I posted a review of the Zappos book awhile ago and have been seeing an increasing number of thought leaders talking about leading with customer service; online. The premise, which is straight out of the Cluetrain Manifesto is that we’re back to a marketplace in the traditional sense only the medium happens to be online. This is made even more reasonable with us neck deep in the media social evolution. (Roughly half of all people in the US have a Facebook account and they spend 33% of their day there.) So if Zappos is showing us how it should be done, we should create a robust customer service on our site, right? Well maybe not.
As the importance of a Facebook and Twitter presence increases, businesses sites will eventually start to diminish in importance. (I’ll post about this soon.) You already have business outposts set up throughout the Interwebs. Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn and if leading with customer service becomes a real business need, then I’d suggest getting plugged into Get Satisfaction. This is a community/business founded on customer service that’s been around since 2007. When I interviewed the founders of Brightkite they indicated the key to their success was listening to their customers directly. (Insert duh here.) They did this through Twitter AND also sited Get Satisfaction as one of the main reasons for their success. (Also, when I submitted my site to Technorati, I used Get Satisfaction when my request was denied. The Technorati rep Juicy Peanut rocks.)
From their site, this is how they describe themselves:
Get Satisfaction was born out of Valleyschwag, a lark of an idea for distributing grab bags of leftover promotional goodies.
While initially designed to be a fun and frivolous side project, a surprising number of people signed up for the service, and the proprietors found themselves awash in thousands of customer-service requests. To their amazement, they weren’t able to find a suitable, inexpensive, online tool to host their community of customers. So they built one. The friendly online environment they created encouraged people to answer each others’ questions, pitch in to help solve problems, and share all kinds of new ideas about how to improve their product and processes.
If you’re a B2C business you should do some due diligence and see if Get Satisfaction is for you. Either way, embrace your customer now and all of their opinions!