I was reading Michael Dell’s question the other day about using Google+ Hangouts for customer service.



I think it’s a great idea, and judging by the 300+ comments, so do most people. What’s also great is Michael Dell asking the question in the first place. It shows how things have changed.

For me, though, I’d push the boat out even more and think about combining Hangouts with real time data visualisation. Imagine, as a customer or agent, being able to see the different issues that people are contacting you about (whether by email, Twitter, phone, chat, Google+, GoogleMaps, Facebook, Foursquare etc), perhaps as a tag cloud; you might see trending customer service issues. You would see the different ‘conversations’ taking place at any one time, the agents and customers ‘hanging out’, and depending on your specific issue either join or start the appropriate one. You might even have different options for joining the ‘conversations’ – email, chat, Google+ etc.

Let’s see how we can bring customer service to life, make it more engaging, more responsive, more immediate, more personal, even more fun. Perhaps with Hangouts we can begin to put a real ‘face’ to the organisation. There’s no reason why this approach couldn’t be applied to internal comms or sales.

Google+ is only the beginning. The challenge is deciding how you want to use it. Because in this day and age, each one of us is able to write ou own playbook.