With all of the new communication tools and technology being introduced, the way that companies handle customer service has been transformed into a more effective and efficient manner.  Users want to be able to receive real-time support and have multiple options to contact a company.  So in order to meet the demands of customers, you need to be able to adapt and embrace these new forms of communication.

Here are some examples of how companies are using Web 2.0 and Social Media to increase their level of customer support.

Customer Service using Twitter

Most people would think this is a bad situation to deal with.  A disgruntled customer had to fork over $100 just to hear that he needs a new transmission and that he will need to go somewhere else to get it fixed.  However, this may also be an opportunity.  This may be a great time to go the extra mile and try to fix the negative feeling he has about Merchants Tire.  If someone at Merchants Tire is monitoring any mention of their brand name, they could try to make this a positive experience by offering to setup his appointment or by giving him a discount the next time he needs a service they offer.

Customer Service using Click to Call

google voice logo

For users who have a VoIP phone (like Skype or Google Voice) or a microphone hooked up to their computer, they can easily click the “Call Me” button and get connected to your support staff.  This can be a easy way for customers to not have to worry about dialing a number, they can automatically connect to a representative.  This can also be a nice feature for people who do not want to use up their cell phone minutes or people who don’t want to pay for the call.  Usually the VoIP calls will give you unlimited minutes for calls in the US.

Customer Service using Online Chat

There are a number of different reasons for chat functionality on your website.  Bank of America uses it primarily to help existing customers who are inquiring about their account.  Toyota used live chat to provide real-time sales assistance to online customers.  Dell uses chat to let customers connect with Dell technicians to troubleshoot hardware and software issues.

Some customers do not necessarily feel comfortable  or have the patience’s to pick up the phone and try to connect with a customer service rep.  So chat functionality can be an easy alternative to quickly service customers who’s problem may be solved by a simple chat conversation.  It also can be an opportunity to inform customers about new products, promote specials, and sell complimentary products.

Customer Service using Blogs

seomoz blog comments

For anyone who follows SEO, you probably saw the controversial post by SEOmoz that created some buzz in the industry.  There were a number of negative posts, testing the credibility of the data in the post.  Even with all of the negative feedback, Rand from SEOmoz still was able to stay professional and outline the guidelines of the community and explain how it should be a place for constructive criticism.  Regardless of what the blog post said, I felt this was a great example of excellent customer service to their readers and RSS subscribers.  By reiterating the community policies and inviting positive comments, I feel it encourages readers to comment and makes them feel comfortable.

Customer Service using Forums

If you find that a lot of your customers are calling in asking the same questions, why not put them in a repository that is searchable by users and search engines.  As you can see from the above picture, Adobe has multiple forums for each of the different products they sell.  A user can quickly go to the product they have issues with and search to see if their problem has already been resolved in the forum.  This can help reduce your customer service admin, because users are finding their answers by themselves and not calling.  Having a representative from the company to help answer questions and moderate the forum will also be helpful.