Down here at the Gartner Customer360 Summit we have a house full of folks struggling with the concept of blending their existing Social Media ‘strategy’ into a more holistic Enterprise Social strategy. There is a problem: IT is off to the side, more than happy to help but often not wanted at the party. Marketing is working with agencies on seductive content. Customer Service is treading water hoping for a life raft from the Social Media team that will give them, Customer Service, a way to understand what customers are saying. And what about the Social Media newbies sending in that list of keywords and sentiment from Facebook and Twitter? They think all three – IT, Customer Service, and Marketing, are tragic. So much so that they didn’t show up. They show up at groovier venues – but a conference with people with real lines of business to run? They say NO NO NO. Out in splendid isolation, free of responsibility and with no access to impact customer processes, they can make no mistakes. They are the bubble kids, whereas our conference was about putting theory into practice to solve business problems.
For 85% of participants this week who are in the world of Customer Service, a question has been asked over and over: what is our role now in the brave new world of “Social.” And I’d say, “Let us do something, while we have the chance! It is not every day that we are needed. Not indeed that we personally are needed. Others would meet the case equally well, if not better…. Why are we here, that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come.” OK, maybe it was Vladimir who said this in Act II of Samuel Beckett’s, Waiting for Godot. But both feelings are there: what is our ultimate role in this ‘social experiment,’ and ‘what do we do today?’
I have been impressed by the many initiatives under way in our customer base, making Customer Service more collaborative, more social, better leveraging crowd-sourced knowledge. In my 24 one-on-one customer interviews this week, the true risk takers and leaders have been mostly business to business. They have figured out how to connect people to people, how to foster trust and participation and relevancy for participants in networks. They have helped identify knowledge and content gaps, helped in its creation, curation and retirement. And they have performance metrics to demonstrate success.
I am encouraged by the passion CIOs are showing in wanting to get in front of Social Media, and in the Customer Service teams and their search for guidance on how to find 1) the value of social to the customer and the value of social to the business, 2) the right way to measure risk/reward in social projects, 3) how to make the effort most relevant to customers.
Though I didn’t see a specific secret to success in on-boarding ‘social/collaboration’ into ongoing Customer Service efforts, there were definitely best practices. These usually were evident in businesses where IT, Marketing and Customer Service had stronger roles, and where senior executives sanction and watch the initiatives evolve.
I look forward to hearing from the many clients and guests who joined us this week. The summit was incredibly alive and interactive, and I learned a lot about the hard work so many of you are putting into all of your Customer Experience programs. Thanks for all who came, and for those of you who couldn’t be there – maybe I’ll see you in London in June (http://bit.ly/hYmC8y ) or Orlando in October!
Category: Applications CIO Contact Center CRM Gartner Customer 360 Summit Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning Uncategorized Tags: