How would you scale online customer service and engagement?

Posted on | September 17, 2011 | 1 Comment

Wordle cloud from saarabergstrom.comI firmly believe in the “old” saying of Brian Solis from 2007: Customer service is the (new) marketing. New in parentheses because, it’s nothing new anymore that brands offer customer service though various social channels. I believe in listening to customers and fans. That often is the most valuable feedback you can get. I believe in making people happy.  Great customer service is great marketing.

Imagine a situation where you have a huge amount of fans and customers coming through all channels with feedback, questions, praise and criticism. Great! Means your fans are very passionate about your brand. But, imagine if the volumes are big, really big. How would you go about fan engagement and providing help with issues in a timely manner?

I’ve been trying to find good case examples of scaling community management operations and customer service online. I really haven’t found any tangible examples of companies who’ve solved this in a way that actually scales well.

If you can’t make it scalable, then what are the options? Treat everyone equally – Not do it at all and potentially your customers will think your brand is unfriendly and unresponsive? Do it a little, maybe talk to those who shout loudest and disappoint people who patiently wait for their issue to be fixed? Do it full-scale, hire a big community management team, which obviously comes with a cost. Nurture peer-to-peer communities where fans engage mostly with each other? Something else?

Many social strategists and social brand advocates speak about engagement, but I see an awful lot of one-directional communication and very few examples of companies who truly catch each and every question sent their way  let alone stepping outside their own domains and presences and reach out to people on their own domains.

So I have two questions I’d love to get new thoughts on:

  1. What do you think is the best or most creative example of a big brand that has resolved this in a way that makes sense for the business and makes the fans/customers happy too?
  2. Have you encountered popular FMCG or tech/services brands who choose not to jump onto the social bandwagon, but still seem to be loved by a lot of people? (Yes, I know Apple :-) )


One Response to “How would you scale online customer service and engagement?”

  1. On Making People Happy « Marenated
    November 18th, 2011 @ 18:33

    [...] people happy is at the heart of service. And the promise that you will make people happy is at the heart of marketing. IMHO, a good marketer will always try to keep that promise, no matter what. Me at [...]

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