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March 29, 2017

Archives for October 2011

4 Fast Social Customer Service Answers to Big Questions

By michaelpace on October 31, 2011

I am finally settled in after a whirlwind conference tour talking with lots of Contact Center, Technology and Customer Service leaders.  Over the course of the last month, a few common questions kept popping up:

  • Is there positive ROI in Social Customer Service?
  • Who should own Social Media?
  • How to use for B2B’s?
  • We’re terrified of the negative responses, what should we do?

I hope to provide you a perspective on Social Customer Service.  I may not be right, but we are all learning together.

How do you answer the ROI question?  Do you think a specific department owns social media?  B2B is tough, if you were just getting started, what would you do first?  Is the fear of negative comments stopping you from jumping into the social pool?

Quick reference from video:

BTW – filming yourself on video is a lot harder than speaking in front of hundreds of people – whewww!

How do you value the Customer Experience Executive role?

captain of shipBy Larry Streeter on October 19, 2011

A week or so ago, I was having a conversation with the SVP of Customer Service for a well known SaaS software company when the conversation turned to determining what value a Customer Experience Officer role would bring to their organization.  This was a company that clearly gets the importance of the total customer experience, but had not quite reached a size where they felt a full time role was justified.

The conversation hounded me for days.  And as I thought about how a company justifies the creation of a full time customer experience executive position, these are the questions I imagine are often asked.

Q.  “We already measure Customer Satisfaction and Net Promoter, isn’t that enough?”

Satisfying customers will always be important.  Think about it!  No customer becomes loyal without first being satisfied.   But Customer Satisfaction metrics only represent a customer’s opinion of you at that moment in time instead of looking at your entire body of work.  These metrics can often times be discrete measures of specific touch points, such as “how satisfied are you with our product” or “rate your satisfaction with our Knowledge Base”.  A customer may rate each of these isolated interactions high, but what if the experience of going from the product to the KB is kludge?

Remember, satisfied customers will always come back to see what you have to offer but also are just as likely to check out your competitor!  Building a complete customer experience that creates loyalty will keep them from shopping elsewhere!

Q.  “We already have someone responsible for User Experience.  Aren’t they one in the same?”

A User is just that: someone using your product or service.  A Customer is someone continuously evaluating you based on the total experience.

Not long ago I gave a presentation where I describe the overall Customer Experience as similar to being engaged.  Both represent:

  • a commitment to a long-term relationship,
  • being proactively involved in the relationship, and
  • having an emotionally, psychologically, and physically connection.

Someone using your product or service may like what’s right in front of them but not necessarily be committed to the long term.  Almost like “Yeah, he/she is fun to hang out with, but I wouldn’t bring them home to meet my parents”.  Someone in your organization needs to be looking at the total lifecycle of touch points your customers have with you, not just how to go seamlessly from screen to screen in your product.

Q.  “We’re already a customer-focused company from the top down.  What can an executive responsible for the Customer Experience offer?”

It’s hard to believe anyone would dispute the long-term value of a superior customer experience.  Many studies have been done quantifying increases in retention and revenue from companies that exhibit world-class effort on achieving an awe-inspiring customer experience.  But the ROI doesn’t have to take years to realize.  Making the leap to dedicate someone full time can bring immediate, short-term benefits companies often overlook.

Companies may have top-down commitment on being customer focused but is their alignment amongst the executives and senior managers on exactly what that means?  People may be working hard to build a great customer experience within their own silos but the glue that holds them all together is a well-defined customer experience roadmap.  With the input from others, a customer experience executive can bring exceptional focus to defining and shaping that roadmap and clarity and organization to achieving success.

Sustainability of customer experience improvement efforts is always a challenge.  Kick off meetings and initial efforts to begin making improvements can soon lose their momentum as people go begin slowly gravitating back to their day jobs.  Unfettered by anything else, the customer experience executive’s “day job” is just that: making sure the organization’s commitment to the roadmap remains top of mind.

And finally, there’s always the bottom line!  Accountability for defining and measuring results is often overlooked on cross-functional efforts to improve the total customer experience.  And while the customer experience executive can provide that single “ring-able neck” for the definition and reporting of customer experience improvements, it does not necessarily make them solely accountable for the results achieved.  In a company that defines themselves as “already focused on the customer experience from the top down”, everyone from the executives on down are responsible for the actual results!

Companies at the top of the lists for revenue growth and customer satisfaction already recognize the long-term value associated with a dedicated executive at the helm of the customer experience.  But they didn’t wait to achieve these results before bringing them aboard!  Can your company afford not to have someone with their “hands on the wheel” today?


Guest Writer: Larry Streeter

Larry Streeter is a contact center / customer experience executive with 20+ years experience building award-winning customer support organizations that drive customer long-term value through the contact center. 

His passion for delivering an extraordinary customer experience, building scalable infrastructure while increasing shareholder value, and developing top performing teams as well as future leaders has helped world-class companies achieve significant growth and customer satisfaction.

You can find Larry on Twitter @lstreeter01 & blogs at

The Next Innovation in Social will come from (wait for it) . . . HR

By michaelpace on October 3, 2011Herd Cats button

No, not some hybrid formation of technology from Hashable and Radian6 or something of the like, good ol’ Human Resources.  Yes, Human Resources.

Of course, new technology will continue to flood our lives in alpha, beta and full rollout versions, but they are mostly all incremental changes or consolidation of features.  Marketing departments and agencies will stretch our imaginations with fantastic ways of looking at products and services.  However, the most powerful innovation of the next generation should/will come from Human Resources.

The tools are only as valuable as the people using them (a hammer swung does not make a carpenter).  Human Resources focuses on the organization’s most critical asset: people. They are one of few departments with horizontal reach across organizations, goals and culture.  They also can be the catalyst to possibly the most important innovation of this era – THE SOCIAL ORGANIZATION.

The Social Organization is a company/business whose majority of people use social business competencies, social tools (media), and social processes to achieve higher quality internal and external results more efficiently.  The power of the Social Organization is in the exponential leverage of diversified relationships and the speed in which information can be transferred.  A non-social organization uses more one to one conversation, limiting the accuracy and relationship distance information can be communicated.  Think of the telephone game as a child; one to one conversation, often inaccurate and limited in distance (or viral ability) by how many people are willing to wait or listen.  A social organization provides information to multiple people simultaneously, provides easy methods to share internally or externally or both, and allows for iteration in a shared space.  It is like the difference between trying to catch something with a 50 ft. rope or a 50 ft. by 50 ft. net.

3 examples of the difference in power of the Traditional Organization versus the Social Organization:

Brand Advocacy: Theoretically, the strongest brand advocates should live inside the company or organization.  A highly social organization will be able to reach more people, reach more people who are influenced by the sender, and deliver all with much greater efficiency.

social organization

The Social Organization reaches 87%+ more people with only 10% of the original population.  The same number of associates would equal a 18.75X difference (1,125,000 in reach).  Do you know of any one move that can change metrics by almost 20X?

Recruiting: Traditional recruiting primarily uses websites to pull in attractive potential hires, and often scoops up high amounts of unqualified wastes of time.  A pull model, it’s like a the Death Star’s tractor beam sucking up everything from Millennium Falcons to space junk.  Social recruiting leverages the relationships of your associates to find potential hires matching your cultural fit.  And by having large numbers of separate people from separate departments, you also reach a more diversified candidate pool.

Research & Development:  The most known example of a Social Organization leveraging social competencies and process to improve R&D efforts is Dell, and their IdeaStorm Community.  This community leverages the resources and thoughts of their enormous customer base to help identify future enhancement and product ideas.  Dell is able to iterate with the end customers on what those same customers would want.  I like to reference a quote from John Hagel’s Power of Pull “There are a lot more smarter people OUTSIDE your organization than IN it,”

The Social Organization is more of a cultural shift than a project.  It requires massive amounts of change management (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement) to be effective.  Just getting everyone to have a Twitter account or LinkedIn account will not transform your organization.  All that will end up happening is a bunch of silly looking Twitter eggs passing your company’s latest press release to each other.  Associates need to become socially competent, both individually and for social business.  Human Resources is in a unique position to help transform a culture, and they have the greatest opportunity to make the greatest impact on business in general.

Is your company a highly Social Organization?

How has Human Resources played a role in social competency development? Use of tools and processes? Social cultural shifts?

Photo Credit Blogging4Jobs