Social media and the blend of customer service, research, PR and advertising

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This morning I read the Harvard Management Tip of the Day on How to Handle  Customer Complaints.  They have three pointers:

  • Understand the full context
  • Propose a resolution
  • Show respect

That is all good and solid advice, but great companies in 2009 should be doing more.  They should be trying to pre-empt the complaint in the first place by engaging with their customers via social media.

The Harvard piece got me thinking back to the MTM London Roundtable I attended last night (hosted by the always insightful Jon Watts) where a group of marketing execs from brands, media owners and agencies discussed the importance of social media.

The overall (maybe unsurprising) conclusion was that social media is of growing importance to brands and that their social media engagement impacts customers service, research, PR and advertising.  More interesting was the constant recognition that current tools for managing engagement with social media aren’t covering all the bases.  In particular it seemed to me that a platform which made sense of the data coming out of the various point solutions and helped with measurement would be welcome.

I would love to hear about any companies that are taking a technology enabled approach to solving this problem.

On a related note, customers also have a responsibility to their market places and over-aggressive complaining can ruin things for everyone – a point well made in this Harvard piece on How (Not) to Complain.

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