Is there any relevance to the relationship between customer
service and PR? I think so, but I
often think that companies, big and small, miss this connection. If you’re
conducting PR effectively, then you probably know something about how each part
of a company operates. That’s not to say you publicize everything you know
(duh), but it’s important to understand how a company works.
getting back to customer service—I’m always amazed when there’s such a huge
difference between a product that a company puts out and its customer service
team. When you buy a good product with the help of a mediocre customer service
rep you may make a mental note that there is this slight divide. Naturally, the
difference is even more pronounced when the product stinks. But that’s another
you have a client that heavily relies on its customer service team to enhance
its reputation—and let’s face it: what company doesn’t rely in some way on the
good graces of its customer service department?—then there should be some kind
of dotted line between PR and Customer Service. The PR people, for instance,
ought to know what it’s like to field calls and they should also be aware of
what the Customer Service people think of the firm, including how they might
describe the firm to others.
know this might seem obvious, but it’s amazing how the work of one department
can undermine the efforts of another. If customers are having negative
experiences with Customer Service, you can bet that word will get around. And
around and around and around. It’s true that there may be more people venting
on the Web than those who actually read the rants. Still, the bad stuff tends
to move more quickly. And that’s been happening for a very long time, long
before the advent of the Internet.
as I say to my son as he types away on Facebook, just pretend the entire world
is standing behind your shoulder, reading every word you write.