How to Own Your Customer Service Experience

It’s the secret of every wildly successful business, and the keystone to profitable growth.  Those who have it, thrive. Those who don’t, have a very hard time keeping up with competition. Wouldn’t you want to have it, too?

How you fulfill an experience in customer service is the other side of the authenticity coin in the digital age. It is a better spent dollar with a higher return than some traditional ad buys. It has higher value to your business than a bland lead generation campaign. It does more to keep you top of mind than a succession of press releases.

Where do you get started?

Put your customers first, just do it, not merely say it. Digital media is an opportunity to bring back the human side of your business. The opportunity for innovation here is tremendous, and it can benefit your bottom line directly. It is not a straight line. Innovation by definition is disruptive.

The demand for conversation with and by brands and organizations is being initiated by consumers. 85% of Americans believe that in addition to being present, companies should interact with customers via social media (Cone Consulting, 2008 Business Social Media Study). It is those brands that react, activate and engage that will benefit, especially in tough times.

But it’s not only about being reactive. Innovation is awaiting you in the proactive arena. The opportunity comes to those businesses that are willing to transform customer service and customer experience from cost center to stardom. Don’t just do what the masses tell you, though. Do more.

Think about adding soft-service value to everything that touches your customers. Work on how you can connect the dots for your customers to make them successful, not just even. Wrap solid content (information) and/or fun (entertainment) around every customer interaction. Own your customer service experience.

But, there is more. To stretch your business, you want to embrace those customers who have unusual ideas. The masses seldom anticipate the next big thing - that is your job. Thanks to social media, you now have the opportunity to uncover those 2-3% of your customers who could really help push weird ideas into the realm of possibility.

Your most upset customers could be your number one source of innovative ideas. Their challenge means that there might be a different way. They take the time to be upset and to tell the world because they care. Are you listening? Are you getting upset? Good! Now go ahead and innovate. That is how you own your customer service experience. It’s not a matter of just checking the box. There is no box anymore.

Valeria Maltoni • Conversation Agent

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  • Valeria Maltoni

    Thank you, David, for your very thoughtful comment. Indeed, when things are not going so well, when we feel pressure, as in uncertain economic times, we become even more argumentative. So I do expect customer service to really take center stage. Perhaps my next post should be on how to avoid employee/company social media burnout.

  • David Alston

    This is bang on Valeria. I especially like this line "It is those brands that react, activate and engage that will benefit, especially in tough times." Many brands are going to be pressured to reduce the amount of money they are investing in marketing and PR. So will they see social media listening and engagement as a "marketing experiment" or will they see this as a natural extension of their customer relationship building (support, sales, partnerships etc...)? Will customers be any less likely to be sharing opinions/likes/dislikes/issues/needs online during a recession or more? I'm thinking *more* since the use of consumer generated media continues to climb and in bad times people will certainly have lots to get off their chest. And let's not forget the age old saying "when all things are equal people will buy from people they like, that they have a relationship with." Social media is by its very nature not a media - it's about relationships. So if consumer spending is going to be tighter over the next little while, I would only expect most brands would love to have that "relationship" to their advantage.

    Thanks for challenging all of us to be thinking about social media from a customer service experience perspective.