Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Comcast Redemption: a case study about social networks and customer service

As you may have read last week, I was pretty frustrated with my Comcast customer service experience (or lack there of). After all, Comcast's mission statement promises:
We will deliver a superior experience to our customers every day. Our products will be the best and we will offer the most customer-friendly and reliable service in the market.
Yeah, you keep working on that....

But! as I suspected, Comcast's social media team was quick to sweep in and respond to my concerns. @ComcastBonnie found me on Twitter, Mark visited my blog and Boston's corporate center called me to solve the problem... all within 30 minutes.

No wonder Forbes gave Comcast a high-five for its "artful customer service" via Twitter.

My exchange with Comcast illustrates the importance of social networks for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Social media marketing requires that companies be social. If you are going to invade your customers' social networks, you have to be ready to engage with them. That means listening to them, responding to them, acknowledging them and rewarding them. Use the many search engines and aggregation tools out there to find your customers and save the day! Give your brand a personality and show that there are real people behind it!

At Paste one of the most successful marketing tactics I employed was having our hard-working marketing interns respond to each and every friend request on MySpace. They started leaving each friend/fan a personal comment, like "Great song choice for your page -- Thom Yorke is a genius." This took longer than clicking "Accept All Friend Requests" (and I'm sure my interns hated how tedious it was) but it gave Paste a truly viral presence: the comments were seen by other MySpace users, who then realized that Paste had a MySpace page and, in turn, sent their own friend requests. It also inspired public conversations with fans -- a trend that has continued now on Twitter, Facebook and Paste's own website.

A company that posts a Facebook page and measures its success based on the number of fans the page attract are missing the point. Use social networks as a way to bring your brand to life.

Thanks, Comcast, for coming through today. Now if we could only work on your 1-800 phone system...

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