Customer Service 2.0

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Photo credit: mensatic from morguefile.com

October opened with a nod of acknowledgement to the customer service industry. Since 1992, the first week of October has been celebrated in the United States as National Customer Service Week when Congress first proclaimed it a national event. The statement issued at that time by President George H. W. Bush noted the essential role customer service representatives play in connecting with customers, as evidenced by this excerpt:

A business built on customer service understands and anticipates the customer’s needs. It designs goods and services to meet those needs and builds products that perform to customer expectations. It then packages them carefully, labels them correctly, sells them at a fair price, delivers them as scheduled, and follows up, as necessary, to satisfy the customer. This kind of commitment to service leads to customer loyalty and to genuine improvements at the bottom line.

Consider the relevance that these words, spoken nearly 20 years ago, still have to customer experience today. Despite countless advances in social technology and online communication, listening and responding to the customer’s needs lie at the heart of exceptional customer service.

However, even if the underlying principles of customer service haven’t changed, consumers have.

One significant advantage on the side of the customers is the ability to quickly share and leverage their opinions of the service they receive, both good and bad. Just one customer can readily share a negative experience with hundreds of contacts on social networks, blogs, discussion forums, and rating sites. As a result, companies are eager to enter the social space as well to engage with customers, head off potential negative feedback, and earn customers’ loyalty.

Is your organization prepared to deliver the level of engagement expected by today’s highly networked, information-empowered Consumer 2.0?

In a recent report for Forrester Research, analyst Kate Leggett  explores various methods to Turbocharge Customer Service with Social Technologies. The report is worth reading in its entirety: it points out a number of strategies for implementing social technology without losing the consistency of your brand experience across channels, and without losing sight of the fact that social channels are, in essence, another method of delivering the same excellent customer service that should be delivered to customers via traditional channels.

Leggett will be presenting key elements of this report alongside Aspect in the upcoming webinar, “Forrester Viewpoint: Business 2.0 Imperatives for Consumer Engagement.” Register now and plan to attend on Wednesday, November 9, to hear best practices and emerging tactics for breaking down the customer communication silos in your organization.

It would be a mistake to expect today’s consumers to be the same consumers they were in 1992. But it would also be a mistake to assume social technology is a shortcut to customer satisfaction.

Join the thought leadership discussion, Forrester Viewpoint: Business 2.0 Imperatives for Consumer Engagement, and learn the steps you can take now to empower agents, enhance the customer experience, and leave customers with a positive impression of your brand.

Chris O'Brien