by Michael Maoz | January 22, 2013 | 1 Comment
If you have not gone through the new 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer deck from Edelman Insights, check out their site: http://www.edelman.com/trust-downloads/global-results-2/. This global survey highlights some ideas that you know from your gut, but cringe when you read them. For example, that less than 20% of people believe that business leaders make ethical business decisions. Or that 18% of respondents believe that business leaders tell the truth. Maybe the upside is that the CEO has a very low bar in front of his or her self.
Another of the many questions asked was about the number of times the average person needs to hear the same message from an enterprise before they believe it: 68% of people said that they needed to hear the same message three-to-five times for it to stick. And if you want to be believed: be an “Expert” and not an “Industry Analyst.” Experts in a field are the most trusted business figures in the world, regardless of location or age group or industry.
That leads us to the strange land, laden with abstruse business Jargon, known as Jargonia. The map is particularly vexing for the region of “Social.” Maturity models and cross-functional collaboration and refining core principles, aligning metrics for value outcomes. Yikes. You get to feel Dorothy’s fears on the way to Oz: ”Oh! Lions and tigers and bears. Oh my.”
Not that the terms are not valuable. They just need to be attached to very concrete ideas on how to move from theory to action. Many of the Social strategies that companies are trying to put in place are hung up on the shoals of jargon. Rather than clear goals, like wiring diagrams explaining the complex skein of wires and welds beneath a motherboard, there is a lot of yammer and chatter. One of the responses to an earlier post illustrated a very nice, clear, and satisfying example of how Nestlé uses social media to detect, analyze, resolve and respond to a customer’s post on Facebook. Maybe everyone can’t have the resources of a Nestlé, but everyone can create clear, integrated strategies to resolve customer issues in a holistic way.
What does ‘holistic’ mean: social listening was tied to customer support. Customer support was linked to a customer database. There was access to a business rule. There was a rule to reach out and, proactively at this point, solve the customer’s problem. There was case creation so that the business could maintain a ‘corporate memory’ of the problem resolution. There was a “Closed Loop” system to get back to the customer, allowing the customer to see the elegant mechanism that had allowed Nestlé to recover from an initial glitch in the Contact Center, detected through Facebook. It was all about the outcome: a ‘win-back’ of a disappointed customer who is now ‘delighted.’ The final step, and I can’t say if it happened or not, would be to feed the analysis of how the process broke down in the first place BACK to the original source, and get it fixed. The best recovery from a bad customer experience is to not have the bad experience to begin with.
CIOs are in a terrific position to take a more ascendant position in Social strategies. They know a great deal about measurement, and about program management, regulations, fraud, security, and technology selection. Over the next three years, CIOs could be partners with global heads of digital marketing in designing systems that lead to greater trust, greater consistency, and, as a result, greater respect for the Brand.
Here is to a 2013-2015 where the CIO and heads of marketing and customer support band together to rewrite the map to great customer experiences.
Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications CIO CRM Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning Tags:
by Michael Maoz | January 17, 2013 | 1 Comment
Whenever I am in a large European Call Center, or Contact Center, peering at the screens that the poor denizens or these neglected warrens face every day, I expect to look down at my wrist and see my grandfather’s 1965 Bulova Accutron Spaceview wristwatch. Now THAT was a cool watch. Quartz crystal!! And, yes, it still had a tuning fork, and everything was visible through the beautiful case. Why that particular image? Because the interfaces for customer service, customer support, bill payment, advisory services, reservations, order management and the like are aged. “Aged” in a sense somewhere between Life Support and Assisted Living.
Take a quick look at the revenue streams of the largest software vendors in the world and profits have trended upward in direct correlation to the age of the desktop software delivered to Customer Service Contact Centers, and in inverse relationship to the innovations that they have delivered their clients.
What is the prognosis? The innovation train is off of the rails. Instead, the major vendors appear content to lose a percentage of the user licenses to niche best-in-class vendors, while the real innovation goes into Social and Big Data, Analytics, and mobile technologies. All of these initiatives are important. Vendors follow the money – that is what they are supposed to do; they are businesses with shareholders first and foremost, not philanthropists.
The irony is that business leaders and IT leaders speak with increasing urgency about the need to rethink the role of IT. They want IT more of an integrated part of the decision making about customer processes. Marketing and IT are achieving wonderful ends with Social Media and mobile commerce. All the while the customer service function drags its process knuckles waiting for crumbs from the business to overhaul the desktop. The current customer interaction desktop cannot support customer engagement on social networks or media. Those interactions are soloed in separate systems, running separate processes, which then may or may not be integrated, captured, and leveraged when the customer comes onto a ‘traditional’ customer service channel. It is a little like Albania during the years that it engineered its trains to run on a different gauge so that transportation would be difficult with the outside world.
When will the impasse be broken and the software market for large customer service centers with complex processes deliver a 21st century product that could be called a Customer Engagement Hub, open to customers across all channels, available across Europe and Asia and the Americas, for example?
Anyone care to wager when such a CRM system will come online? Will it be after the five years of hype around Social and Mobile and Big Data have somewhat diminished?
Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications CIO Cloud Contact Center CRM Innovation and Customer Experience IT Governance Leadership SaaS and Cloud Computing Social CRM Social Networking Strategic Planning Vendor Contracts Tags:
by Michael Maoz | January 8, 2013 | 2 Comments
My “Triple Play” communications provider was the first to invest significant time, thought, and resources into Social Media. It built social listening, actively monitors and responds to Tweets and Facebook posts, and analyzes all of the social interactions of its customers. Why then, one might ask, do they fail so miserably at basic customer processes? A reasonable place to start is over in Customer Support. Not only am I a customer of this enterprise, but they are also a client, which means there is every reason to mask the identity of said business. It can be said from outside observance that the technical support team with whom customers interact is top-notch. They are well trained, do not rush, have a great attitude, and can usually get a problem solved.
Customer Support passes the customer satisfaction test, but the enterprise fails the customer satisfaction test. Here is a recent example: Six weeks ago came a request by the company to customers to upgrade the modems that they supply to take advantage of higher speeds. Ordering a new modem was a snap, and could be done over the telephone or internet or through the mail or in a store. What could be better than this all-channel option? So far, so good. And four weeks later, at the New Year, UPS delivered a new modem.
And now I began to feel like a genius. A genius in the sense that Jonathan Swift wrote in his epigraph to Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting, “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”
What happened? It is kind of funny, in a “Whose on First” sort of way. Here goes: The instructions for installation were a snap, as long as your home had no routers. As long as you have only one landline. As long as you do not mind that the Customer Support person for the telephone signal is a different person than for the Internet connection, even though the phone is IP telephony. And you don’t mind that three times the phone line goes dead during the transfer between departments. If you don’t mind waiting seven minutes after the third transfer and repeating everything you said on the initial call. But we worked through it all, after 39 minutes. Some ‘Snap.”
Ah, and then there is the ‘Satisfaction Survey.’ Satisfaction’ with what, exactly? The automated voice asks, “Thinking only about your last interaction…..” and I think… the one where I was cut off twice and the rest was self service? Or the original call that was great but partial, but with a human? And no matter how great, or how abysmal my answers were, there is statistically no chance I will ever hear back from them.
And now the final bit of fun: I must return their old equipment. But it is “EASY” it says on the instructions. Just wrap it in the box provided, tape the box with the tape not provided, attach the label provided and 1) bring it to a UPS drop box or 2) call UPS for a pick up or 3) find a UPS store and deliver it. Which did I want? The free pick up. But the UPS number rang and put me on hold for eight minutes and then the kind, helpful, and polite woman said: “Sir, your provider pays for the shipping, but not for the cost of pick up at your home.” Oh. Hmmm. (I would include an image of the instructions, but it would reveal the provider, which is not, for example, ATT or Verizon or DirectTV.).
Next step: I guess I’ll drop it in a UPS Drop Box, which I found conveniently from the UPS website in three seconds. And only three minutes from my house. But it is -13C outside. No problem. Not until I try to fit the box that the company provided into the Drop Box. It was too large. Natch. Again, I’ve got a cute photo of the box and the mouth of the Drop Box and all of the different angles that wouldn’t work that would be great for Instagram. So I drive off into the sunset (literally) and find the UPS Store using my mobile app. UPS, once again, couldn’t be nicer or easier or more friendly.
So: where are we? My provider’s social media engine is a Lamborghini – loaded with power and ready to scream down the Autobahn. But the CRM road it travels is like the rutted back roads around Guanacaste in Costa Rica. How will this fine company, with good customer service, understand that the disconnect between Social Media, where it is ‘really listening’ and the actual customer experience, where it has a blind spot, is causing a lot of lost good will, and a tremendous amount of wasted money in escalations, repeated calls, and client defection? Why force the customer to ‘complain’ into the Social Ether rather than create a truer picture of the customer experience?
These are not difficult issues. They seem to be intractable largely due to organisational silos. We likely all see analogous behaviours in our own organisations. I would love to hear more from those of you who have successfully overcome the natural splintering that happens within businesses!
Oh, one more thing: for those of you who are clients, we published the 2013 Social for CRM vendor guide listing as many of the key vendors for Social and CRM, and the subcategories: http://www.gartner.com/resId=2295516
Thanks again for your many insights.
Category: CIO CRM Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning Tags:
by Michael Maoz | January 3, 2013 | 6 Comments
In his 1994 album, Wildflowers, Tom Petty wrote a song, Time to move on, and the entrance goes like this:
It’s time to move on, time to get going
What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing
But under my feet, baby, grass is growing
It’s time to move on, it’s time to get going
And a few of us feel that way about the term Social CRM. It was never a great term, but it was – and maybe is for most – a sturdy enough term. It just feels a bit like a draught horse when you’re looking for an Appaloosa. Apropos Tom Petty and what we are doing here by adding the preposition ‘for’ between the “Social” and the “CRM” is that he and Rick Rubin decided that the five-piece band around Petty was great, but to really capture another dimension a whole lot of other talents were needed. They went out and invited greats like Ringo Starr and Carl Wilson and Michael Kamen to strengthen the songs and give the album a new depth and subtlety.
And that is what we will be doing more of in 2013 – broader collaboration with other superb Gartner teams like our Social and Collaboration and High Performance Workplace colleagues. Analysts such as Jeff Mann, Sue Landry, Nikos Drakos, Tom Austin – and many others. We have been building more synergy with those groups – and joining their research teams – to expand the meaning of “Social for…..” in a more cohesive research framework.
Our preposition proposition is to simply say “Social for Marketing,” and “Social for Customer Service,” and “Social for CRM,” as examples. What is Social for CRM? It remains a business strategy. It is a strategy of building/fostering/analyzing customer connections, reputation, trust and intentions, and harnessing them to recommend, buy, and/or advise. As we have said in the past, Social for CRM benefits the business by fostering engagement, participation and interaction among customers, and among employees, prospects and partners.
Three things to end with:1) let us know what you think. Are you thinking: ‘this makes sense!’ or are you reminded of the 1998 film, Something about Mary and the discussion between Ted and the Hitchhiker that goes:
“You heard of this thing, the 8-Minute Abs?” (hitchhiker)
Ted responds: “Yeah, sure, 8-Minute Abs. Yeah, the exercise video.”
And the hitchhikers great new idea:
“Yeah, this is going to blow that right out of the water. Listen to this: 7 —- Minute —– Abs!”
2) Look for our new vendor guide, the 2013 Social for CRM Vendor Guide, to be released soon – categorizing and listing all of the latest segments and vendors.
3) Look for much more from colleagues Jenny Sussin, Adam Sarner and others on the topic.
Social suffuses everything – from inventory to HR to travel to social shopping, selling, customer service and marketing. Social is a part of the grander Customer Strategy, for which CRM remains a useful, albeit imperfect proxy. Social for CRM, we believe, will be an acceptable refinement. But what lies ahead, as the song goes, I have no way of knowing. Ultimately – you and you alone will decide.
Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications CIO CRM Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning Tags:
by Michael Maoz | December 4, 2012 | 2 Comments
Pete Seeger, an American songwriter, wrote a number called, “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy” in 1967 that discussed following leaders without question, even when they lead you into peril. Observing how many fine businesses and governments are prioritizing their IT initiatives for 2013, it is hard not to have Big Muddy playing in the background. Forward BIG DATA. Forward MOBILE. It’s less Rebel without a Cause and more a case of Cause without a Rebel. Rebel without a Cause was a 1950′s American film about inter-generational conflict, with teenagers questioning adult authority. Where are those rebels in the business, questioning the wisdom of high-profile IT projects, demanding the business value to be derived from the initiative, to ask why is Project A of #1 priority versus another project.
Socrates, wrote Plato in the Apology, said that you could always kill off the gadfly – that person who was so irritating – yes, they could be silenced. Don’t listen to the questioning of ‘why’ and ‘to what end’ or ‘why now’ or ‘why this and not this?’ But the strategic cost of uprooting or silencing the dissenter or annoying challenger to conventional wisdom will be too high in the long term.
Why mention this now, as IT plans for 2013 are about to launch? Because ‘now’ is always the time to ask this question. We are taking a huge volume of calls around the customer experience from leaders in marketing, sales and customer support. New persona or roles such as the chief customer officer or chief customer experience officer are contending with established roles such as the heads of Information Analytics and Business Analytics and Chief Data Scientist. Is it the speed of decision taking, or the quality of the information gathered, or the elegance of the customer process, or a combination? Who knows? Who is responsible to know and communicate and decide these issues?
Where are your Rebels in the cause of the customer?
Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications CIO CRM Innovation and Customer Experience IT Governance Leadership Social CRM Social Networking Strategic Planning Tags:
by Michael Maoz | November 27, 2012 | 3 Comments
The HP/Autonomy story gives outsiders indigestion and insider-competitors a glissade of Schadenfreude. That story I will leave to the experts, but it does raise the issue of ‘what does the CIO really know about enterprise software ‘fit for use?’ Most of the time the CIO knows the software vendor’s product line the same way we know the character Gabriel Allon in a Daniel Silva novel. Say, A Death in Vienna. From the outside there are conferences that the vendor puts on with a line dedicated to CRM applications, or their new social media line, or their native mobile apps strategy or Cloud investment. They may even have customer testimonials. The crowd is made up of IT leaders and a sprinkling of CIOs. The CIOs receive the special treatment and the rest of us walk around dazed.
Reality as to the readiness of most of the CRM applications is a distant mirror of what is. The big questions of: what did you install in the past 12 months that maps to my needs? Which integrators are proven to have the committed resources for my industry and geography? How much time and effort are you, software vendor, devoting to this line of product? Could you give me an honest glimpse into the development teams: their size, location, specialties, and roll-out schedules?
Instead the CIO is trapped like the lead in Eco’s L’isola del Giorno Prima. But decisions have to be made, and we trust the supplier for their core database, or operating system and web tools, or ERP expertise – so let’s run with them with the CRM ‘line.’ As if there were such a thing as a ‘Suite’ for ‘CRM.’ The mixed metaphor of business applications (former) versus business process (latter). The CIO wants the simplicity of a reduced set of preferred vendors, and consistent tools, and stable supplier. All correct reasonings. But the line of business sees a best of breed component for incentive compensation, territory management, community management, social network analysis, text analytics, text mining, pattern matching. The list goes on and on and on. And in the new world of Cloud-based applications, the line of business business leader in sales, digital marketing, customer support, or online-presence requires and demands independence from core-IT decisions. They come later asking for forgiveness rather than come earlier and ask for advice. The advice is increasingly limited to ‘what can we absolutely not do to ruin your IT and governance needs?’
What is the CIO to do? Ask tougher questions. Require stricter adherence to reference-checking protocol. Make no commitments until after a proof of concept. Get claw-backs for any failed proof of concept. In the plug-and-play world of Cloud, with subscription services, open APIs and Web Services, it will hard to hold back any line of business that has budget of its own for innovation. There has never been a better time to forge stronger links between IT and the business – that is the upside towards a CIO’s improved vision.
Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications CIO Cloud CRM Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership SaaS and Cloud Computing Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning Tags:
by Michael Maoz | November 20, 2012 | Comments Off
The United States is about to slide into the annual Thanksgiving mania that culminates in an orgy of commercialism on Black Friday, while parenthetically remembering the original reasons for the thanks. Some of us never forget, and often it is because of lives lived where the notion of tolerance and the integrity of cultural identify are not sacrosanct or to be taken for granted as they are on occasion in the United States.
The Pilgrims had William Bradford, and others have had their leaders, like Bafuor Osei Akoto or Harvey Milk or Václav Havel, Dennis Bank or Ho Chi Minh. There are all kinds of liberations. At the end of the day, the Dissenters from England who came to the “New World” were mostly afraid that what was unique about them would be lost as their self-exile in Holland continued.
Returning this past Friday from a week of client visits in the Middle East, it left me impressed by the deep yearning in the business world and among young entrepreneurs to leverage the new social media tools to improve the lives of others and to better understand data and provide transparency. Whether the startup is a Yotpo (https://www.yotpo.com/), or Tracx (http://www.tracx.com/)or a SumAll (https://sumall.com/), there is endless innovation. In fact, wherever there is a respect for ideas, and a premium rewarded to freedom of expression and commitment, greatness emerges.
We should not be afraid of giving the upstart startup a try. They may be your Squanto bringing you from the stuffy and oppressive status quo of your business into new innovative areas.
“See you” next week.
Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications CRM Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning Tags:
by Michael Maoz | November 14, 2012 | 1 Comment
Each week, the final page of The New Yorker magazine contains an ink drawing of a social situation, and beneath it you are invited to invent your own comic line to capture what is going on in the cartoon. Imagine the number of ways that the title line above could be completed, “A CIO, VP of marketing and a customer walk into a bar…..”. Like…. ‘but never into the same bar.’ Or… ‘and though they work for the same company, none of them recognize one another.’ From a CRM perspective, these quips are not that funny. Here is an example from real life: This week I am working in a country in the Middle East. I checked into the hotel – a global chain where I have a bit of ‘guest status,’ and I have stayed 18 times before at this location. And….
What happened at check-in at the hotel? To begin, I should add that my company holds a yearly high-tech conference here, and the hotel has cumulatively generated over a million dollars from the events. The next note is that I have been the conference co-chairperson for the last ten conferences. My company’s Travel group made my reservation. With that background, and the fact that my Credit Card has not changed, and I explicitly told the person working the reception desk the above information, would you be surprised that they there was not a single unique business rule to recognize any of this, or factor the information in to make any special offers. More than that, I was offered a standard room with no business lounge access. There was no question as to whether or not I would like to upgrade, even though I have ordered a room upgrade each of the past 18 stays. I had to ask them for the upgrade. The irony is that the upgrade comes with access to the lounge restaurants and free meals and beverages, a range of newspapers, and business facilities. The ‘upgrade’ makes the overall stay less expensive than if I either ordered room service or went to a restaurant. I explained this to the receptionist – she did not suggest that analysis on her own.
I will continue to return to the hotel, despite the kinks. At breakfast, the restaurant manager came over to ask me how everything was going. As I was telling him that it was all wonderful, I glanced down and saw a four inch strand of plastic embedded in my meal. I pointed it out and he removed it to show ‘the chef.’ Then he returned to say that ‘the chef says it’s ok.’ Ah. Yum. There were multiple other small wonders. In my ‘member profile’ I ask for a morning paper, but because I didn’t make the original reservation, one never came. When I supplied my member number, I still received no paper. Then I asked for one: and for one morning I received a newspaper, but never again. I asked if the outdoor pool was still open at this time of year. They told me no, yet in the morning there were swimmers enjoying laps. I called downstairs and the receptionist said: ‘yes, it is open, but it is too cold to swim!’ Thank you, grandma. Why bother complaining that they want $20 for each device that you want to put onto their network to receive internet and data?
The wonder of it all is that none of the events that I experienced are recorded anywhere. IT is not going to work with Marketing to better identify ‘high value’ customers. As a customer I will have no ‘view’ into whatever was done to address the multiple small process-snags that I experienced. There is no ‘voice of the customer’ program in place, and there is no ‘Chief of Customer Journey’ who will follow up with me.
Let’s not miss the big picture: I am not complaining about the hotel. I won’t ever mention their name, or the country they are in. I won’t Tweet this or place it on Facebook or not “Like” the property. But they don’t know that, because they are not listening. And before any of us say, “That would not happen with us!” – don’t be so sure. We all have process flaws that lead our customers to defect or complain. Perhaps the number one impediment to improving customer-facing processes is that no one ‘owns’ the customer experience. For those companies with such a role, good things happen. When there is no such role, it is hard to pin the blame anywhere, or drive improvement through a coherent, iterative approach and strategy.
Back to work…. I’ll stay away from the buffet.
Category: CIO CRM Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership Social CRM Social Networking Strategic Planning Twitter Tags:
by Michael Maoz | November 6, 2012 | Comments Off
How can anyone not thank J. J. Abrams and his Bad Robot Productions for creating “Revolution?” Watching it, oddly, creates a stream-of-consciousness thought that one of the character Flashbacks should be to one of the CRM platforms from one of the large enterprise application vendors. Over the past seven years only one new and scalable CRM system has emerged on a stable Cloud platform. If you are an IT leader or a VP of Customer Support and you are looking out at the possibilities for a facelift – the range of choices is grim. There are a couple of fine, legacy application providers who have carefully maintained their platforms, and targeted them for tight use-cases such as health insurance.
What happened? Who pulled the plug on CRM innovation targeted for use by humans in the myriad customer service centers around the planet? There are about six million customer service reps around the world – two million of them are in North America. And you know what new tools they have gotten lately? The equivalent of the Abacus and Sextant. Both were fabulous tools in their day, and have a role still. But, really?
Where is the modern desktop with built in real-time decision support? With a view into the customer’s social path through Google and Facebook and/or a forum? How about advanced knowledge retrieval? Contextual knowledge crafted to the likely needs of the customer and needs of the enterprise that serves them?
We are in an age of wonderful tools to collaborate internally, to support online communities, to analyze customer patterns, voices, words and movements. Yet all of these tools that are second nature to the digital native are foreign to the VP of Customer Support, or, more properly stated, out of their reach. The cool stuff goes to the cool people in Digital Media and Marketing. Exactly 45 years ago, Bob Dylan was recording the album, John Wesley Harding. One of the track lyrics sums it up for the VP of Customer Service and the agents in his/her charge:
I pity the poor immigrant
Whose strength is spent in vain.
Central to the problem is that the enterprise is challenged with coping with mobile customers, Social Media, the need for information analysis, and a new wave of Cloud-based applications. The enterprise application vendors follow the money, and most CEOs have punted on supplying human interaction in favor of self service and social media. The VP of Customer Service does not have much clout with the CIO at the moment. The ageless beauty of silicon trumps the fleeting looks of carbon equivalents (AKA, humans). But, as they say: the wheel’s still in spin.
Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications CIO Cloud Contact Center CRM Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership SaaS and Cloud Computing Social CRM Strategic Planning Tags:
by Michael Maoz | October 17, 2012 | 1 Comment
In Primary School you may have sat next to the class chatterbox, the babbling font of intransitives garbled, gargled and machine-gun rapid. That kid has grown up, and she’s now sitting behind you on a flight that has not taken off. She has her camera going and she is speaking to her boyfriend Shawn about the sandwich she bought, and the photo she just posted, and don’t forget to change Max’s water. Aren’t you glad to know the little Yorkie is not in her bag?
For too many web forums, Twitter streams and Facebook pages, the stream of posts can be, well, annoying. Catty, off-color, negative. The number of posts will not diminish. Human brains are adapting rapidly to the new normal, and though it is too soon to tell what permanent rewiring may occur over the next 50 years, we are sure that the need to reply is accelerating. What many enterprises have underestimated is the level of engagement that is required to steer the course of a discussion. Social media is all about enabling the consumer to take control of the dialogue. At the same time the business has to be at work laying invisible railroad tracks, with pathways, signal gates and monitors. These are required to keep discussions going in a healthy direction instead of devolving into a train wreck.
Who is in charge of the effort to orchestrate, even to a minimal degree, the rough sounds from social media? Many of us retrain marketing folks, or take advice from agencies, and then hire a bunch of business neophytes who are born into social media. The experts, on the other hand, are hiring ethnographers and sociologists with business backgrounds. They ‘get’ that 98% of customers don’t post – they lurk. They are not exactly passive. They are like most citizens, who, though they do not run for public office, or even vote, still care deeply about what is being said.
You are responsible for giving a shape to the conversation. Sometimes you will offer a response. Sometimes that response will be as a result of an invitation that you have extended to a customer to allow you to call or email or chat privately. There you can marshall all of the enterprise resources to address their concern or problem. Other times you will just hear (or deduce) what bothers a customer and get it fixed. This is the real value of Social Media – the wonder of the recursive and heuristic: iteratively improving, tweaking, communicating. It isn’t child’s play. It isn’t chatter or banter or prattle. It is serious business. It is your business, and it needs to be put in the hands of experts to the same extent that you put sales and logistics and security in the hands of the experts.
Social media may be the new kid in class, but the kid needs a top-flight teacher to guide them.
(Sidebar: If you are a Gartner client, you might want to read my overview of what Dreamforce seemed to indicate about the direction Salesforce.com is taking with the Service Cloud: http://www.gartner.com/resId=2198415 )
Thank you – so many of you – for your emails with great examples of how to harness social for customer support. I’ll see many of you down at Symposium in Orlando next week!
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