SocialDevCamp Chicago 2011 Recap

The lonelybrand crew had the opportunity to spend last weekend at SocialDevCamp Chicago: Summer Camp for the Social Web. It’s a combination Conference + Unconference + Hackathon that brings people from across the country to talk about the future of the social web. In case you missed out on the action, we put together recaps of a few of our favorite sessions.

Session: What’s Fanatical About Support?

Robert Collazo & Matt Wilbanks from the Rackspace Team

Rackspace is a hosting and cloud computing company that’s known for a thorough and well-respected customer service policy aptly named Fanatical Support. Why? Cloud Technician Matt Wilbanks put it like this: “the reality of technology is that things break. The important thing is how your company handles that.”

The Rackspace team closely monitors Twitter for mentions, complaints and compliments. They even built their own tool to internally measure Twitter response rates and sentiment. According to Rackspace engineer Robert Collazo, Twitter is a place for customers to be heard and for companies to be helpful. If someone says the service sucks, Rackspace wants to know why.

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“Unfortunately, a lot of companies see social media strictly as a marketing tool,” says Matt Wilbanks. Why not throw customer service into the mix too? Rackspace understands that the focus of social media should be solving problems and making people happy, not menial measurements like the value of one tweet.

Don’t plan on seeing any coupons come out of the Rackspace Twitter handle. For this company, being helpful doesn’t mean discounts – it means solving problems.

In the Rackspace world results come from being a helper, not a pusher.

It’s just one more tangible example of utilizing social engagement as part of a larger digital communications solution. Fielding customer service issues through social networks isn’t a panacea for all digital challenges, but it’s a great start.