Customer service meshing with PR?

After eight business days, one online chat, five e-mails, one voice mail and three phone calls (two with my dad and one 18-minute call with a customer service rep), I finally have identified and fixed a problem I was having with my anti-virus software.  Through it all, Norton/Symantec was patient with me and helpful in trying to get me through this problem.  

And finally, my anti-virus software is back and stronger than ever!!   I was so happy I danced in the kitchen when my problem was resolved late this afternoon (much to my husband’s dismay…he is horrified with my dancing “skills”).

I have read rumblings on the web about how customer service and public relations departments are closer than ever to blurring together to further a company’s image. Also, at a recent PRSA event, Mihaela Vorvoreanu spoke about this very trend.

One of the reasons, I gather, is because of the immediacy of online sites that spring up whenever someone has a gripe to make about a company or a specially horrendous customer service experience (Dell Hell anyone?).

Before the internet, a bad experience could – at most – be shared by word of mouth with a handful of people.  But now, it’s possible to share a bad experience with thousands of people…not exactly a PR person’s dream.  So, it makes sense that customer service and public relations professionals should work together, but how exactly does that happen?  Where do you begin to merge and what can you do to make sure everyone is on the “same page” when it comes to key messaging and customer service?  Any thoughts?

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4 Comments

  1. […] example@example.com (Hezakiah) wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptAnd finally, my anti-virus software is back and stronger than ever!! I was so happy I danced in the kitchen when my problem was resolved late this afternoon (much to my husband’s dismay…he is horrified with my dancing “skills”). … […]

  2. I think, customer service and public relations professionals can work together, by means of interchanging some of their thoughts or ideas.

  3. Sharing ideas definitely is a good place to start. I think it helps to share success stories, as well, to give “real world” examples of how each department has made an impact through positive press or a positive customer experience.

    I met with Greg Blake, chief encouragement officer for PepWorks!, this morning for breakfast. I asked him for his thoughts on how customer service and public relations departments can work together.

    He said one way to encourage team building is have the public relations department work with the customer service department (or vice versa) to solve a challenge or address a current issue employees are dealing with.

    By working with colleagues that have a different perspective, it’s possible to solve the challenge, while providing a positive experience in the workplace, which ultimately affects how the end user feels about the company.

  4. Maybe a good kick-off to some of that would be bringing in someone like Scott Ginsberg (the name tag guy!). I thought he had a great way of making this _not_ about “marketing,” much like it’s not just about PR. In fact, a few times I really felt like I was in sales training, but not the bad parts. 😉

    Scott has a way of blowing up the concept that “image” and “approachability” belongs to just one team in a company. Once you deconstruct that pervasive illness, you can move forward with helping everyone embrace customer service.


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