Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo may face trouble ahead if they don't get closer to their customers.
That's the argument from BNET's Steve Tobak. He argues that the good times won't last for Internet darlings because although the enable collaboration they don't have any customer service worth anything.
You see, the customers of Internet companies like Google and Facebook are pretty much everybody. How would you like to be in charge of keeping customer service costs down at a company that swings its doors wide open to a pretty big chunk of planet Earth’s population? Talk about a tough job.
Look, this is a serious problem. If they don’t figure out a way to stay close to their customers, they won’t survive. I don’t care how many users they have or how big their brands are today.
Tobak's argument goes like this:
- It's impossible to get anyone on the phone at these companies.
- Google CEO Larry Page has a big plan to streamline the search giant's decision making---and nowhere does he mention dealing with customers.
- Companies that endure have relationships with customers and can weather ups and downs better. Think Apple and Amazon.
- If Google, Twitter and Facebook don't solve for customers they're toast in the long run.
Tobak's argument is fun to ponder. And Google is nearing that too-big phase where it could stumble. What Tobak misses though is that consumer interaction happens in many forms. Facebook is forging a relationship with consumers via the social network, its mea culpa over privacy changes and enabling pictures of your weekend adventures. Twitter has a similar story.
The big question is whether these online relationships are enduring. Nothing makes me feel better about Amazon, Verizon or any other company then getting a real helpful human on the phone.