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October 2013, Volume 1, Number 5

When it comes to online engagement, the pressure's on

I bought my son a gaming headset for his birthday. The thing arrived dead on arrival. Trying to reach the maker's customer support, I found that contact could be made only through an email form, which generated an automated reply, but ultimately no interaction with a live representative. After several days of waiting, I found the company on Facebook and left a subtle message on its wall. Bingo, instant response. But for old-school users like me, it still wasn’t very satisfying that the traditional channels of communication were unsupported. For more on online engagement Get the upper hand in social media strategy Don’t get hung up on call centers The story illustrates a not-so-unusual problem: an inability to interact with customers whenever and however they want. And while more companies, like the handset maker, are looking to Twitter and Facebook for first contact these days, many others are just looking to establish a presence there. The Metropolitan Utilities District of Omaha, Neb., for example, was "stuck" with just a call...

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