Using Online Tools to Communicate With Customers

The age of bloggers venting online and getting nothing in return has ended. I came across this article in the NY Times in which blogger Brandon Dilbeck received an email message in response to a blog post he wrote complaining about ads Comcast posted on its programming guide. What’s interesting here is that Comcast has switched its focus from being reactive and are now proactively attempting to communicate with consumers through social media.
In an attempt to revamp its online outreach, Comcast has even created a new position, Digital Care Manager, headed by Frank Eliason alongside a team of 10 other staff members who regularly monitors public comments on blogs, message boards and social networks for any mention of Comcast. Comcast though, is not the only company who has begun to utilize social communities to reach out to its customers. Southwest Airlines, Whole Foods Markets, Zappos, and Chipotle are among some of the businesses who have started to reinvent traditional online community communication.
Even though having someone always ‘watching’ is considered creepy by some, the benefits seem to make up for it. Frank Eliason mentions how he can only remember seven instances in which a customer had called him creepy.
What’s your company doing in terms of searching through blogs, forums, discussion groups, social networks, and twitter for customer conversations regarding your business? It’s important that organizations begin to look at social media as a means of communication to consumers since the trend is moving away from call centers and becoming more online social media centric.