– Submitted by: Michael Wooden, SVP Market Development, ACS, A Xerox Company

In my almost seven years at ACS, a  Xerox Company, I’ve witnessed the advent of Web 2.0 and the explosion of social media applications, leading the way to a fundamental shift in power between companies and customers.  With wikis, blogs, online communities, and social media sites like Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, consumers are finding their voice and sharing their opinions any way they can—rating and reviewing products, services, and companies;  talking about brands and companies in communities of interest; and more.ACS Social CRM

There is a real threat that exists for companies dismissive of social media’s impact on brands. We’ve all heard horror stories about businesses either taking too long to respond to customer complaints, or simply ignoring them all together within social media.    Several years ago, a name brand computer maker was not as responsive to a customer’s complaints as the consumer would have liked. The customer, who just so happened to be a prominent blogger, started blogging about his experiences.    Many customers shared his frustrations and flocked to his blog, which created a community of angry customers whose voices grew so loud it was impossible to ignore.

This story illustrates the need for businesses to get in front of a customer service issue before it erupts and spirals out of control.  With almost 74 percent of consumers choosing brands based on the customer experiences their peers share online, there are huge benefits gained  from using social media to enhance customer experience and extend brand reach and value.

It’s not enough for businesses to just eavesdrop on or participate in the conversations taking place within social media sites.  Organizations must capture and distill those ‘conversations’ into knowledge that can be used to improve customer service.  Of course, doing so involves considerable challenges.

ACS can help.

We recently introduced our Community as a Strategy offering, which combines social media marketing, consulting, agent-assisted and automated social media monitoring, CRM reporting and data integration technology.  This helps companies connect with customers before the customer reaches out to the company.  Read more about it on CMS Wire here.ACS CaaS

We’ll continue to talk about our Community as a Strategy offering over the next couple of months. In meantime, please tune-in to the latest edition of Xerox Real Business Radio (#xeroxradio) for a more in-depth discussion on this topic.

—  Michael Wooden, SVP Market Development, ACS, A Xerox Company