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Listen First!: Turning Social Media Conversations into Business Advantage by Stephen D. Rappaport

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Chapter 14

Provide Customer Care and Increase Customer Satisfaction

Social media listening is a customer care game-changer. Some advocates, like Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, believe it should go further: “Customer service shouldn't be a department,” he claims. “It should be the entire company.” Hsieh took his own advice, building Zappos on a culture of social media listening and engagement. The company grew from zero sales in 2000 to $1 billion in just eight years (Fresh Networks 2008). That stellar achievement led Amazon to acquire Zappos, and confirmed Hsieh's reputation as a business model innovator and management icon. Zappos’ strategy of listening to market signals serves as a blueprint for many young companies that see outstanding service, engagement, and transparency as the path to growth and profits.

Social media listening-based customer care is growing; companies large and small, local and global, handle customer complaints, take suggestions, answer questions, and provide information with little more than a free Twitter account or Facebook presence. Southwest Airlines, Comcast, Whole Foods, L.L. Bean, neighborhood coffee shops like Groundz, San Antonio's Maggiano's restaurant, and New York City food trucks are just a few examples.

Social media listening-powered services not only help with traditional in-bound needs, like taking a call or replying to an e-mail; they also enable businesses to follow and continuously monitor their customers in near-real time. A new breed of software ...

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