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Is Social Media A Fundamental Shift for Customer Service?

Posted on : 27-01-2010 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Customer Service, Social Media

7

As I am sitting here preparing for my keynote at the Call Center Summit in Orlando I keep thinking about this question.  I have seen a fascination with social media uses by companies, and a quest for the best possible direction for them to take.  In the past year I have seen more and more companies come to the  realization that a key aspect for social media is service related.  I applaud them for coming to this realization, but I have to wonder why it has taken so long.
So is social media a fundamental shift in the way your organization handles Customer Service?  Is it a shift in your own mind regarding Customer Service?  If it is, I hope you are not in the Customer Service field.  I am sitting here wondering why companies and individuals feel this way.  Isn’t the most basic building block of Customer Service helping those in need?  I think we have forgotten this most basic tenet of Customer Service.  Today I will be asking the audience why they like this field and how they are leading the organization from a Customer Service perspective.
Yesterday I picked up Seth Godin’s new book “Linchpin: Are you Indispensable.”  I was shocked to see the kind mention I received (Thank you Seth!).  As I started to read it I thought “oh no, now we are going to have chaos as people strive to become artists. ”  But as I read on I started to see what Seth has always known.  Today’s work environment is still the same as it was during the industrial age.  We are cogs in this wheel of life, and there are very few that break through this mold to become Linchpins.  Since you have not read it yet (and I recommend you do), you can think of the leadership as the industrialist and the rest as factory workers doing a process.  The Linchpin is the factory worker who steps in and redefines the organization, product or process.  Today we may view the Linchpin as a trouble maker or someone stirring the pot, but as Seth points out they are more the visionary or artist drawing and shaping the future.
What does Linchpin have to do with Customer Service?  Everything.  In many organizations Customer Service is the true representation of the factory worker.  Every answer scripted, step by step process during every call.  Rigid structure with talk time, handle time, schedule adherence, script adherence, and the list goes on and on and on.  There was a time when this was not as true.  We did not make the job a process but an opportunity for this factory worker to build a relationship, take ownership and in shocking news, help the Customer.  As we built Customer Service into this machine, we further distanced the bourgeoisie, I mean company leadership, from the Customer.  I think the trouble is for too long people in this field have been the cogs in the wheel.  The challenge to this is the cogs did not let the industrialist know what was broken or how to fix it.  They did what they needed to do.  In some cases the industrialist did not even care it was broken, at least until the bottom line was impacted.  Of course many time it was too late at that point.
So back to the question, is it a shift in fundamentals?  No, but it is a return to a more simpler time when Customer Service was really about helping Customers.  Novel idea!I am sitting here preparing for my keynote at the Call Center Summit in Orlando I keep thinking about this question.  I have seen a fascination with social media uses by companies, and a quest for the best possible direction for them to take.  In the past year I have seen more and more companies come to the  realization that a key aspect for social media is service related.  I applaud them for coming to this realization, but I have to wonder why it has taken so long.
So is social media a fundamental shift in the way your organization handles Customer Service?  Is it a shift in your own mind regarding Customer Service?  If it is, I hope you are not in the Customer Service field.  I am sitting here wondering why companies and individuals feel this way.  Isn’t the most basic building block of Customer Service helping those in need?  I think we have forgotten this most basic tenet of Customer Service.  Today I will be asking the audience why they like this field and how they are leading the organization from a Customer Service perspective.
Yesterday I picked up Seth Godin’s new book “Linchpin: Are you Indispensable.”  I was shocked to see the kind mention I received (Thank you Seth!).  As I started to read it I thought “oh no, now we are going to have chaos as people strive to become artists. ”  But as I read on I started to see what Seth has always known.  Today’s work environment is still the same as it was during the industrial age.  We are cogs in this wheel of life, and there are very few that break through this mold to become Linchpins.  Since you have not read it yet (and I recommend you do), you can think of the leadership as the industrialist and the rest as factory workers doing a process.  The Linchpin is the factory worker who steps in and redefines the organization, product or process.  Today we may view the Linchpin as a trouble maker or someone stirring the pot, but as Seth points out they are more the visionary or artist drawing and shaping the future.
What does Linchpin have to do with Customer Service?  Everything.  In many organizations Customer Service is the true representation of the factory worker.  Every answer scripted, step by step process during every call.  Rigid structure with talk time, handle time, schedule adherence, script adherence, and the list goes on and on and on.  There was a time when this was not as true.  We did not make the job a process but an opportunity for this factory worker to build a relationship, take ownership and in shocking news, help the Customer.  As we built Customer Service into this machine, we further distanced the bourgeoisie, I mean company leadership, from the Customer.  I think the trouble is for too long people in this field have been the cogs in the wheel.  The challenge to this is the cogs did not let the industrialist know what was broken or how to fix it.  They did what they needed to do.  In some cases the industrialist did not even care it was broken, at least until the bottom line was impacted.  Of course many time it was too late at that point.
So back to the question, is it a shift in fundamentals?  No, but it is a return to a more simpler time when Customer Service was really about helping Customers.  Novel ideaAs I am sitting here preparing for my keynote at the Call Center Summit in Orlando I keep thinking about this question.  I have seen a fascination with social media uses by companies, and a quest for the best possible direction for them to take.  In the past year I have seen more and more companies come to the  realization that a key aspect for social media is service related.  I applaud them for coming to this realization, but I have to wonder why it has taken so long.
So is social media a fundamental shift in the way your organization handles Customer Service?  Is it a shift in your own mind regarding Customer Service?  If it is, I hope you are not in the Customer Service field.  I am sitting here wondering why companies and individuals feel this way.  Isn’t the most basic building block of Customer Service helping those in need?  I think we have forgotten this most basic tenet of Customer Service.  Today I will be asking the audience why they like this field and how they are leading the organization from a Customer Service perspective.
Yesterday I picked up Seth Godin’s new book “Linchpin: Are you Indispensable.”  I was shocked to see the kind mention I received (Thank you Seth!).  As I started to read it I thought “oh no, now we are going to have chaos as people strive to become artists. ”  But as I read on I started to see what Seth has always known.  Today’s work environment is still the same as it was during the industrial age.  We are cogs in this wheel of life, and there are very few that break through this mold to become Linchpins.  Since you have not read it yet (and I recommend you do), you can think of the leadership as the industrialist and the rest as factory workers doing a process.  The Linchpin is the factory worker who steps in and redefines the organization, product or process.  Today we may view the Linchpin as a trouble maker or someone stirring the pot, but as Seth points out they are more the visionary or artist drawing and shaping the future.
What does Linchpin have to do with Customer Service?  Everything.  In many organizations Customer Service is the true representation of the factory worker.  Every answer scripted, step by step process during every call.  Rigid structure with talk time, handle time, schedule adherence, script adherence, and the list goes on and on and on.  There was a time when this was not as true.  We did not make the job a process but an opportunity for this factory worker to build a relationship, take ownership and in shocking news, help the Customer.  As we built Customer Service into this machine, we further distanced the bourgeoisie, I mean company leadership, from the Customer.  I think the trouble is for too long people in this field have been the cogs in the wheel.  The challenge to this is the cogs did not let the industrialist know what was broken or how to fix it.  They did what they needed to do.  In some cases the industrialist did not even care it was broken, at least until the bottom line was impacted.  Of course many time it was too late at that point.
So back to the question, is it a shift in fundamentals?  No, but it is a return to a more simpler time when Customer Service was really about helping Customers.  Novel idea!

As I am sitting here preparing for my keynote at the Call Center Summit in Orlando I keep thinking about this question.  I have seen a fascination with social media uses by companies, and a quest for the best possible direction for them to take.  In the past year I have seen more and more companies come to the realization that a key aspect for social media is service related.  I applaud them for coming to this realization, but I have to wonder why it has taken so long.

So is social media a fundamental shift in the way your organization handles Customer Service?  Is it a shift in your own mind regarding Customer Service?  If it is, I hope you are not in the Customer Service field.  I am sitting here wondering why companies and individuals feel this way.  Isn’t the most basic building block of Customer Service helping those in need?  I think we have forgotten this most basic tenet of Customer Service.  Today I will be asking the audience why they like this field and how they are leading the organization from a Customer Service perspective.

Yesterday I picked up Seth Godin’s new book “Linchpin: Are you Indispensable.”  I was shocked to see the kind mention I received (Thank you Seth!).  As I started to read it I thought “oh no, now we are going to have chaos as people strive to become artists. ”  But as I read on I started to see what Seth has always known.  Today’s work environment is still the same as it was during the industrial age.  We are cogs in this wheel of life, and there are very few that break through this mold to become Linchpins.  Since you have not read it yet (and I recommend you do), you can think of the leadership as the industrialist and the rest as factory workers doing a process.  The Linchpin is the factory worker who steps in and redefines the organization, product or process.  Today we some may view the Linchpin as a trouble maker or someone stirring the pot, but as Seth points out they are more the visionary or artist drawing and shaping the future.  

What does Linchpin have to do with Customer Service?  Everything.  In many organizations Customer Service is the true representation of the factory worker.  Every answer scripted, step by step process during every call.  Rigid structure with talk time, handle time, schedule adherence, script adherence, and the list goes on and on and on.  There was a time when this was not as true.  We did not make the job a process but an opportunity for this factory worker to build a relationship, take ownership and in shocking news, help the Customer.  As we built Customer Service into this machine, we further distanced the bourgeoisie, I mean company leadership, from the Customer.  I think the trouble is for too long people in this field have been the cogs in the wheel.  The challenge to this is the cogs did not let the industrialist know what was broken or how to fix it.  They did what they needed to do.  In some cases the industrialist did not even care it was broken, at least until the bottom line was impacted.  Of course many times it was too late at that point.

So back to the question, is social media a fundamental shift for Customer Service?  If your answer is yes, than that is a sign that you need to relook at your service organization’s goals.  Customer service number one focus must be helping the Customer first and foremost.  Novel idea!

If you have the chance join us on Thursday, January 28 for the Social Media Today webinar “The Future of Customer Service is Here