“Often companies think their customer service experience is better than it really is. However, most corporate customer support fails because it’s not human and is run through the marketing or PR departments.” That was the stark assessment of Frank Eliason, SVP of social at Citi. As a presenter at the Brands Conference on Wednesday in New York he outlined general problems facing the area along with ways to address the issues.

The customer service function is not new, but social media has changed the dynamic. “Social media has provided outlets where customers can vent, so they are taking back the power,” Eliason said. However, the existence of social platforms has led to another situation, he added. “Companies are in effect sending the message that if you want something fixed, then be as loud as you can about it.” He thinks the long-term answer is creating a feedback loop to fix the underlying causes of the complaints.

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