Thinking of Jumping Into New Technologies? Make Sure You''re Getting the Basics Right First

Viewpoint: Voice of the Customer

Thinking of Jumping Into New Technologies? Make Sure You''re Getting the Basics Right First

By TMCnet Special Guest
Elaine Cascio
  |  August 01, 2011

Many contact center professionals I speak with talk about how they need to do more on Facebook (News - Alert) and Twitter and how important social media is for customer service.They point out how companies like United and Delta got black eyes on Facebook, or how Comcast (News - Alert) resolves customer issues on Twitter.

But how many of the incidents that end up on Facebook or Twitter can be eliminated if companies just do a good job of caring for their customers in the first place?

By taking a get-the-basics-right approach, you’ll be better prepared to take on new customer contact channels – and be more successful.

A few keys to success:

  • Assess all current customer contact channels (or have an independent third party audit them). If you get failing grades, fix issues with people, process or technology before jumping into a new channel. Understand where there are opportunities for improving service and the customer experience.
  • Have a customer contact strategy in place to understand where new channels can help meet your strategic goals.
  • Start small, observe and measure and make sure you’re adequately staffed to serve customers on another channel. Social media response time is measures in minutes, not hours, so being unprepared is just as bad as not being there at all.

Social media can be an effective tool for sales and marketing. From a customer service perspective, it helps us understand more fully what people are saying about the brand and respond to complaints and kudos. It’s also a perfect tool for customer support forums. But don’t expect to solve loads of customer service issues in a social way – be prepared to move discussions about billing issues, for example, to the phone channel. 

So before you reach for the next shiny new thing, remember that it’s not a panacea for poor customer service. Get the basics right first.

Elaine Cascio is a vice president at consulting firm Vanguard Communications Corp. (

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Edited by Stefania Viscusi