I recently experienced a frustrating interaction with a Customer Service department that was rendered ineffective because it depended on feedback from staff it could not control. My luggage was lost somewhere during a 2 connection flight on 2 different airlines. The worldwide tracking tool was supposed to provide me and the customer service department regular updates on the status of my delayed bag. While the bag did finally show up (damaged) the tracking tool was not updated as it should have been leading to severe anxiety on my part (the customer) and multiple calls to a customer service organization (unproductive use of the call center). There are important lessons to be learned from this failed process.

Customers who are unhappy tell their friends about it. With social media, that information spreads faster than ever before.

We also know that some customers who are happy tell their friends, write reviews and spread the word using traditional new internet techniques as well.

The real challenge is how to turn satisfied customers into these ‘advocates’ or ‘promoters’. An advocate actively spreads positive word of mouth about their experiences. An advocate can help your organization obtain new customers and prospects.

American Express has been focused on improving the number of customers who are ‘promoters’ and would recommend them to family and friends. Here is how they changed their culture to accomplish this mission.

The real challenge is how to turn satisfied customers into these ‘advocates’ or ‘promoters’.

Cisco, a large manufacturer of hardware and software for the IT and consumer industry has announced a new product called SocialMiner, a social media customer care solution that can help companies proactively respond to customers and prospects communicating through public social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, or other public forums or blogging sites with RSS feeds. Cisco is entering a crowded market of social media monitoring tools, but due to its size and reach, it is legitimizing the need for a solution to monitor customer satisfaction on the web.

Social Media is changing the customer service discipline in many ways. We are now seeing the emergence of Certification courses to ensure customer service personnel have the right skills to engage in Social Media activities on behalf of their organization. There is an implied assumption that the organizations has a strategy and policies to deal with social media. Those policies needs to be communicated as well.

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