2010 – Welcome to the Age of Customer Service

New Years 2010 SignpostAt the end of the last decade we saw Amazon snap up Zappos for $928 Million. Combining two of the most customer focused organizations I am aware of on the web and making one of the most powerful customer centric companies out there.

Social media has forever changed the balance of nature in favor of the customer. Zappos was a beacon at the vanguard of how to communicate with customers socially which is why I believe they were so attractive to Amazon.

But more importantly I think this is a sign of things to come in this decade.

Every business must recognize that customer service is now their primary business. The empowerment of the individual consumer can and will affect every brand. In this world where customers can create content at the drop of a hat – displaying their love or hate for a given company – should not be taken lightly.

I believe that we are entering the age of customer service and customer service economy will become the norm this decade and beyond. Brands that fail to adjust will be left out in the cold. B2B marketers should add a new years resolution to their list to work on enabling their customer service to be as good and as socially agile as possible.

Remember this is the year that social starts to transform other areas of your organization!

9 comments to 2010 – Welcome to the Age of Customer Service

  • Tracey

    This is so true. I’d add that listening to the customer is also critical for many businesses in determining the right business model. We’ve seen a lot of companies — such as mobile phone, cable, and music labels — struggle to find the right way to sell their services and products. A few companies have done a great job. For example, Apple is selling music to customers in a customer-friendly way — you can buy singles for $.99 or the whole album, and you can purchase DRM-free music for slightly more. Options. Amazon figured out that customers will purchase online if they don’t have to pay for shipping – and they’ll gladly order more merchandise to skip the shipping. I’d love to see cable companies get more inventive with their business models — offering consumers more choice in which channels they can package together. And maybe a package on my new e-reader that offers Internet (since the device is capable) for a subscription, along with a couple of books every month. This all takes a keen ear to the customer’s voice.

  • Paul Dunay

    @ Tracey – agreed so much innovation can be done when listening to what the customer actually wants. Dell and Salesforce have done this well too – with IdeaStorm and IdeaExchange. I am going to be experimenting with something similar this year and cant wait to discuss the results on this blog! Stay tuned …

  • Great post Paul. Could not agree more. I work mostly with SMB’s for B2B software and have started/enhanced client relations programs with several clients in the past year. Its nice to hear about social media marketing (SMM) examples of name brand companies like Apple, etc, but the examples that I find more inspiring are with no-name companies under $25mm who have transformed their business using SMM.

    For one very small company (with over 200 clients), we ran a client survey using the net promoter apporach in December. The results were off the charts – over 15% responded and 3 out of 4 said they were “extremely satisfied and would recommend my client to their colleagues”. Your post has given me the idea to use SMM to launch the client relations program for the user group, client advisory, enhancement discussions, etc.

    I look forward to your updates on this topic.

  • I completely agree with your post. Having exceptional customer service truly makes a business thrive. My friend once ordered shoes from Zappos and when she received them they were discounted to 40% off! So she called Zappos and they gladly returned some of her money back. Now THAT is what you call incredible customer service.

  • Could not agree more that we live in the age of service or die. Businesses more than ever need to listen to their customers and react fast to issues that arise. Most unhappy customers leave without saying a word. Twitter and FaceBook have made listening easy and simple — as you showed in your Avaya Gets Social webinar (thanks for doing that with me, Paul.) The half life on authentic personal interaction is now measured in minutes.

  • @Kristen – WOW that is real customer service – you have to be dedicated to winning the customer for life (which I am sure your friend is now) – just think of the incredible WOM that story gets – even on my blog!! – thanks for the comment

  • @Jeff – I am here in Berlin talking to companies like Audi, AXA, T-Mobile, Deutsche Bank and Lufthansa about this very topic. I think the thing that is really interesting for all of them is the Speed of these communications and how true listening can make a big difference!

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