We just finished a series of in-depth interviews with companies who are deploying social media as part of their business processes. Most initiatives were marketing based – and none were focused on deploying social media as part of customer service.
What is wrong with that picture?
Customer service is a perfect place for people to use social media – people love helping others, and at some point in the customer lifecycle, most people need help.
It is also ironic to realize that the biggest brand damage often occurs through a poor customer service experience.
So why are marketers not seeing that as a fertile ground for social interactions with customers and as a way to achieve some big marketing and brand benefits? Is it because marketers have grown myopic and no longer consider customer service as part of the brand experience? It is not because marketers do not actually run customer service that they should not consider it as an important touch-point between the company, the product and the customer. When looking at companies like Zappos or Tivo, where they have turned customer service into their main customer touch point, you realize that even if what you’re after is increased word of mouth or increased sales – customer service may be your best avenue.
Maybe I am just missing something…
Or maybe not – in most companies, customer service is treated as an expense, just like marketing…
It really should be an investment!