Customer service & PR: What do you think?

Customer service & PR: What do you think?

The lecture this week made me realize that people who don’t know exactly who PR practitioners are may misconstrue what it is that we do. However, I didn’t pause to think that they may know exactly who we are, maybe even better than we do. My professor made me privy to the fact that a lot of people consider PR practitioners as customer service representatives.

While I still feel that there is a lot more to PR than simply customer service, I want to know what your perceptions of PR people are. I am trying to understand what outside perceptions are so that we as PR practitioners might be able to use the information to better craft our messages.

So let’s hear it…what do you really think about PR people? What role do we serve within an organization?

And as always, thanks!


3 Responses to “Customer service & PR: What do you think?”
  1. Jenny says:

    Okay, this is my take, and I could be totally off-base. I admit that I think it’s hard to define PR. I believe it’s because PR is so heavily tied to marketing. This is how I perceive it, and again I could be totally off-base:

    You have a brand (be that a person, organization, etc.)
    You support your brand through marketing/communication efforts
    Marketing/Communications utilize Advertising and Public Relations as tools to support their efforts (Public Relation efforts can/do utilize advertising tactics)

    In general, I believe the purpose of Public Relation practicioners is to create a positive relationship between a brand and its public.

    I wouldn’t go as far to say a Public Relation practioner is a Customer Service rep; I’d say they could carry the title of Customer Relations.

    I would consider a Customer Service rep a Public Relations “tool”… which sounds totally dehumanizing, but hopefully you get my point.

    • wolfpack13 says:

      I don’t think this came off negatively at all. In fact, I agree with most of what you said. I’d say the most important aspect of our positions is to build a relationship with our publics. I think PR is often so confusing because organizations can use different labels and often have different ideas of who the ideal PR person is. Especially with the addition of new technology, the line is probably more blurry than ever as to what a PR person actually does.

  2. Derek says:

    I don’t know that I see a PR rep the same as a customer service rep. When I think customer service I picture the person standing behind the returns desk getting yelled at which is not what I picture when I think PR. I see the PR representative to be more the voice of the company. The engineers design the product and the assembly line builds it but the PR rep has to understand the customer and help them realize that they need what your company has to offer. It takes a lot of people and personalities to make “the machine” function properly and the PR rep is the cog on the wheel that smooths the social barrier between stages of the process.

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