Web 2.0 Expo Notes: Customer Service is the New Marketing

Lane Becker of GetSatisfaction.com talks about the online world where loyalty = profits & satisfaction = growth

In a session called “Customer Service is the New Marketing” at the Web 2.0 Expo today in NYC, Lane Becker (possibly the best speaker yet) talked about the importance of customer satisfaction.

According to Becker, “increasing customer retention by 5% increase profits by 25-29%”.

So what does this mean? According to Becker, it means listening to your audience. Not just waiting for the customercare@yourcompany.com email to roll in and solve a problem when someone brings it to your attention. The next step is to invite commentary and to find out who’s talking about you.

Becker brought up the infamous @comcastcares guy on Twitter. There are dozens, really dozens of Comcast hate websites. Well, one saavy Comcast customer service rep took it upon himself to search for Comcast on Twitter. Crazy thing, everyone was talking about Comcast, and not in a friendly way. Including popular tech blogger Michael Arrington from TechCrunch. Over the course of a weekend, @comcast had contacted and fixed Arrington’s Comcast problem. Soon after, Arrington blogged about it on TechCrunch.

Soon, everyone was directing their heat back at the poor @comcastcares guy, but even sooner he was being covered across the globe for this innovative customer service approach. Now, @comcastcares has 3,437 followers on Twitter, a full-time job in Twitter customer care, and a team to back him based on the fantastic results and feedback they’ve gotten for this.

So, what have we learned? Customers want to be heard. If you have a long-standing brand it’s possible you might get a backlash at first (in Publishing, I think it’s less likely) but the loyalty you will gain in return is invaluable.

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Three steps to start acting like a concierge:

1. Make conversation the center of the business – Some companies kill conversations with FAQ’s, outsourcing and call centers. Directing the conversation other than straight to you is troublesome. You should be looking for conversations, not trying to avoid them. Consider this Focus Groups 2.0 by engaging your evangelists first.

2. Reduce your sphere of control (to increase your sphere of influence) – You don’t have control over your brand, you only have the illusion of control. It’s easy to invite conversation by joining social networks, searching for yourself in Twitter and subscribing to a Google Alert that will notify you when you’re blogged about. The only way to gain back the control you so desire is to know who’s talking about you and to join the conversation.

3. Smash the silos (think like them) – The “it’s not our problem” problem is the biggest issue facing companies. Taking responsibility for both your positive and negative actions influences your online reputation. Your users will glady bring their thoughts to you, especially when they know you’re listening. Think about your own experiences in customer service before you start using the same ones you despise. Personalization and human interaction is key.

Learn the secrets behind today's most rapidly growing niche publishers. Download a FREE copy of How to Develop a Multiplatform Magazine Business Plan, and discover how large your magazine business could become and how much of an investment will be required to build your business to maturity.

More notes and quotes from the Web 2.0 Expo (and still more to be added so stay tuned):

A (Mostly) Free SEO Toolbox

7 Ways to Get Ranked in Google

Web 2.0 Supply & Demand Metrics

Is Web 2.0 Worth It?

Customer Service is the New Marketing

Why is SEO Important?

7 Reasons Why Search Engines Are Your Friends

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