Customer Service: New Rules for a Social Media World


Use Social and Viral Technologies to Supercharge your Customer Service!

Using social media, you can deliver amazing customer service–and generate an army of fans who’ll promote you in good times, and rescue you from disaster. Now, legendary online marketing expert Peter Shankman shows you exactly how to do all that–without spending a fortune! Shankman draws on his immense experience as founder of the online growth company HARO and marketing consultant to multiple Fortune 500 ...

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Customer Service: New Rules for a Social-Enabled World

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Use Social and Viral Technologies to Supercharge your Customer Service!

Using social media, you can deliver amazing customer service–and generate an army of fans who’ll promote you in good times, and rescue you from disaster. Now, legendary online marketing expert Peter Shankman shows you exactly how to do all that–without spending a fortune! Shankman draws on his immense experience as founder of the online growth company HARO and marketing consultant to multiple Fortune 500 clients. He presents straight-to-the-point solutions for building customer loyalty, trust, and credibility online–and rebuilding it when catastrophe strikes. Companies around the world are driving enormous value from online customer service at remarkably low cost. You can, too. Peter Shankman will show you how–step-by-step, right now!

You’ll learn how to:

• Organize a small, powerful social media team on a tight budget

• Listen to what your customers, advisors, and markets are really saying

• Make prospects feel like rock stars from the moment they find you

• Choose online media that make the most sense for you

• Avoid wasting time with platforms that won’t help you

• Earn your customer’s loyalty, trust, and credibility

• Learn from other companies’ viral “disasters”

• Rebuild your credibility after you’ve taken a public “hit” online

• Make sure everyone hears your customers when they compliment you

• Capture all your customer knowledge–and use it in real time

• Keep people talking–and not just about you

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“As a major voice in the travel space, I’m no stranger to poor customer service–and how to fix it. Peter has proven multiple times that it’s the little things you do before the meltdown occurs that will save your company. I encourage anyone working with clients or customers to read this book–multiple times!”

–Christopher Elliott

Consumer advocate


National Geographic Traveler

“I’ve always said the three most important things in business are customer service, customer service, and customer service. Now I’ll add a fourth–read this book!”

–Dayna Steele

Speaker, business consultant, and author of

Rock to the Top:What I Learned about Success from the World’s Greatest Rock Stars

“There is no question that customer service and, even more, customer perception can make or break your business. I am glad that social media über-guru Peter Shankman has finally deigned to share his secrets with the rest of us. This book belongs in every businessperson’s library. It’s in mine!”

–Charles Justiz

Retired NASA pilot and author of Specific Impulse

“Peter’s a buzzsaw of ideas. The big risk is that your head will explode before you implement this all. The beauty of a book is that you can read it slowly. Peter’s mind moves so fast that, were you to receive these ideas in person, you couldn’t possibly write fast enough to keep up.”

–Chris Brogan

President, Human Business Works, and publisher

“Peter Shankman gets his kicks jumping out of perfectly good airplanes. As it turns out, that avocation may be an apt analogy for the world of social media. It is rising up to meet you–fast–and if you don’t pull the ‘tweet’ chord in time, you are destined to crater. Shankman offers a compelling, engaging, humorous checklist of do’s and don’ts for those who are still in a freefall–a bit dazed–wondering what happened to all the tried-and-true rules of advertising, marketing, and PR. Shankman knows the answer, and he can barely contain his enthusiasm in sharing his insights. He is a leading social networking evangelizer–that is why so many blue-chip companies seek him out. And that is why I selected him to be on the NASA Advisory Council Education and Public Outreach Committee. His advice is not rocket science, but it isn’t always what you might predict. As skydivers like to say, you’ll be fine so long as you don’t do anything stupid. Read this book and you will know how to be smart–in 140 characters or less!”

–Miles O’Brien

formerly of CNN

“I’ll give you my favorite piece of advice from Peter right here: don’t have a goal of making something viral. Make it good, and it will go viral. Peter shares my belief: don’t treat your customers well after something has gone wrong. Treat them well at every interaction.”

–Franco Bianchi

President & CEO

Haworth, Inc.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789747099
  • Publisher: Que
  • Publication date: 12/30/2010
  • Series: Que Biz-Tech Series
  • Pages: 189
  • Sales rank: 837,092
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter ShankmanPR Week Magazine has described Peter as “redefining the art of networking,” and Investor’s Business Daily has called him “crazy, but effective.” Peter Shankman is a spectacular example of what happens when you harness the power of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and make it work to your advantage. An entrepreneur, author, speaker, and worldwide connector, Peter is recognized worldwide for radically new ways of thinking about social media, PR, marketing, advertising, creativity, and customer service.

Peter is perhaps best known for founding Help A Reporter Out (HARO), which in under a year has become the de-facto standard for thousands of journalists looking for sources on deadline, offering them more than 125,000 sources around the world looking to be quoted in the media. HARO is currently the largest free source repository in the world, sending out over 1,500 queries from worldwide media each week. HARO’s tagline, “Everyone Is an Expert at Something,” proves over and over again to be true, as thousands of new members join at each week.

In addition to HARO, Peter is the founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc., a boutique social media and marketing strategy firm located in New York City, with clients worldwide. His blog (, which he launched as a website in 1995, both comments on and generates news and conversation.

Peter’s PR and social media clients have included the Snapple Beverage Group, NASA, The U.S. Department of Defense, Walt Disney World, The Ad Council, American Express, Discovery Networks, New Frontier Media, Napster, Juno, Dream Catcher Destinations Club, Harrah’s Hotels, and many others. In addition, he sits on the board of the Scott-e-Vest, the world’s first technologically enabled clothing line.

Peter is the author of Can We Do That?! Outrageous PR Stunts That Work and Why Your Company Needs Them (Wiley and Sons 2006) and is a frequent keynote speaker and workshop presenter at conferences and tradeshows worldwide, including The Public Relations Society of America, The International Association of Business Communicators, CTIA, CTAM, CES, PMA, OMMA, Mobile Marketing Asia, and the Direct Marketing Association.

A marketing pundit for several national and international news channels, including Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, Peter is frequently quoted in major media and trade publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, and USA Today.

Peter started his career in Vienna, Virginia, with America Online as a senior news editor. He helped found the AOL Newsroom and spearheaded coverage of the Democratic and Republican 1996 conventions, which marked the first time an online news service covered any major political event.

Born and raised in New York City, Peter still lives there with his two psychotic cats, Karma and NASA, who consistently deny his repeated requests to relinquish the couch. In the few hours of spare time Peter has per month, he’s a frequent runner, with 13 completed marathons and countless triathlons to his credit, and is a “B” licensed skydiver, specializing in free-flying.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Putting Together a Social Media Team 11

Meet Your Team 12

The Customer Service People 13

The PR Person 13

The High-Level Exec 14

The Marketing Guys 15

The Guy from Accounting Who Has a Facebook Page 15

The Flip Side: Meet Your Audience 16

The One-time Complainer 16

The Constant Complainer 16

The Axe-to-Grind 17

The Happy Customer 17

The Prima Donna 17

End result 17

2 Examples of When It Doesn’t Work (and What Happens) 19

Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst 24

Always Be Aware–It’s the Thing You Don’t Think of

that Can Kill You 25

Trust Your Instincts 27

Cooler Heads Prevail 28

Doing Something Is Better Than Doing Nothing 31

Your Audience Is Smarter Than You Are 33

Never Deceive Your Audience 34

3 Before the Explosion: Winning Your Customer 37

Before the Customer Is Even a Customer 38

Driving Revenue 39

Find Out Where Your Customers Are 39

Pay Attention 41

Devise a Plan to Reach Your Customers 44

Case Studies 49

Solematescom 49


4 Customer Service Is a Way of Life 53

Self-Promotion Versus Helping 59

Case Study: Bravo! Italian Restaurant and Bar 61

Case Study: Risdall Integration Group 61

Case Study: Law Offices of Daniel R Rosen, PC 62

Background 62

A New Approach 63

From Invisible to the First Page 63

Case Study: Grasshopper 63

Case Study: Peter Kuhn’s Food Truck 65

Case Study: Inclind, Inc 66

Case Study: Which Wich Superior Sandwiches 67

Summary (and a Challenge) 69

5 Social Media Damage Control: Stopping Small Problems from Becoming Big Ones 71

First Things First: Different Types of Complainers 73

Overarching Rules for Handling any Complaint 75

Handling Different Kinds of Complainers 76

The Never-Complained-Before Complainer 77

The Multi-Complainer Complainer 79

The I-Can’t-Believe-He’s-Complaining Complainer 80

The One-with-Photos-and-Videos-and-Multiple-Camera-Angles Complainer 84

Dealing with Complaints That Are Personal 86

The @cnnbreakingnews Complainer 90

Wrap-up 91

6 Making Customer Addicts Online: Best Practices That Work! 93

A Few Rules of the Road 95

So, How Do You Do It? 96

So You Have a Physical Presence 97

Make Them Feel Welcome 100

Make Them Feel Appreciated 103

Make Them Want to Return 105

Make Them Want to Share 107

Loyalty Codes 108

Recap 112

7 Keeping the Addiction Going 113

Ten Rules to Live By 115

You Want to Hook Your Customers 116

Poor Quality = Fewer Returning Customers 117

Yours Better Be Better 119

Breed Loyal Customers 120

Offer New Value 122

Make It Easy for the Customer 124

Refine, Refine, Refine 124

Know How Customers Want to Receive Information 126

Keep an Eye on the Competition 128

Freebies = Loyalty 131

Supply and Demand, Baby 132

Summary 133

8 Monitoring Your Successes and Failures 135

Google Tools 137

Google News Alerts 138

Google News (http://newsgooglecom) 141

Google Blogsearch 141

Twitter 141

Facebook 145

Email Marketing 148

An Example of Email Marketing Done Right 151

Finding the Time to Monitor Social Media 152

9 Putting It All Together: What Did We Learn? 157

The World of One Screen 160

Be “That Guy” 163

Saddling Up 164

Recovering from Social Media Face-plants 166

Paying It Forward Pays Off at Crisis Time 167

Learn It Know It Live It 169

Head ’em Off at the Pass 171

Creating Customers for Life 172

Thinking Like a Drug Dealer 174

The Right Tool for the Job 175

A Few Final Words 175

Index 179

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