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Web 2.0 Expo NY: Lane Becker’s “Customer Service is the New Marketing”

The first session I attended on Wednesday morning at Web 2.0 Expo NY was “Customer Service is the New Marketing” by Lane Becker (a.k.a. @monstro), co-founder of Adaptive Path & Get Satisfaction

My Twitter notes from the session:

  • @monstro telling the @zappos story about the woman who didn’t return her shoes on time b/c her mother died
  • @zappos calls themselves a customer service company that just happens to make sures. All efforts focused on customer service. Ask anything
  • @zappos on Twitter run by CEO Tony, and he’s real. “At its core, wants to relate to customers”
  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Customer Service: meets expectations (survival), meets desires (success), meets unrecognized needs (transformation)
  • Driving customer loyalty thru satisfaction is an incredibly successful way to build a business. But how many are actually doing it?
  • 3 cats of cos: customer-focused (@zappos, craigslist, Four Seasons), product-focused (Apple, Google), infrastructure-focused (Telco)
  • “What can non-customer-focused companies do to start fostering some of the magic of @zappos?” Start acting like a hotel concierge
  • Learn from concierge: Put conversations at center of biz, reduce sphere of control to increase sphere of influence, smash silos
  • “Most customer service is customer avoidance” – @monstro
  • Common mistake: trying to minimize time per call. But customer service is about conversation
  • Timbuk2 “makes hipster messenger bags” has community-sourced marketing, figures out new channels to talk to its customers
  • Timbuk2 discovered Flickr group “What’s in your bag?” Several were tagged as Timbuk2 bags
  • Timbuk2 ended up pulling the Flickr photos into their website, stopped using professional photogs, instead using real customers
  • On @getsatisfaction someone asked if Timbuk2 makes diaper bag. They didn’t but employee wrote in describing how to hack one together
  • Convinced Timbuk2 to develop a diaper bag, and already had a lot of the elements that it should include, and a customer base waiting
  • Timbuk2 used the term “fit” but customers were referring to it as something else, so they stopped calling it fit on the website
  • Concierge isn’t responsible for much in the biz; it’s their job to talk and solve customers’ problems. But it’s a huge value
  • “A massive monopolistic monolith” Comcast has a lot of customers (has lotsa control), but not a lot of fans http://comcastsucks.org
  • Comcast has now broken out a piece of their customer service center, “a splinter cell.” They’re about cust engagement, not avoidance
  • This is now @comcastcares. Role of evangelist for Comcast “Takes a special type of person”-@monstro 12 ppl reaching out to customers
  • When the @comcastcares team notices that there’s a trend in problems, they can reach into the business and try to fix trouble spots
  • @comcastcares has also been a great publicity hook for them. Major media plugs. Might not fully change customers minds, but helps
  • “Changing your approach to customer engagement not only has an effect on your customers, but an effect on your business”- @monstro
  • The “it’s not our problem” problem. Like with a cell phone: is it the manufacturer or the service provider? Can be like ping pong
  • The Twitter/T-Mobile meltdown: T-Mobile had started to shutdown Twitter service, but customers flooded call center
  • Twitter’s API is about recognizing it’s a network ecosystem that they operate within and allow customers to experience it that way
  • “Center of conversation has moved from inside the business to outside the business” Maximize benefits by acting like concierge
  • Perfect example of this is Apple’s Genius Bar
  • Audience Q: “How does co proactively deal w/ a seller who isn’t living up to expectations?” Easier to be reactive than proactive


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