In recent conversations I have had to explore how social media is affecting (has affected) the role and operations of the customer service / customer support organizations. in a recent exchange a friend asked me what do I think the objectives of a support organizations should be; I enumerated these (by no means claiming this is a comprehensive list).
- To be (and to be perceived as) aware of, interested in and responsive to the customer needs
- Deepen the end user understanding in order to offer better support: what are the scenarios / situations in which she uses the product? What is cumbersome / confusing / challenging? What interdependency exist with other products & services? How are the competitors perceived? What are their challenges & strengths?
- Enable the end user with the tools, information, education, services for her to take better advantage (and obtain higher satisfaction) from the product.
- Capture, analyze and funnel collective intelligence: what do customers want? what do they jointly complain about? what do they seem to like as a group? what do they rally / vent around?
- Identify and establish a programmatic relationship (with clear business objectives) with the outstanding individuals among the end user audience; those that really seem to know your product and have the knack to communicate with others, those that seem to ask all thee right questions, those that seem to discover new ways of doing things..
As I finished writing these I thought: how is this different that the objectives of a marketing organization? why are these orgs so far away from each other in most companies today? I think the key to the answer is in how the compensation for those different groups has been structured in the past.. while the Marketing org is traditionally rewarded for increasing satisfaction, market share and life time value the Support organization has been traditionally encouraged for minimizing costs, expediting exchanges with customers (making them transactional)
What would happen if you rewarded your support organization in a different way? (would it even make sense to think about it separately from your marketing organization?)
What do you think?