Circuit City Could Learn a Thing or Two From Web 2.0

I’ve read, as I’m sure most of you already have, that Circuit City is filing for Chapter 11 amid the pounding it’s recently taken from suppliers and the economic depression.

Whether they weather the storm remains to be seen, but Circuit City has always held a special place in my heart because they’re a company that always seemed to get everything right but the customer service, which in my opinion usually stunk. The few times I did purchase electronics from that store, dealing with their customer service department felt like a time warp. Minus their Web site, it seemed they could be completely out of touch with the needs and manner in which to deal with younger consumers.

Fast forward to a new SugarCRM customer I spoke with last week, which is doing a great job of redefining customer service via Web 2.0. They’re leveraging Sugar’s open source architecture and Web 2.0 to build a system to connect self-service transactions on a Web portal to their contact center, with Sugar Enterprise “sitting” in the middle.

They’re also building instant messaging into their contact center to allow an agent who is unable to resolve a customer problem to reach an expert via IM and presence technology, and will deploy tools such as voice portals, email, and Web chat functionality to work alongside Web 2.0 technologies and unified communication applications, all integrated within Sugar.

Nor are they going overboard on the Web 2.0 wave. They’re being smart, cherry-picking the solutions that have tangible business benefits for both the company and customer experience.

The alternative is ignoring these increasing popular channels and damaging your company’s ability to better service its customers via experiences, much like Circuit City did.