One-to-One Customer Service

Social Fresh Charlotte, 2010Social media has been considered by many to be a one-to-many or many-to-many distribution model. From a customer service perspective, social media can also create an opportunity for one-to-one communication. Customers concerned about “my” question want to be, and need to be, addressed. In conjunction with a one-to-many social media model, using a one-to-one conversation approach can facilitate interaction.

A Social Media Case Study: H & R Block

Zena Weist (@zenaweist) and Leigh Mutert (@LeighMutert) of H & R Block, the tax company, used a test-and-learn approach to develop a marketing strategy on web-based platforms (including Second Life). Over the past year, the company has evolved to a one-to-one approach for customer service from a holistic brand focus.

The one-to-one approach creates the opportunity to listen, engage, and respond. H & R Block uses an iPhone app, Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, and a “Get it Right Q & A Community Forum” to engage clients. Many of the one-to-one communication is handled through direct, private messages following tweets or via posts in these public forums.

From its launch in January 2010 through April 2010, more than 1.5 million people visited the Community Forum (totaling 13 million page views) and asked over 120,000 unique tax-related questions. These visits took shape with no formal marketing.

The concept for H&R Block is not to post “social-media-ish” content, but to be responsive to “one-and-done” customers. This approach recognizes customers, thanks them for their business, and addresses their concerns in public forums. In addition, it provides tax professionals in the company with training and resources for providing effective web-based responses. As Leigh Mutert put it, “It’s fun to be smart in public.”


  1. Thanks for the additional info. I was intrigued by the tweet from #sofresh. I’ll have to look up Zena and Leigh. Taking care of customers. I like it, particularly the use of a forum.
    -Angela (@communitygirl)

  2. Thanks for the nice write-up! It was a great experience to step back and look at our model through the eyes of an audience, and the group delivered some great questions. I like that you captured the excitement that we feel about our Community.

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