Social Media - your first line of defense for customer service

In a recent BRANDWEEK article, blogger Shel Holtz makes an argument for customer service to be used as an organization's front line of public relations. Bad service experiences spread like wildfire through the blogosphere. Using the same channel as a way to get the word out about your company's good work should be a top communications priority.
"a blogger who has attained expert status among his readers is more influential than anything you do on your own site. That expert blogger has no problem ripping your company when his own experience is less than satisfactory...And nothing ticks off that expert blogger more than a frustrating encounter with customer service or tech support."
Holtz's recommendations are solid, although sad that these no-brainers need to be continually restated for those companies who still don't get it. The idea that every employee should be a customer service rep, that those reps should be seen as communicators, and that those people should go to the problem instead of waiting until the problem comes to them are not new ideas. But Holtz correctly explains that the voice of those who have bad (or good) experiences is more pervasive and more amplified than ever before, so you better take it seriously.

How to keep up with the massive amount of buzz online, and eventually use it to your advantage? We've reported before that there are ways to do this, most notably Crawdad Technologies. See our previous posts: Call it WOM, call it buzz, I call it the marketplace and Why companies better be paying attention to "Web 2.0".

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