June 28, 2007, 12:00 AM

Web retailers must handle with care both customers and customer service

(Page 2 of 2)

“TiVo, Canon, Palm, Cablevision and others are benefiting from customers and Web 2.0,” Sarner explains. “With TiVo, for instance, if you have a problem or don’t know how to set something up, most users know not to call the call center but instead first go to an online community message board that TiVo does not even own or operate, though it contributes to it.

“You can get a pre-existing answer from 10,000 people online much faster than from one person on the phone. People are submitting pictures and an amazing amount of information that transcends what a customer service center can offer. It behooves companies to monitor such communities and contribute to them.”

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