Companies Reach Customers Online


Monday, November 17th 2008, 5:46 pm
By: News 9


By Amy McRee, NEWS 9

Companies are now 'socializing' with customers by interacting and responding to issues and concerns through instant messaging.

"I called them, probably I guess, about 4 or so times over the months just asking them to come out and take care of it," consumer Shawn Collins said.

Collins waited for months for his cable provider to lay cables for his new phone lines. He finally reached out to them in cyberspace, through their account on a social networking site.

"I posted a message on there. In an hour, I got a response from the cable provider," Collins said.

Many companies are using the Web to communicate with their customers.

"That's the great thing about the Internet," said Lance Ulanoff of PC Magazine. "If you see somebody in a blog or in a forum talking trash about your company or being very angry because there was a problem, you can engage them right there and try and help them."

Ulanoff said companies have everything to gain to get online to resolve a customers' gripes, especially because what's posted online often stays online, including both the positive and negative comments.

"You start trying to engage people about the good things that are happening with your products, you can build that sort of viral good karma," Ulanoff said.

Lance Ulanoff said while cyber customer service is certainly growing, customers should be careful when listening to praise about products and services. He said while some companies clearly identify themselves when they post, others may not.