Support: To hold or withstand

In most recent study we see that contact centres are supposedly the primary source for  a contact help centre for majority of the companies. In chapter 8 of the Groundswell (2011) by Charline Li and Joseph Bernoff, we will examine the traditional customer support and the Groundswell way of customer support. The chapter will also include how using the Groundswell support can be an advantage and cost-effective instead of using contact centres.

Lets take a closer look into the chapter, I am in retail right now so I can use my job as an example. Typically individuals would want to make a sale and hope to never hear from that customer again, since it is believed that you were successful. However, individuals will always seem to have questions or unsure about what to do with their products. In the chapter Li and Bernoff explain how there is a heavy cost to companies when they receive phone calls in regards to their products or service. Li and Bernoff state that it can cost the company more that $6 and technical support for as much as twice the amount. Therefore, handling phone calls in the call centres can drag the company down and costing them a lot of money.

Saving money for the company is always a good thing. So this can all be avoided by different tactics proposed in the Groundswell. Since there will always be some customer concerns and issues, the Groundswell proposed easier solutions to maintain customers needs without having to break the company. This includes having some support forums, Q&A pages, and Wikis. Having a supported and well monitored forums for example Dell, resulted in a large cost savings from customer sharing and posting their solutions or recommendations.


Considering how the groundswell support itself you need to consider three factors:

  1. What problem you will solve?
  2. How you will participate?
  3. Should you create a support community or join an existing one?

(Li & Bernoff, 2011)

Keeping those factors in mind, Li and Bernoff give some advice on getting started with a community. Such as building a community for support:

  1. Start small but plan for larger presence
  2. Reach out to most active customers
  3. Plan to drive traffic to your community
  4. Build a reputation system
  5. Let your customers lead you

(Li & Bernoff, 2011)

One example that I find interesting is this Beauty forum called Makeup talk  . The beauty industry is booming lately, especially with the latest trends for styling hair and makeup. A beauty forum is neat when it comes to asking questions about what makeup will best fit yourself or how to apply a product a certain way. Having feedback from not only the companies of the products but other individuals that have used it or know how to apply, are able to give you their feedback on it. I find this forum very helpful when I have a question about a certain product. For an example if this particular foundation that I am planning on buying will dry out my face. I can have feedback from individuals that have possibly used it and can give me their advice and recommendations on the product.


Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. (expanded and revised edition). Boston: Harvard Business Review School Press.

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