[I’m Reading] ‘customer service in the social media era needs to be radically decentralized’

Posts with the label [I’m Reading] will be about articles I’m finding interesting. I often find things interesting even when I completely disagree with them. No lawyers approved this message.

Further to this reflection on social proof and disgruntled customers, a timely piece over at the WSJ’s Accelerators blog. Their audience is startups and smaller organizations; the lessons and points-to-think-about for larger companies are no less interesting:

Whether your business is a startup scrambling to build a customer base or an enterprise-level company with tens of thousands of clients, dealing with consumers online is a new – and daunting – challenge. Rather than having to obediently wait on help lines or for email support, consumers can now shout on social channels and be heard by a mass audience, instantly…

Customer service in the age of social media, however, needs to be everyone’s job. This doesn’t mean every employee has to be glued to Facebook and Twitter streams all day. Social media listening tools make it easy to track brand references and mentions, and these functions can still be handled ably by a small, dedicated team. At my company, for instance, we have a 17-person customer service team which uses our own social media product to handle 8 million users. But at the same time, as social media becomes more integrated into the corporate workflow employees in general are spending more of their day on social channels. And they’re inevitably coming across tweets and posts that require, if not their own attention, then the attention of someone else in their company.

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