Conversation and Reputation Management for Retailers It’s a Customer Service Thing

Posted on 01. Nov, 2010 by in Blogs, Facebook, Social Media, Twitter

Conversation/reputation management is a new part of the marketing mix for companies.  It’s been an outgrowth of the explosion of social and public media where consumers speak about companies and their offerings.  This C/R work involves listening to what’s being said about the company online and proactively responding to ensure that questions are answered and help is provided.

C/R work within retailers is going to eventually be owned by the customer service center exactly because of the nature of the dialog eventually leans toward questions about product, promotions, shipments, returns or services.  Just watch what’s going on regarding retailer tweets.  You’ll see that the focus is often directly in the customer service wheelhouse.

It is unlikely that retailers are going to staff a totally new and separate group of people that will interface with customers.  Retail margins are just too ridiculously lean.  Also, totally uncontrolled employee contact with customers is also going to eventually fall away… just a few lawsuits and nasty PR blowups and this idea is toast.  Most retailers just will not allow a massive number of untrained employees to have hybrid personal/commercial discussions with customers directly through SM.

Tools exist today to integrate Social Media conversations into the  flow of large customer service software platforms so that companies don’t lose track of the total dialog.  The rest is about training of cust service reps (and changing hiring requirements).

My forecast, C/R is a customer service owned endeavor within a year… marketing will write the “guidlines/rules/flows” with help from legal and merchandising and the rest will go to VP Customer Service Ops.  BTW, at Social Media Club meeting last week in Seattle , this was exactly what many of the pure social media people in the room were saying.

Putting Conversation and Reputation Management into the Customer Service function is a great way to ensure that the customer’s needs are met more quickly and thoroughly.

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