Friday, May 23, 2008

Customers can get Satisfaction - with Sunshine Socialutions

Meetings for government at all levels are covered by sunshine laws, which require opening to public view and access meetings and records regarding those meetings for public officials and organizations in a variety of scenarios.

In a previous post, we identified the term Customer Powered Service as service that is shaped by the customer . . . driven from outside the business to inside and designed to make the customer successful, not just to make support staff more efficient.

We suggested that Customer Powered Service should be seen as a return to the mindset of the marketplace . . . the empowering of the customer. We noted that Customer Powered Service was not just about the customer -- it's also about the service!

Get Satisfaction has been promoted recently in the blogworld as a direct connection between people and companies that fosters problem-solving, promotes sharing, and builds up relationships.

That sounds a whole lot like a Socialution!

Let's take a random look at the 1st and 10th ranked companies on the Fortune 100 - Wal-Mart and ATT.

Wal-Mart on Get Satisfaction had one active topic (7 months old at the time of this post). ATT, on the other hand, had 37 posts on Get Satisfaction, with the newest one 3 days before this post.

So what's that mean?

Is there a better customer service plan for Wal-Mart on the Internet than there is for ATT? Are more of ATT's customers likely to have Internet access? Perhaps Wal-Mart has better customer service, or maybe their customer's don't expect as much as ATT's customers do?

We'll leave those questions in the rhetorical category for now - check out the Get Satisfaction blog for updates. If you want to see what we've been doing, check out the Business Week article entitled “Consumer Vigilantes“, which looks at creative ways "we the people" are using social media to address the issues. Or, check out Jay Deragon's recent post, where he observed that businesses are spending time and money trying to figure out how to engage customers.

Otherwise, please permit me to change the conversation from what has been to what could be.

In the social web we see today, the problem with getting in touch with someone from customer service is inexcusable. There are a variety of ways that we can contact each other -- phone, text message, email, snail mail, fax, and . . . oh yeah . . . meeting in person. But once companies cross that Rubicon, then what?

Here's a novel idea . . .

Customer Service can be provided by joint-venturing with the customers, in real time, out in the open.

Imagine a strategy session broadcast live over the Internet where customers could engage (perhaps in chat, initially, monitored and verbally reported by someone present in the meeting). While the face-to-face discussion is under way, a parallel discussion is going on in the chat, and the C2M (Customer Communications Monitor) stops the live meeting to draw attention to the chat conversation.

The strategizers are intrigued, so they offer the virtual podium to the customers by way of Skyping them in?

Too far-fetched, you say?

That's the Relationship Economy!

What do you think?


carterfsmith said...

Wow -- speaking of Customer Service -- see Mark Kerrigan's post and my comment on “Lowe’s Home Improvement Doesn’t “Get it!””

carterfsmith said...

and C.C. Chapman podcasts kudos to Comcast while wondering why more companies don't get it . . .