Posted on : 09-12-2008 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Customer Service, Social Media
Tags: Customer Service, Social Media
Engaging in Social Media is not redefining Customer Service, but rather what people think of Customer Service. To start lets look at what Customer Service really is. In an effort to do this I started by Googling the term “Customer Service Definitions.” Many of the definitions I found made me laugh. I am starting to see why Customer Service is lacking throughout the country. It is interesting that many of them were missing key components or focusing on sales, the company or other ancillary business aspect. To me it is simple. It is the manner that you build long term relationships with your Customers. This is done through every interaction a Customer has with your company, including use of the products, interactions with your systems (such as your website), reviewing marketing material or talking to anyone representing your company in any forum (phone, in person (even at a party), email, chat, etc). Even when the Customer is writing the check or using their banks online bill pay service, this is Customer Service.
What I found most interesting is many of the definitions seem to focus on complaints, people interactions or sales. This is missing the boat. If you purchase from Amazon, one of the main Customer Service points is when the shipment arrives at your door. If it is damaged or late, you will consider it to be a poor service experience. But if it the shipping time exceeds your expectations you will be wowed.
This is why I am a firm believer that everyone in any organization is part of the Customer Service function. Do you feel that you are part of Customer Service? Or do you look down on people that work in this function? If you do it is time for you to adjust that attitude.
Now this brings me to the topic of the post. I have seen a lot of press and blog posts about the efforts of my team on the web. I have always been surprised by this because I do not see what I am doing as that special. If you review how I defined Customer Service, you will notice that I believe it is everyone’s responsibility to talk with Customers. I also believe that it is important to be where they are when possible. The internet provides that ability.
To me if I hear someone talking about the company I work for I always offer to help. I have done this at parties, on the street, and one time in a Verizon Wireless store. I never have done it in a negative way. I would just say let me assist, here is my business card. My business card has my email, office phone and my cell phone clearly listed on it. It is very simple. “Let me know if I can help.”
So now we look at engagement in social media spaces. In many cases I write simple messages, “Can I help” or “Thank you.” I do not use the time to sell which many marketers have tried to do. Yet these simple acknowledgements have led to many sales. The key is to be genuine and willing to sincerely listen and help. I never press, I simply provide the opportunity for someone to obtain assistance. For me if I saw someone who wanted or needed help anywhere, I would be happy to assist. As many of you know I have been known to do this many hours of the day, but that is because if I see someone that needs help, and if I can, I will.
So our online activity has caused a little buzz at times, but it is never redefined my definition of Customer Service. What occurred is some people never thought of social media and Customer Service so it appeared new to them. It redefined their thought on Customer Service. That to me is exciting and it is part of the overall shift I think we are seeing in the way people and companies view Customers Service. The definition is becoming more clear. What do you think?