The Virtual Customer Service Department

February 17, 2011

We as consumers have always had some sort of brand loyalty based on how a company treats us as customers, but as our country faces a recession it has become more of a focus for corporations to hold on to customer loyalty.

While doing my second post I explored how companies are using twitter. In researching different companies I found that Southwest Airlines was using its twitter as a customer service tool. I thought this was a very interesting approach and its creative use of social media to increase its brand image intrigued me. This inspired me to see how else we could use social media in relation to customer service, and while doing that I found Groubal. Where Southwest was using twitter to show its customer service, Groubal does kind of the opposite and gives the customer a platform to voice it complaints.


Basically how Groubal works is customers can go on the site and file a complaint which they call a petition and that petition is shared via social media. Other Groubal users can then go on and do an electronic signature supporting or verifying that complaint. Company representatives are then informed of the complaint against their corporation and they can then respond to the customers. For more details on how Groubal works check out this article by Heather Rast.


What Groubal Means for the Future

If Groubal continues to grow it could become the meeting ground between large corporations and customers, a virtual customer service department. Customers would come to the site to let their voice be heard when they have been mistreated by companies as well as use the site to compare corporations and make more educated consumer decisions with tools like the customer satisfaction index. Corporations will come to the site to see what the consumer opinions of them are and try to reply to customer’s complaints. These responses could become a key to companies maintaining a brand image as well as retaining customers because customer service would be in such a public forum. Everyone can read and see how companies handle a bad customer relation.

Do you as consumers think something like Groubal will catch on and grow in popularity? As future social media professionals how do you think public forums like this will affect us working for these companies being complained about?

Check out this interview with the founders of Groubal about what Groubal is and what they think it could become!


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