Social media platforms allow customer networks to be bigger, faster and better organized. They increase the downside of getting service wrong and the upside of getting it right.

The effects are both direct and indirect. Zappos generates so much buzz with its fantastic service experience that the company can spend significantly less on marketing than its rivals. This virtuous service cycle spins faster because we get to trumpet our delight on Facebook.

In other words, social media improves service by making the market for peer-to-peer opinion more efficient. This is good news for good service and bad news for bad service. End of not-so-complicated story.

Here’s what makes the phenomenon interesting — you get to play along. You get to drive awareness and loyalty and other good things with a whole range of new digital tools. The larger discussion about social media has focused primarily on this opportunity, as have the venture capital markets. Promising start-ups like Endorse are in the game of helping you become a better architect of the social chatter.

But the opportunity doesn’t end there, on the revenue side of the business. Social media make it easier and cheaper not just to acquire customers, but also to partner with them operationally, to collaborate with customers to make your service model work even better. Here are three ways that social media can improve service delivery: