, YouTube and Facebook are the first sites to be harnessed, with televisions, cameras and Blu-ray players the central products of this move.

Advantages of this strategy are two-fold. For the consumer, they now have more media through which to ask questions and receive advice. This is particularly true of young Australians, who generally eschew telephone contact. For Panasonic, it means that more questions can be answered outside of call centres, which are traditionally more expensive to staff and run than an individual responding to electronic queries. However beneficial this may be, Panasonic has confirmed that it will not be reducing its current level of call centre staff.

“More and more people are turning to social media services to receive information about our products and we see this as an important addition to our customer service capability,” said Panasonic consumer care director Brett Buckingham. 

“This is another way that Panasonic is looking to help customers get the best possible experience from its wide range of products.”

Buckingham reported that a four-person Panasonic support team spent more than a month monitoring social media sites, recording the type of queries posted to sites and the answers provided.

Buckingham said he hoped the Panasonic customer support services would add to, rather than replace, the existing knowledge pool.

“It is incredible how well-versed consumers are about our products, with many queries being solved or at least answered by other members of social media networks around the world,” Buckingham said. 

“Our efforts can add to this consumer pool of knowledge – particularly when more information is needed or the customer wants to speak directly to the company. It is early days yet but it is also very exciting.”