The Social Customer Service Resource Round-up

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Smart thinking on social customer service from around the web
Social media is fundamentally changing how and where we serve customers today. The separation between buyer and seller is becoming narrower than ever. And the ability for customers to have their say (and reach thousands of others in the process) should not be underestimated.

Smart thinkers are coming at the issue from a wide range of angles, so we thought we’d share some of them with you in this round-up.

Social customer service themes

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As we reviewed the material, a few themes emerged:

  • Social customer service is both better AND cheaper In these days of intense focus on the bottom line, social customer service is one of the few areas with doing the cheaper thing means doing the better thing for both your customers and your business.
  • Social customer service is a silo-busterIf we’re really to put customers at the heart of customer service, it’s vital that we reach across departments. There is no other way.
  • Social customer service is a team gameIt can’t be us versus the customer, it must be us and the customer working towards a common goal.
  • Culture mattersYou can’t simply paste ‘good’ customer service (social or otherwise) over a poor culture, it needs to go deeper into the company DNA.

Social customer services resources

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Now for the resources. Hope you like them:

Customer Service in the Age of Social Media
In this ebook, our own Radian6 team look at the importance of placing the customer back at the heart of customer service. They examine just what drives today’s customers and what customer service needs to do to close an ever-widening gap. Highly recommended (even if we’re a bit biased).

“Online social communications have changed the way people seek out services and products and choose to shop, and although the foundations of customer service were built to appeal to our social nature, many businesses will have to reshape their corporate cultures and customer service initiatives to take these new forms of communication, opinion sharing, and shopping into account.”


How to make customer service matter again
Brian Solis has an excellent two-part post exploring the conflict between how companies traditionally look to cut costs in customer service and customers’ frustration in the resulting experience:

“Customer service is often viewed through a lens of ‘us vs. them.’ Businesses have built an incredibly expensive infrastructure to support customers when they need help while keeping them at arm’s length. However, connected customers have given up on these aging systems and are pushing for a more personalised form of engagement.”


What consumers want from online customer service
This is an interesting piece of research from Artificial Solutions. They asked 1,500 European consumers what’s important in online customer service. The results are clear:

  • 9 out of 10 consumers think they get a poor experience with customer support either via the web, phone or email
  • 96% go to the website first for help instead of calling
  • 86% claim a negative website experience would stop them from returning (89% of these would go to a competitor)

For more on this area, check out the Harvard Business Review article referenced below.


How to measure social media ROI
In this 6-minute video, Dr Natalie Petouhoff talks about how easy it is to calculate the metrics that matter in determining the return you can get on investing in social customer service. Short, sweet and incredibly useful.


Customer service is the new marketing – Slideshare presentation
Lane Becker of Get Satisfaction demonstrates what it means to both get it wrong and get it right with today’s social customer.

“Increasing customer retention by 5% increases profits by 25-95%”


The customer has power podcast
This edition from BusinessWeek’s Customer Service Champs podcast, features an interview with Pete Blackshaw, author of Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000. In it, Pete talks about developing clearer customer profiles that reflect their social reach and connectedness. It’s a little dated on Twitter but still 11’23” well spent.


Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, and Transform Your Business by Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler
In this book, Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler explore the impact social ideas and practices are having on today’s businesses. They have a whole chapter on, ‘groundswell customer service’ where they detail how a number of companies – Comcast, Dell, Intuit, Zappos – have evolved to thrive in the social world. Highly recommended.


Service and Social Media: You’re Not Social (Enough)
A good overview article by DestinationCRM.com covering communities, forums, contact centres and some future gazing as well.

“When it comes to deploying forums, it’s the simple, small things that count. Customers want two things out of online forums, argues Dan Ziman, director of marketing programmes for Lithium: instant gratification and proof that companies are actually using their commentary.”

Also worth a look:

Reflections on the social customer – socialcustomer.com
Who owns the social customer? – DestinationCRM.com
Stop trying to delight your customers – Harvard Business Review
The art of customer service – Guy Kawasaki
Twitter, the customer connector – Make or Break Moments blog


Don’t forget these Social Sales resources from Salesforce.com:
The Social-Powered Enterprise Portal
Harnessing the power of social media for your business

The Social-Powered Enterprise eBook
Our free 25 page eBook will teach you how Social Media is transforming your 3 most important disciplines, Customer Service, Sales and Marketing.

How can I help? The mini-guide to social customer service from Salesforce.com
Today, social media is turning customer service and support on its head. In this mini-guide, we’re going to give you an overview of this new business landscape. We’ll highlight what’s happening and what it means for your business.

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