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Customer Service Should Not Be Affected by Klout

The landscape of customer service is changing these days, especially given the continually growing popularity of instant communication tools like Facebook and Twitter.

But pressure to be ever present in certain communication spheres means there are also a lot of companies missing the mark on responding to customer service matters. They may not respond to a letter or phone call from a regular customer, for example, but they’ll immediately grease the squeaky wheel of an angry Twitter user who takes to kvetching online.

You’d think customer service would improve overall with the increased prevalence of social media if a company saw the effect their quick actions and attention could have on customers’ happiness.

But you’d be wrong.

Call center — they may use Klout, but shouldn't base their level of service on a Klout score.

Call center (Photo credit: Walt Jabsco)

There’s a lot of talk about reaching out to “influencers” now. Many businesses go out of their way to throw events for bloggers, offer special perks to people who might talk them up online, and have the customer service department respond only to their most influential social media followers.

Klout Should Not Sway Customer Service

It comes down to Klout versus clout. The biggest mistake here lies in a company mistaking a so-called online “influencer” for someone with true influence in their community. The two are not always correlated.

Here’s a quick example of why this isn’t always the smartest route: My friend and his wife both have Klout accounts — he has a high score, hers is pretty average — and they recently bought a car together. They had a great experience at the dealership, and both gushed to their networks about how well they were treated. The next weekend, two friends of my friend’s wife headed back to the same dealership and bought brand-new cars.

But, if the dealership were to only look at Klout scores to decide whether to elevate any complaints up the customer service chain, they would pick the higher Klout score, but end up alienating the person with the higher real-life clout.

Now, this isn’t a typical outcome, but there’s also no guarantee that someone with a ton of online “influence” will create an outcome like this either.

The bottom line: Someone with Klout can have no clout in their community, and vice versa. The successful businesses will remember that every customer is important and the customer service department should attend to everyone’s needs equally.

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