Customer Service 2.0

One trait successful companies have in common is the ability to detect impending change and adapt to it. The world of customer service is undergoing one of these major shifts right now, moving away from the traditional reactionary service mode towards a more proactive engagement model. I like to call this Customer Service 2.0.

Customer Service 2.0 extends the boundaries of the company/customer interaction into social media and moves away from the call/respond service model. This entails much more than just setting up a Twitter feed or Facebook page though. To fully embrace this new paradigm these new communication channels must be integrated into existing customer service processes – and new ones created.
I recently read a white paper from Cisco that presents their strategic vision for Customer Collaboration (a.k.a. Customer Service 2.0).  One thing that particularly caught my attention in the paper is a Social Media Customer Care Maturity Model composed of five stages.  The five stages are:
  • Level 1: Listening (or ignoring) – Basically, not buying into the necessity or reacting only if a huge problem occurs.
  • Level 2: Social Media Broadcasting – Setting up social media outlets, but treating them the same as all other marketing communication channels.
  • Level 3: Social Media Marketing – Understanding the differences between traditional and social media marketing, but ignoring the customer service aspects.
  • Level 4: Social Media Customer Care – Setting up formal processes for handling customer service requests coming from social media outlets.
  • Level 5: Proactive Engagement –Reaching out to customers, even those that have not initiated contact, and analyzing social media for business intelligence.
Most of the clients Cisco engages with fall somewhere between levels two and three, with a few leading-edge companies in the top levels. The need is accelerating though due to competitive pressure to keep up with other companies’ social media initiatives and the high public presence of the medium.
The paper focuses on four central strategies for leveraging new technology to drive operational changes. These are: social media, network-based recording and analytics, focused video and web-based collaboration desktops.
One of the most interesting of these to me is network-based recording. This approach is completely different from the current recording methods as it captures customer interactions, across multiple media, at the network level instead of deploying a dedicated capture infrastructure.
Learn more about network-based recording and the other three customer collaboration elements in the free Cisco white paper Customer Collaboration.

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