Over at ClickZ Pete Blackshaw makes some very good points about the importance of good call center and customer service reps.
Here’s the rub: consumer affairs is the most intimate feedback pipe to the same vocal consumers marketers are struggling to reach, understand, and leverage. At a time when marketers, in the name of entering the conversation, keep getting slapped, dogpiled, and embarrassed by clumsily stepping into hostile conversational territory, consumer affairs may well be the most controllable lever to manage today’s vocal, active, and influential consumers.
Why? Because the consumers most likely to express their feelings directly to brands are the same folks who create media (opinions, product reviews, blog posts, photos, homemade videos, podcasts) and post them on the Internet for other like-minded consumers to see, read, and share. The gold is actually right under marketers’ nose.
I’ve worked for clients who don’t pay attention to feedback, and it always amazes me how much ad agencies spend on market research and focus group techniques that ultimately fail to grasp what consumers really think. And it’s no surprise why so many ad campaigns don’t reflect the customer experience.