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March 29, 2017

Archives for January 2012

How to Set Up a Social Customer Service Team

By michaelpace on January 25, 2012

Again this week I am attending and speaking at a Customer Service / Contact Center conference, and I am seeing lots of talk of companies interested in social media, but very few acting on it.  I can understand the trepidation to jump in, and I am concerned for my horizontal (customer service).  The value of a social organization is so incredibly powerful, and by not participating you are missing more than just a new channel.  Over the last year and a half, I have presented the following presentation to help get folks started using social for Customer Service.


The Five Steps to Set Up a Social Customer Service Team

Now you don’t get the benefit of my performance, but I will try to provide a high level summary.

Starting with WHY:

  • Its how people are talking and sharing
  • Peer sharing is overwhelming more trusted than traditional marketing
  • Don’t believe me, go watch your kids

5 Steps to Success

  1. Get Yourself Involved
  • Get to know LinkedIn, Facebook (for business), Twitter, Blogs & other resources
  • Its like learning to ride a bike, you cannot do it by reading a book or watching

2.  Know Your Business

  • Overall strategy and objectives (social media is not an objective, its a tool)
  • Know your customers – what’s important, where are they, industry best practices
  • Get others involved

3.  Listen to your customers

  • Monitoring
  • Understand their language

4.  The Customer Conversation

  • Service Level Agreements for great social support
  • Know the voice of your brand
  • A conversation is two way, build a relationship rather than complete a transaction

5.  Capture Info and Catalog

  • Keep it simple at first
  • Don’t worry about operational metrics yet

Objectives and Metrics

  • Depending on your social maturity, balance business metrics and your learning agenda
  • Engagement = Customer Acquisition x Retention x Average Revenue x Profitability
  • Positive and negative sentiment impact customer acquisition and retention
  • Educate your customers – the more they trust and understand, the more they will spend
  • Social costs per channel can be 1/6 of other channels (phone)

Hiring and People

  • You need a different type of agent to handle social media conversations
  • Basic qualifications and responsibilities

If you have questions or would like to talk more about the presentation, comment or send me a note on LinkedIn, Twitter or email.

Presented at:

IQPC‘s Call Center Summit (Orlando) – January 2011

ICMI‘s ACCE(New Orleans) – June 2011

Contact Center Association Fall Event (Phoenix) – October 2011

ICMI‘s Call Center Demo (Dallas) – October 2011

TSIA’s Technology Services World (Las Vegas) – October 2011 *voted Top 10 presentations by attendees*

How to Set Up a Social Customer Service Team - The Customer Conversation


Strategy 2012: Random Acts of Connection

War Games movie - Random Acts of ConnectionBy michaelpace on January 19, 2012

At the beginning of every year, I sit down (usually at a cozy bar) and put my goals together for the coming year.  I have goals for my physical health, family, career, relationships, financial and self (things I want to do for me).  I crave structure with planning.  In both my work and personal life, I have learned that the best outcomes are derived when I develop strategies that include results (what I am going to do), process (how to do it) and relationships (with whom to include).  This is usually the most daunting part.   I took a breath and a sip, and was hit by a micro “A-ha” moment – Random Acts of Connection.

I first heard the phrase “Random Acts of Connection” at last year’s SXSWi during a panel hosted by friend, mentor and fellow community manager Jim Storer.  Loved it.  Random Acts of Connection is sort of Community Management 101; its the act of bringing together two or more people who have a similar interest or bringing people to data/information.  As I looked at my goals, I realized the primary strategy for me was to practice daily acts of random connection.  Every conversation you have is an opportunity for Random Acts of Connection.  Its easy to find places on Twitter and LinkedIn to make Random Acts of Connection; someone looking for help, job seekers to employers, like personalities, hobbyists, etc…

Why Random Acts of Connection:

  • Not much makes you feel better than helping others
  • Pooling collective smarts
  • Surprises are fun – “If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.”
    ― Dr. Seuss
  • You never know when you will need help
  • Ever hear of paying it forward?
  • Karma

I truly believe if I practice daily acts of random connection, I will accomplish my BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals).

Here are some Random Acts of Connection for you: (these not exhaustive lists by any means, but some people you may not know)

Social Customer Service Leaders – These folks know customer service, social and more than anything understand the constraints operational leaders deal with

Kate Nasser, Guy Stephens, Josh Sippola, Spoken Communications, Mary Bartels-Cook, Marcio Saito,  Richard Natoli, Greg Ortbach

Community Management – They get Random Acts of Connection

Rachel Happe, Jim Storer,  Mark Yolton, Mark Wallace, Dan Brostek, Claire Flanagan, Bill Johnston

Random – Just because

My soul brutha from a different mutha – Greg Levin (also a great writer and satirist)

Info on Marketing Technology – John Refford, Mike Schneider & Eric Leist (watch their show TechInterruption)

Social Business – David Armano & Edelman Digital

North East Contact Center connections –

Customer Service Leadership – Larry Streeter

Social in Regulated Industries – Mike Langford, Jaime Punishill, Carissa O’Brien

Cocktails and Connections –

My neighbor and a best friend – Jeanette Palmer

Think about practicing Random Acts of Connection and do it!  Do you have any Random Acts of Connection?  Do you practice?

Customer Service Fortune Cookies for 2012

By michaelpace on January 3, 2012Customer Service Fortune Cookies

Complete, wild guess predictions and thoughts by my cousin Pacefucious about the trends in Customer Service for 2012.

Note: The practice of adding “in bed” may or may not work with the following fortunes.

Pacefucious say: “Transactional social customer service is like making out with pretty cousin”

I hope my crazy cousin isn’t talking about me, but he does have a point about social customer service (somewhere in there).  I believe he is saying, you get your immediate need resolved, but you are not forming a relationship.  Once a company receives a comment or issue (positive or negative), they should realize the customer has opened up a channel that you share.  Just handling their immediate transactional need is good, following up with that customer with content that is of value to them, starts to create a relationship, and is phenomenal customer service.  More about this kind of proactive customer service see Is Your Social Customer Service Missing the “Social” Point?

Pacefucious say: “Social CRM platform is silver bullet made of ice”

In 2012, SCRM (definitions) will continue to be a hot topic, but currently it is overpriced (for this economy), overpromising and being mostly sold by people who still believe in traditional sales models and have no understanding of social business.  Don’t get me or my cousin wrong, SCRM can and will be a very important tool for businesses, but I don’t think most businesses (or people running those businesses) will be ready for full blown SCRM tools.  SCRM will not help you understand social business language, develop your strategy for using social media tools or establish governance.  I would love to see more distributors or sales people of SCRM platforms get a firm understanding of social business and practices in 2012 before trying to sell their “silver bullets”.

Pacefucious say: “Benchmark data and metrics make your service taste like cheap Chinese food”

I always get a little worried when people ask me if I have any benchmark data on customer service or contact center metrics.  I will try to provide what I think a particular industry considers benchmark data (example:  X% of calls answered in X seconds), but is really just averages.  If you are interested in average customer service, which pretty much sucks, benchmark data and metrics is perfect for you.  If you are interested in providing outstanding service, go understand what your customer finds important or critical to quality, and deliver that and more.

Pacefucious say: “Your customers will be your most valuable customer service agents”

I still find it puzzling that so many customer service organizations do not utilize communities to help solve their customers questions or problems.  Some customer service organizations do not even have relationships with the people in their organization who manage their communities.  I am not sure I have ever even been to a customer service conference where community management was a topic.  Your customers, especially your advocates and superusers, have (collectively) considerably more knowledge than your support agents; why not let them help your customers too?  I am not advocating for the end of phone or chat service (maybe email  – see below), but having a shared community and knowledge base that can be added to and used by your customers is both incredibly efficient and can provide awesome service.

Pacefucious say: “Email customer service sucks, your lucky numbers are 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42”

Again, don’t get my cousin wrong, email doesn’t suck, but customer service through email is RARELY good, and almost always includes extra work for your customers.  Let’s take a typical email situation: question to company (waits), reply and clarification from company, customer clarifies (waits), company provides standard message to solve problem, customer needs more specific information, blah, blah, blah, blah etc… Now email can be valuable to a company as an off-business hour service, and possibly outsourced, but why even provide the subpar experience?

Pacefucious say: “Be social and transparent organization or soon no organization”

The companies that will succeed in 2012 and beyond will leverage social business principles internally and externally.  It has already been proven during our recent recession; those companies that embraced social marketing and the use of social tools internally have performed significantly better.  Those companies now also have an almost insurmountable time advantage over those companies who have not embraced the social organization.  As I wrote earlier last year, I believe the social organization will be the most important advancement for business in the next 5 years – The Next Innovation in Social will come from … HR

So, what does your fortune cookie say? (Don’t forget to add “in bed” afterwards)

Pacefucious is only available via smoke signal or albatross mail; you can contact me with thoughts.


Image via Clutchcook