Web 2.0 is Changing the Dynamics of Customer Service
Web 2.0 is an Internet phenomenon that is transforming the world of customer service. Broadly defined, Web 2.0 describes the evolving use of the Internet as a technology platform to enhance functionality, communications and collaboration. It enables masses of always-on, always-connected people to build relationships based on common interests and shared content. By enhancing communications and information-sharing, it has a profound impact on the way in which companies, customers and prospects interact. The most prevalent Web 2.0 applications are technologies such as social networks (Twitter, Facebook), blogs (LiveJournal, MySpace), online communities (Yahoo Groups, Del.icio.us), user-generated content (YouTube, CNN iReport), widgets (WidgetBox, Snipperoo) and wikis (Wikipedia). Social networking technologies are here to stay and the market is strong and growing.
Leveraging Unsolicited Feedback
Customer service organizations should take notice that Web 2.0 is transforming the way customers are expressing themselves. Customers are using the Web to broadcast their frustrations and to seek solutions to their problems by tapping into the power of online communities. Consumers are demanding immediate resolution to almost all of their issues and concerns. This demonstrates how the Internet and Web 2.0 social networking applications are changing the dynamics of customer service in the 21st century. Contact centers have to keep pace with changing technologies and customer preferences. Customers are using these technologies and if contact centers do not begin to use them too, they will risk losing customers, or worse, will be surprised when they find themselves to be the target of negative publicity.
The contact center is the primary point of interaction between a customer and a company. Contact center managers must seize the opportunity to leverage the unsolicited feedback provided by social networking applications and use this information to develop systems, services, processes and channels to support customers in the age of Web 2.0. Companies that implement these technologies are broadening their relationships with customers by offering them service in their preferred channel.
Building Deeper and Lasting Relationships through Social Networking
Using these technologies contact center managers can improve customer service, enhance the customer experience, reduce call volume, collect new ideas, augment information flow, rapidly share information, educate and update the public, expand relationships with customers and enhance the company’s brand. More specifically, these technologies allow companies to identify and solve customer service issues via community forums, providing one-to-many type responses. Community forums are a great place for companies to solicit customer feedback on products and services in an informal, unstructured and friendly manner. When companies use social networking sites, they’ve join in conversations and can address rumors and innuendo about the company before the discussions get out of control. This “early warning” function helps mitigate loss of consumer confidence by heading off negative publicity.
A new generation of customers and agents use Web 2.0 technologies as their primary means of communication. A growing percentage of customers are not satisfied with static websites and telephones as their primary means of interacting with a company. In the age of Web 2.0, customers want instant access to interactive and real-time information, and they want to be able to choose whichever device or channel is most convenient for them at the moment. Contact centers that respond by making themselves available via phone, email, Web self-service and Web 2.0 technologies will develop deeper and more profitable relationships with customers and prospects.
As 2008 comes to an end, we want to take this opportunity to thank you for sharing our passion for improving the way companies interact with, market, sell and service their customers. We expect 2009 to be very challenging and we’ll do everything we can to share ideas that will help you come out of the coming year stronger than you went in. We wish you a very happy holiday season and hope that you’ll join in our conversations during 2009.
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Ask the Experts
Do you have any recent statistics on the % of customers who complete post call surveys? Also, how indicative are the survey results of the true satisfaction of the customer?
|Answer:As surveying and enterprise feedback management (EFM) solutions become more accepted and as the number of these offerings has increased, so has the number of surveys that customers receive. Recent technological advances have made it easy for anyone to create and issue a survey. As a result, customers are becoming disillusioned with the notion of providing feedback – mainly because they are being bombarded with questions, are providing candid answers, and see little or no impact from their efforts. Many customers have stopped agreeing to participate in survey/feedback requests entirely, or have significantly cut down on the number of responses that they are willing to provide.
DMG Consulting LLC is a leading independent research, advisory and consulting firm specializing in unified communications, contact centers, back-office and real-time analytics. Learn more at www.dmgconsult.com.