Helps Small Teams and Growing Businesses Deliver on the Promise of Social Customer Service

Strategic Solutions Series Helps Small Teams and Growing Businesses Deliver on the Promise of Social Customer Service

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  January 14, 2013

This article originally appeared in the DEC. 2012 issue of CUSTOMER Magazine.

A social revolution is at hand. But it’s probably not what you’re thinking.

What we’re looking at here is an uprising in social media usage. And it’s affecting how customers talk about and want to interact with businesses.

We’re all aware by now that social networking is popular, but it’s amazing just how widespread it’s become. Nielsen’s “State of the Media: The Social Media Report,” released in the third quarter of 2011, indicates social networks and blogs now account for about a quarter of total time spent on the Internet.

Nearly four in five active Internet users visit social networks and blogs, according to the report. And Nielsen says that something like 40 percent of social media users access such content from their mobile phones.

To address the important trends of social and mobile, (News - Alert) offers a customer service solution called runs in the cloud and helps customer service teams connect to their customers across both traditional channels, like Web and phone, as well as the new social channels like Twitter (News - Alert) and Facebook.

With, any business of any size can deliver personalized customer service through Twitter, Facebook, phone, e-mail and the Web. In fewer than five clicks, a company can connect its Facebook (News - Alert) or Twitter accounts to the Agent Desktop. That’s important given Twitter is a game-changer in the relationships between businesses and their customers – and is becoming a critical tenet of customer service.

“We built so that every company can deliver personal customer service in a social and mobile world,” said Alex Bard, vice president and general manager at “ is social at its core; its mobile app instantly lets any employee, anywhere, deliver awesome customer service; and it can be deployed quickly and easily.”

The Mobile app addresses the reality of today’s nomadic and always-connected workplace, in which 72 percent of small businesses use mobile apps in their daily operations. It does that by putting a mobile help desk in every employee’s pocket so these individuals can customers at any time, regardless of their location.

And it runs on all smartphones that support HTML5, including iPhone and Android (News - Alert) phones. 

Affordability and ease-of-use are also important features of the solution. Businesses can sign up for for as little as $49 a month. And any company, even one without an IT staff, can get up and running with the solution over a weekend. That makes the solution accessible even to the smallest companies with very limited budgets and IT resources.

Bonobos, Klout and Spotify (News - Alert) are among the companies using to their advantage today.

“At Bonobos, we need to move quickly because if we don’t support the customer, there will not be a customer to support,” said John Rote, director of customer experience at Bonobos, an online men’s clothing store. “We have a huge volume of inquiries and a small staff, so customer service is everyone’s job. After deploying in two days, we had a complete social help desk that everyone in our company can use.”

Before adopting, Bonobos conducted customer service using Gmail. That often required staff to print e-mails and then to distribute the hard copies manually – which wasn’t a tenable situation as customer volumes and staff size increased. So Bonobos began searching for a better way.

“When I first saw, I was excited about the look and feel of it,” said Rote. “It looked pretty nimble, so I thought, ‘I'll spend a couple of hours poking around, maybe over the weekend we can configure things, then next week I'll get a couple of people testing the system.’ Well, the reality was that by lunchtime the next day we had switched over to it entirely.” provided an instant level of comfort for all the agents at Bonobos, and immediately improved workflow, Rote says.

“Agents could see how many tickets we had, view tweets, see the remaining tasks, and decide on how to allocate resources,” added Rote. “It was a revolution in our service and support culture.”

Edited by Braden Becker
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