1. I’m not sure I agree. I do tend to agree re marketing–primarily because of the reasons you outlined and also because in my experience marketers/advertisers generally think in terms of one-way communication, not two way. As a PR person for a major brand I was personally involved in helping resolve customer issues on-line and in-concert with the customer service team. I think together we did a much better job than either would have done alone.
    I think the roles (PR and customer service) are changing and blurring, making it tough to generalise.

  2. Absolutely, which is why I think the online community manager is a hybrid of marketing and PR – and mostly customer service.

    Plus part mother, part cop, part teacher. 🙂

    I just feel that Customer Service is missing out on the discussions because the blogosphere is full of marketers making SN claims. Heh.

  3. It would be lovely to think such a convergence was taking place; that all departments of a given company were concerned, first and foremost, with the customer experience.

    I get the impression just from reading comments from a Telstra/Bigpond employee on this blog (and others), that companies might be more concerned with PR (appeasing blog authors critical of a companies services) than taking the feedback and incorporating it into the company’s processes.

    I guess it poses another philosophical problem… is the problem the product or the the customer? It is difficult to pretend some people don’t just have an axe to grind and won’t be appeased with any outcome. That perhaps abusing customer service is the one aspect of the overall product experience they utilise. lol

  4. nice perspective and I agree with the convergence comment, it’s all captured if there is an approach to listening to the consumer…all disciplines whether marketing, sales, PR, digital, customer service or the driver of the delivery truck need to be listening to the consumer. I tink it’s still difficult for people to embrace the one to one when so much of the past has been about mass. Nice work…cheers @MolsonFerg
    .-= @MolsonFerg´s last blog ..Canada Day Message from Molson’s New CEO and President, Dave Perkins =-.

  5. The bit that stood out for me was the line you had outlined in red (okay literally as well as figuratively):

    “And they are responsible for getting back to every single client, and making sure that each one is satisfied, individually.”

    I have previously worked on a huge forum, and I do see that if people sniff marketing over individual focus, they are not happy.
    People do want to sense a relationship where their best interests are given consideration.

    (Though it’s also true, most customer service reps need more training!

    Said a BigPond employee to a friend of mine last week, “Well you should have been paying more attention!” (this is after BigPond set up a broadband account with a primary email that had the name wrong – and then insisted it couldn’t be changed.) )
    .-= Anni Taylor´s last blog ..Longtail keywords– Why chase them? =-.

    1. I’d take an “honest but imperfect” relationship with a company over a “shallow but noice” one anyday. 😛 Even from BigPond!

      The tough thing for companies to realise is that Customer Service is no longer one-on-one. Anything said or done gets recorded, repeated, reiterated and retweeted. There goes any control over brand message!

      Did you find that people were willing not to have a personal answer as long as SOMEONE on the forum got the right answer that every one was looking for? Interesting isn’t it?

      1. Yeah but it would be great if customer service asked questions and got it right – rather than blaming the customer afterwards. Now that would be noice! 🙂

        Yes, definitely, people are ok with not receiving a personal answer if they retain a sense of it feeling personal.

        People identify with certain groups within a large forum – and they appreciate it when a person (spokesperson otherwise) within that group receives a satisfying answer or commitment to action. Agreed!
        .-= Anni Taylor´s last blog ..Longtail keywords– Why chase them? =-.

  6. In a perfect world Customer Service is feeding Marketing the information they receive from customers so that Marketing can be sure the right message is created for the customers. But none of us live and work in a perfect world.

    1. there’s too many people in that loop. social media is about disintermediation …

      Put it this way. If a company say “oh please we want to engage with you, on Facebook, Twitter, etc, please please be our friend” and then spams 1-to-many campaigns with billboards, TV ads, magazine advertorial and whatnot, why should we trust their “we want to engage with you” statements?

      But you are right – Customer Service will talk with customers, see what they like, implement campaigns (called “activities” in online communities) such as Talk Like A Pirate Day competitions and the like, and Marketing will remain none-the-wiser. 😛

  7. hi Laurel,
    Is it in fact the case that increasingly, customer service -is- marketing, and marketing of potentially far greater impact than traditional marketing/advertising? ‘Marketing’ by doing rather than talking about what you do (or what you’d like people to believe you do) as is the case with traditional marketing/advertising.

  8. I agree that Customer Service is a better organization than Marketing to manage this community, but they are measured by metrics for “existing clients.” Here in the “Twittersphere” both customers and prospects exist and are openly talking about YOUR brand. So in the absence of either organization standing up on behalf of the company, it needs to be someone from SALES who is technical and ideally comes from a Customer Service background to lead the charge.
    .-= Andy Fields´s last blog ..PainPoint: Network World Article – http://bit.ly/EU43Y – Cisco Certified Architect – "MBA for CCIEs", cost of $15k =-.

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