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Is Customer Service Now Part of PR?

Now that things like social media are part of a PR pro’s daily life, it may seem that the job is becoming almost a customer service career. Updating Facebook to calm nerves, responding on Twitter to put out fires. Is PR really heading toward turning us into glorified customer service reps, or is it still, basically, the same kind of business we’re used to?

Customer Service: Yes

How much time of your day to spend responding to people on social media sites? If the majority of your schedule involves retweets then it may seem like you’re going down the path of customer service.

In fact, some companies have turned their social media pros into customer service reps. Bank of America and Comcast are two that are fairly popular examples. Comcast was considered one of the worst customer service companies in the world before they started their social media presence. Now, they’re slowly building themselves up to be a major force in new forms of customer service. Bank of America also has a dedicated group to answering angry Twitter posts and questions.

Do you feel like this is what your job has become? This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Customer service is one of the most important areas companies should concentrate on and it can easily be overlooked. Often, service separates the winners from the losers. Don’t underestimate its importance.

Customer Service: No

Despite what it feels like, growing your web presence is important in this day and age. Ignoring Facebook and LinkedIn likely means missing out on a growing part of your customer base. When you’re solving customer service problems via the Internet, you’re simply taking advantage of new forms of communication.

This doesn’t mean you’re just a glorified customer rep, though. In this day and age, social media and PR pros often are the ones that get things done. Every time I have a problem with Bank of America, I turn to Twitter. Every time! I never go to the bank anymore, as their social media presence is so solid it’s unnecessary.

Customer service has become part of the PR pro line-up, and if you question the value of this just consider how bad off your company would be without it. Dealing with the public is what public relations is all about, and sometimes that’s putting out a fire or patting someone on the back.

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 7 Cheap PR Tactics for Success in Any Economy here: http://www.ereleases.com/7cheaptactics.html

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2 Responses

  1. Simon McBeth says:

    I think it absolutely is a key part of the PR machine these days. Good service equals less (but positive) social media entries. Poor service equals more (and negative) entries. Customers these days wont to read up on companies before commiting. Searching and finding good things said about them encourages more customers.

  2. Matt LaCasse says:

    Customer service is essential in PR. I mean, the name of our industry is Public Relations. By that name alone, we’re tied to customer service, right? It’s not just the media that can speak directly to the public anymore. With social media, customers can directly interact with their favorite brands…or their least favorite. They can also tell thousands, if not millions, of people instantly if they get bad service.

    Frankly, if customer service ISN’T something you’re doing as a PR professional, you’re probably looking for a new job.

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