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February 22, 2017

Swinging a Hammer Does Not Make You a Carpenter; It Just Makes You Dangerous Or Smart Use of Social Media for your Contact Center

By michaelpace on November 15, 2012

When I am speaking or consulting regarding Social Media Customer Support or Social Business, a few of my favorite questions that I almost always receive are:

  • Who should own social media in a company?
  • Should we be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, and every network?
  • There are so many risks of allowing social media in our contact centers, how do we support it and protect ourselves?

Here are my typical answers:

Social media is a tool, plain and simple.

  • Nobody should “own” the tool.  The phone system is a tool, you don’t see Marketing asking the Customer Service team for permission to use the phone. – Understanding how to use the tools is more important, as it is a discipline or competency.
  • I have lots of tools in my toolbox, including hammers, saws, screwdrivers (manual and electric) wrenches, and so on.  It doesn’t mean one tool is better than another, it is just serves a different purpose. – Use the tools that your customers are most active on, and prioritize.
  • Your company’s use of email, chat, and phone can be as viral as a tweet or a video now-a-days.  Your organization needs to understand social business, the benefits and risk avoidance are just too great.

So where do you start, and how do you use social media in a smart way?

In my presentation, 5 Steps to Set Up a Social Customer Service Team, the first step is to “Get Yourself Involved”.  The reason to get yourself involved is simple, education and understanding is power – power to effectively deliver amazing internal and external results, and to mitigate the risks of such a ubiquitous tool.  So let’s get started getting you started. (I will begin with the assumption that you have already influenced others in your organization for the need of social media education.  If you need more info, feel free to contact me or here are two articles that may help – Top 5 Reasons Why Customer Service is Avoiding the Social Media Wave & The Next Innovation in Social will Come from (wait for it) … HR .

Step 1: It’s Not a Lonely Job

Use of social tools in a vacuum is about as dangerous as the young child in the blog post image. Gather the potential impacted stakeholders – Marketing, PR, Human Resources, Legal, Product, etc…, and explain your goals and obtain their points of view.  Here are a couple things to think about:

  • Do you already have a company communication policy in place?  If so, social media tools usually fall under the same categories as phone calls, emails, IM, and other channels.  If your organization has strong, articulated values, they should also be your guiding force.
  • What is your company’s voice?  For example two great service companies – Tiffany & Co and Zappos – with incredibly different engagement voices.
  • Ask how your significant workforce can help them achieve their goals? Recruiting, promotion, brand recognition, SEO, thought leadership, employee morale, etc…

Step 2: Start with the Big 3

There are so many social media tools to become educated about, but my advice is to stick with the Big 3: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

LinkedIn: Unless you or your associates are planning on staying with the company for the rest of their lives or there is no possible risk of layoffs or downsizing, LinkedIn is the most important professional network out there.  With almost 200 million professionals on LinkedIn, it is an incredibly powerful networking tool.

  • Help your associates build a strong LinkedIn profile, and don’t be afraid they will suddenly leave because they have a profile out there.  If they leave, it is because of something you are or are not doing internally.
  • Help them get connected.  Suggest individuals in the company for them to connect with, for that matter, have them connect to most everyone in your company.  You never know when a new relationship will be made.
  • Help them find Groups to join.  Groups are an incredible way to meet people in similar industries or like interests.  Great work related questions are asked every day on LinkedIn, and people love the different perspectives people can provide.

Facebook:  Just about everyone and their grandmother have a Facebook account, almost a billion people have one, and that is why it is important for your associates to understand how to use it for business purposes.  Here are a few of my tips on Facebook for business:

  • Don’t be friends with people you work with.  I know that sounds so contrary to the LinkedIn advice, but perception is reality, especially without context.  Facebook does not typically provide much context on why you may have a crayon sticking out of your nose.
  • Like a brand (maybe say … Yours) – Ask them to Like a few brands to see how companies are using Facebook to connect with their fans.  Ask them to Like your brand.  Have them compare engagement.  They may even find out about what your Marketing department is saying to the customers who are 5 minutes away from calling you upset over a wording choice.
  • Have them create a business page on Facebook.  It’s simple to have them walk in the shoes of the company, by creating a business page for a real or pretend small business “that they own”.  It will provide a different perspective to Facebook.

Twitter:  Maybe the most misunderstood social media tool out there.  Yes, some use it to tell you they had a peanut butter sandwich today, but many more use it for personal growth and business purposes.  I would even say that Twitter has had more impact on my own personal development than any other tool (social or not) in the last 5 years.  Twitter allows you to connect to the smartest people in virtually any industry or interest you have.  Here are a few ways you can get up to speed on Twitter.

  • I think my former employer Constant Contact did a phenomenal job outlining the basics of Twitter (and many other tools) in their Social Media Quickstarter.  It provides a great step by step on how to set up and use Twitter.
  • Have them do a Twitter search on your company.  Let them see if your customers are using Twitter for customer service and talking about your company or competitors.
  • Have them find like tweeters.  You can use Twitter’s search capabilities or site’s like Listorious to find others who are interested in what they are interested in.  Most of the smartest people on the planet create content, and most of them use Twitter to let their audience know new information is available.

Step 3: Focus on Continuous Learning (as opposed to Training)

Follow up with your associates on what they have done on social media and if they are continuing to use any of the sites they learned about.  If you have seen a place where you can provide affirmative or constructive feedback, give some timely feedback.  As their knowledge grows, the benefits and reduction of risk grows exponentially.  Another step may be to expand their knowledge, such as:

  • Interaction with blogs and blog aggregators (like Google Reader or Flipboard)
  • Check out Google +, Pinterest, Instagram, or whatever is hot that week.  Have them teach others what the tools do.
  • See if other departments (like Marketing) would like to have a blog written by a support associate to provide the backend perspective.

Education how to use social media tools, makes your organization less dangerous and potentially can allow themselves to be empowered to grow.  The benefits and risk mitigation are great, by just including your associates in learning how to use the tools.  Otherwise, you may have a bunch of screaming, hammer wielding non-carpenters with some dangerous weapons.

Are you educating your associates about social media tools?

What is working and what is not?

Article originally appeared on Knowlagent’s ProductivityPlus blog

Image credit

My Own Personal Intersection

By michaelpace on November 30, 2011

I started this blog because I believe there is true opportunity at the intersection of Customer Service, Social, Business Process Management and People Leadership.  I also believe I can help.  We work and live in the most fluid environment since the Industrial Revolution.  The more we can have thoughtful discussions and fun about our surroundings, the more we will all learn.  The intersection is important because nothing exists in a vacuum anymore, and we should be leveraging the best practices of many areas to develop better solutions to our problems, opportunities and quandaries.  Today, I start the approach to my own career intersection.

In January, I will be leaving Constant Contact to explore what my next personal/career intersection has to offer.  Right now it is a bit of a blind intersection; however I am ready for the challenge.  I know the direction that I want to go, but there is no GPS for this route.  I desire to lead my own customer service organization to attain amazing heights in service, efficiency and people leadership.  Our service world is on the cusp of some incredible paradigm shifts, and I am incredibly lucky to be in position to lead those front lines.

I cannot begin to explain how grateful I am to have worked for Constant Contact.  This organization has enabled and sponsored me to uncover how to deliver exceptional broad customer service, social media support and community management.  More importantly, they had the faith in me to put in place a remarkable team that provides this amazing service with scale efficiency.  My role as Director of Customer Support and Community Management has opened my eyes and heart to the incredible power of the social world (both digital and in person).  They gave me the confidence to speak in front of hundreds of Marketing, Tech, and Customer Service leaders at conferences across the country, helping me to overcome some punishing public speaking fears.  Thank you Constant Contact.

Over the course of the next few months, I would love to understand how I can help you and more businesses tackle this new space, and deliver a holistic awe-inspiring customer experience.  Even as I write this post, I feel the rollercoaster ups (excitement of the unknown) and downs (fear of the unknown) that are to come.  But like any journey to a worthy destination, it all starts with the first step.  Thank you again Constant Contact, and thank you Mr./Ms. Reader for letting me express my thanks and discussing my new intersection.

Are we connected yet? If not, let’s get LinkedIn and talk.

Mike

The Best Twitter Advice I Ever Received

By michaelpace on September 12, 2011

Twitter profile

For the past couple years, much of the chatter and content on/in social networks has been about authenticity, trust, and not being “all about you”.  I am a big promoter of this philosophy, and truly believe this type of open content is the cream that will rise to the top.  But how do you know you are creating authentic sounding and trustworthy content? Or doing it well?

In the Twittersphere, each tweet is often just a moment of thought, sharing, promotion, or piece of silliness.   The roots of context, reliability and sincerity are difficult to ascertain.  Whether you tweet 1-2 times a day or 20-30, people on the other end of your feed build an impression of you.  It might be fair. It might not be.  You may have a different impact than your intent.  You may not realize how often you tweet about your job, promote your workplace, complain, distribute cat videos, or share other’s content.  Or the worst, you could be boring. So how can you tell or at least get an idea of how others see you?

The best twitter advice I ever received: 

Periodically, read through your sent messages and perform a self quality assurance check; a minimum of twenty tweets or a few weeks worth depending on your frequency.

(Paraphrased advice from Jim Storer of the Community Roundtable)

 If you have never done it, open up another browser tab and do it now! (But come back)

  • Be objective about yourself
  • Would you want to read You?
  • Is this the persona you want to portray?
  • What do you really tweet about?
  • Are you boring? Or untrustworthy?

I review my prior month’s worth of tweets usually at the beginning of the following month, religiously.  I block out the time on my calendar (and I am not an organization freak at all – come see my desk at work).  I block it out, because it is important.  If your personal or corporate brand is not important, please skip the rest of this post, I hear there is a new talking fruit video online now.

So what did my twitter feed look like last month (August):

Twitter topics

My thoughts on my own “performance” last month:                                                                 n=518

  • Happy to see General Friend Conversations and Relationship Building as my largest category – these are @ responses or starting conversations with friends or new people
  • Slightly surprised by amount of Twitterchat/Conference tweets from last month, but much of the total came from hosting #CCDemo11 (Prep for call center conference in Oct.)
  • 27% of tweets I consider professional (my blog or event promotion, Constant Contact promotion, retweeting educational material, and Job postings/referrals/retweets)
  • Could promote Constant Contact a bit more
  • I tell people where I am, what I am listening to, and what I am watching a bit too much
  • Qualitatively, I could tweet a bit less from bars after 3 or 4 beers

You need to decide and determine your own balance for yourself and your brand (personal or corporate).  My general theme is to provide edu-taining content while providing a small glimpse into who I am as a person.  The specific goals of my tweets are to;

  1. Establish myself as a Customer Service leader
  2. Become known as a leader in social business
  3. Meet/form relationships with interesting people

While this post has been predominately about me, it’s intention to push you to get introspective about yourself or your brand.  A tweet has a relatively short shelf life on the web, but it only takes a few seconds to create an impression.  That impression can be the difference between people believing you to be authentic/trustworthy and being seen as a corporate shill, fake or boring.

Does anyone know of an easy service to collect information on yourself?  I do a lot this manually.

Let me know if you learn anything about yourselves that you didn’t realize before you reviewed your tweets.

Random helpful twitter resources similar to this topic:

Power 50 Twitter Tips by Chris Brogan

ProBloggers 35 Twitter Tips from 35 Twitter Users

Social Media Quickstarter for Twitter

Top 5 Reasons Why Customer Service is Avoiding the Social Media Wave

Waiting for the social wave

By michaelpace on August 19, 2011

Ok, show of hands (and be honest, I can see you through your webcam), does your company provide social customer service through your actual customer service department?

Or does Marketing handle it; or some other department or combo? During a webinar hosted by Jeremiah Owyang (a must follow) earlier this month, he stated that roughly in 70% of the cases, Marketing handles social media, including customer service inquiries. In my own experience speaking with customer service executives and at conferences, I estimate less than 10% of customer service departments handle support related inquires or comments. Why? Why are you not riding the Social Customer Service wave or are you waiting for the wave to crash into you?

Reason #1: Marketing owns and handles social

Background or Myth: Marketing should handle social media stuff because of possible public relation issues, social media is a marketing job, or it’s just always been that way.

Reality: Social media is a tool of social business, similar to your phone system being a tool for your customer service. You probably don’t own the phone system, and Marketing probably doesn’t need your permission to use the phone. If individuals are afraid of a public relations issue being created through social media, do they monitor all of your outgoing emails and chats? An email or a chat is equally “socialable” through their own technology or in combination with other social networks. Similar to email and chat technology channels, best practices, process and clear roles and responsibilities are needed to execute effectively. Your customer service team is best equipped to handle service inquiries and provide content that helps educate your customers. And anytime someone tells you it’s always been done that way, you know it’s time for a change.

Reason #2: If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound?

Background or Myth: You know there are millions of people on social sites like Facebook, but they are not talking about our brand or service (or at least we haven’t heard it).

Reality: If you are not listening, how can you know if someone is talking about or to you? Have you ever put your company name (or variations of) into Google Blog Search or into Twitter’s Search? There are tremendous amount of free tools to use to listen to understand if people are talking to you or about you. I prefer Hootsuite for Twitter and Google Alerts for everything else on the web. It’s now common place for people to express their opinions to their friends, family and followers on the web, and it will only become more common. Per Socialnomics, ½ of the world’s population is under 30, they do not know what life was like before the internet (think about it).

Reason #3: Not a valuable use of time or resources

Background or Myth: As compared to our other channels, social media related channels are such a small percentage of our overall volume.

Reality: The previous statement is both true and false. It is true for an actual physical count of tweets, Facebook posts, blogs commenting on your business, and LinkedIn discussions, but it does not accurately reflect the impact. For example, at Constant Contact (where I work), the average person tweeting positively or negatively about us has approximately 1300 followers. Over the course of 2010, there were almost 1,000,000 impressions of positive or negative commentary. Now not all of those impressions were influential, but even if a small portion (10% or 100,000) were influential, doesn’t it make sense for you to be a part of those conversations?

Reason #4: We are in a regulated industry; we could break laws by talking about personal accounts publicly

Background or Myth: In many industries, such as healthcare and financial services, public “discussion” of personal information can land your company in a heap of legal and compliance trouble. This statement is true, but there are reasons to still get engaged.

Reality: Probably the most valuable aspect of social customer service (at this point) is pure acknowledgement of being heard. If someone mentions you on the social web, you should still acknowledge their message and then offer to take it to a more secure channel. If you need to track even these minimal conversations, you can do it manually or if you have the scale, most CRMs now are available with social tools integrated into their workcase management. Regulated industries are typically complicated, which also makes them ripe for proactive outbound communications to your customers about your products and services. Blogs, branded communities, Twitter, Youtube and LinkedIn provide fantastic platforms for educational content that can be pulled from existing sources like your knowledge base or marketing materials.

Reason #5: Getting started is too overwhelming

Background or Myth: There is very limited data or information on how to get started in social customer service, let alone operationalizing it.

Reality: Yes, getting up and running in social customer service is a sizeable task, but like other large initiatives, if you break it down it can be less daunting. Below is my high level work breakdown structure:

  1. Get yourself involved in social media
  2. Know your business strategy/what are your objectives/guidelines More information on steps 1 & 2
  3. Listen to your customers
  4. Customer Conversation
    • Develop SLA’s
    • Know your brand (big difference in Tiffany & Co.’s & Zappos corporate voice)
    • Engage your customers
  5. Workflow, Catalog & Tracking
  6. Developing & delivering proactive contentSocial Wave

Customer service leaders have a choice, try to stand strong against the incoming wave, and hope it does not knock you over (or provide a competitive disadvantage), or pick up your board, paddle out and ride the wave. This trend may not have all the same tools at the end of the day, but the premise of social business will remain, and become more prevalent in our lives and the lives of our future customers.

To chat with a bunch of other smart people about the topic of social customer service, and getting started, join me, Brad Cleveland, Bob Furniss & Todd Hixon for a tweetchat presented by ICMI on Tuesday, 8/23 @ 6:30 pm CST – follow hashtag #CCDemo11 for up to date details and more information.

 

Wave Image Credit http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/people,solitary/Interesting

Surfing image http://juice-up.blogspot.com/2010/11/surfing.html

Shocker: Great Customer Service is not for everyone

By michaelpace on July 18, 2011

Twitter Conversation

Great Customer service is not for everyone.

There I said it.  My fellow customer service leaders may hate me for saying it, but it is true.

After reading a great post on B.L. Ochman’s blog “Google’s missing link: customer service. It has none.”, we began engaging in a conversation over twitter.

My heart agrees with B.L. about the importance of great customer service as a key differentiator for many companies, and my head knows many of the most profitable companies in the world are not customer service focused.  Take a look at the most profitable companies of 2010 from CNNMoney, I don’t see any customer service superstars.

Most Profitable Companies

Don’t forget, for companies, customer service is not the end goal.  The end goal is for the company to win, and for most companies, that usually directly ties back to share of wallet, profitability and/or shareholder value.  Exxon, Microsoft, Walmart, BP and IBM do not inspire customer service leaders or customers, but evidence shows that they are successful (at least monetarily).

B.L. brought up a good point around Apple.  I do not think Apple provides a great customer service experience, I think they provide a great customer experience.  I think they provide a great customer experience through design and usability.  The Genius Bar is nice, but if I have to go all the way to an Apple Store to get something fixed and speak to someone, I would not consider that a great customer service experience.

So does Google need great customer service? I do not think they do.  Their core competencies are about search technologies and other work tools.  Just as in Jim Collins’ book Good to Great, Google can be the best in the world at search.  Customer service does not fit into their hedgehog.

Now all this being said, customer service can be a huge differentiator for many companies; it is part of the mission and value proposition of the company that employs me.  Superior service can keep customers loyal in high competition and commodity markets.  Incredible service can make it easier for your customers to spend more with you each month/year.  With the addition of social business and media tools, fantastic customer service can help you acquire customers via word of mouth promotion.   Delivering “awe inspiring” customer service is critical to many companies, especially small businesses, but I do not believe it is right for everyone.

 

Do you agree with B.L.?

Does Google need to provide good customer service to remain a top performing company?

When does customer service matter, and when does it not?

Straight from the Unicorn’s Mouth

By michaelpace on July 11, 2011

Unicorn's mouth

“How do you guys do Social Media Customer Service and do it well?”

I might be paraphrasing, but that is probably the most common question that has been asked of me during the past 2 years at Customer Service and Call Center conferences.  In this post, I thought I would have my team at Constant Contact give their top tips to executing Social Media Customer Service and how to manage these team members.  So straight from the Unicorn’s Mouth*

Top Tips from Community Host & Social Support Associate Jarrad:

  1. Response Time – Customers on Social Networks are looking for answers fast, especially on Twitter. Minimize any delay in a response. We try to respond to any @ or general Constant Contact comment within 2-5 minutes.
  2. Keep the Customer Informed – If you are experiencing downtime or a problem, address it immediately. Be proactive and honest. This is a great way to build brand loyalty.
  3. Content – It is not all about reacting to customer issues.  You can help them before they even contact you.  Try to provide content that your customers want and are interested in reading or watching.  If you see an article that relates to your client base send it out to them
  4. Support – Not all answers can be solved by a simple tweet. There may be some back and forth, but try to solve the problem online rather than having them call in.
  5. Call The Customer – If an issue cannot be resolved online, don’t pass it off to your phone support. Make the call yourself and do as much as possible to resolve the incident at that moment.
  6. Research – If a customer has a blanket statement like, “I hate your company” see if you can find out what has prompted this tweet. Check their website or email address and see if you can locate the customer’s account. Find out the “Why” before responding.
  7. Ask for Feedback – If someone is considering canceling their account or stopping business with you, rather than leaving it alone, ask them for feedback. Not only does this show you value their opinion; it can also help retain customers.
  8. Personality – Try not to sound too robotic or stale when answering customers. Be social. Talk to them casually and personally and at the same time, keep it professional.
  9. Experiment – Social Media is still new and trying new ways to interact with your customers is important.  You never know what will work and what will not until you try it.
  10. Visibility – Be aware that everything you say on a Social Network has the potential of being seen by millions of people. Don’t respond to trolls and don’t post anything your company would be embarrassed by.
  11. Empathize – Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. (How would you like your favorite company or brand to address your concerns?)

Top Tips from Community Host & Social Support Associate Marissa

Acknowledge as soon as possible

  • You don’t need to have an answer readily available, but at least if you acknowledge you saw the tweet or post and you’re looking into it, people can be very appreciative.

Be empathetic

  • Try to put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re reaching out to. You may not agree with what they are saying or have ever been in the situation, but at least try to understand.

Don’t argue

  • If someone says something horrible about your company, don’t start a fight and tell them that they’re wrong. Something as simple as “Was there something I could help with?” can go a long way.  I even had a Blog Post written about it!

Curate content you know about

  • Don’t just tweet articles you haven’t read, make sure you can answer questions on them if need be.

Know your audience and your brand

  • Make sure the content you’re curating for them will provide value.  Don’t waste their precious time with useless noise.  Find information they can use, find entertaining or can learn from.
  • Different customer service brands have different voices, you need to know yours.  For instance, Zappos and Tiffany & Co. provide great service, but have very different voices.

Thank your followers

  • Whether someone re-tweets what you say or if someone gives you great content, tell them thanks.

Don’t be afraid to have conversations

  • Don’t just answer questions.  Start a conversation with those that ask questions.  You’ll be surprised what you may find out.  I was helping someone the other day and even though they weren’t local, they told me about a local restaurant to check out!

Top Tips for managing Jarrad and Marissa by Ros

  • Transitions between team members is critical. If you have multiple team members tweeting or managing social support, the customers shouldn’t be impacted by a shift change.
  • “Social Influence” is an indicator but not the goal. From the help side, your number of followers and retweets are not the primary metrics. Your Klout or influence is AN indicator not THE indicator. Socializing this with your internal team and executives is important.
  • Trust is key. As a manager, you must trust that your team’s intentions are good and support their risk taking.  Social Media is changing everyday and some mistakes will be made.  It is important for your team to know that you support them even if they stumble.
  • Hiring curious people is key. Social Media is fast moving and having people eager to learn is more important than having people who have all the answers.

 

*Unicorns are prettier than horses

Can Location Based Services provide the next great WOW Customer Service Moment?

By michaelpace on July 6, 2011

Future of Location Based Services and Customer ServiceWhile sitting on the white sand beaches of Cancun last week*, I was thinking about Foursquare’s announcement that they have reached 10,000,000 users.  10 MILLION users is not chump change.  Now when you include other Location Based Services like Facebook Places (30-40M+), SCVNGR (1M+) and Gowalla (~2M), and then you add the users of “Whatcha Doing LBS Apps” like GetGlue, Foodspotting, Soundtracking and Instagram (8M+), you can begin to see the magnitude of open, vocal and sharing users (or customers).   Furthermore, I began thinking about how the Customer Service world can leverage this technology to retain and thrill customers.

To date, much of the buzz around Location Based Services has been around its “Marketing” applications, and directed to “Marketing” professionals.  But we all know incredible customer service and word of mouth advertising was the first Marketing (I doubt those of the oldest profession [Ahem] had marketing departments and budgets).  So if you don’t understand and use LBS applications, it is time for Customer Service to get on the bandwagon because the possibilities are near endless.

Location Based Services allow users to indicate where they are, what they are doing and what they are seeing, most often using the GPS in a mobile device, and providing the access to comment via their social networks (such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and email).  Having this real time information and sentiment of where someone is, what they are doing and sometimes how they feel are tremendous tools for Customer Service organizations.

Below are a few scenarios or use cases of how LBS tools can be used to create WOW Customer Service Moments:

Industry: Retail

Tool: Foursquare/Gowalla

Scenario: Customer walks into a large retail establishment, such as @wholefoods or @bestbuy, and checks in using Foursquare or Gowalla and tweets their status.  Leveraging real time monitoring tools, a Social Customer Service Agent could acknowledge, thank and offer their services within minutes of arrival and become a mobile concierge for the customer.  If the customer has a question of where an item is located in the store, or if they need more information about a product, the customer service agent is available and ready for their inquiries.  It would only take one well executed use to secure that customer and potentially blow away their expectations.  This example also works well for hospitality and event management industries.

 

Industry: SAAS – Software as a Service

Tool: GetGlue

Scenario: (Actual case) Customer indicates that they are “Thinking about creating their next Constant Contact Email Marketing newsletter” on GetGlue from their iPad. (Note: I am the Director of Customer Support for Constant Contact), and promotes their status through Facebook and Twitter.   My Social Customer Support team uses Hootsuite to monitor Constant Contact mentions (and variations) in Twitter.  Upon seeing the tweet, we will introduce ourselves, our handle (@CTCTHelp) and offer assistance if case they ever need it.  About 20 minutes later, we received a response from our customer thanking us for our responsiveness and availability.  This particular customer did not use our services for this particular email, but they did follow us.  By following our help handle, we can give real time alerts to new product release offerings and issues, receive curated, relevant content to small businesses and links back into our most popular community discussions.

Industry: Yours (doesn’t make a difference)

Tool: SCVNGR

Scenario: SCVNGR attempts to create a game layer on top of the world by using your location to mark a place where a “Challenge” is completed.  For example, a customer can check-in to their local taqueria using SCVNGR, and complete a challenge of creating a foil goose with their burrito wrapper to earn points towards possible deals or honors.  Schools and universities are using this challenge/gaming format to develop new and interesting ways to educate their students.  Customer Service organizations can borrow the same idea as schools to educate their associates on social business, social media tools and how to use these collaboratively internally and externally.  The future’s most powerful organizations will be the ones that integrate social’s best practices and disciplines throughout their daily activities to help the customer of today, and more importantly the one of tomorrow.  Understanding your customers and serving where they are is a sure way to thrill them.

 

What other ways can Customer Service organizations leverage Location Based Services to create WOW Moments?

Location Based Services and other social tools are blurring the Customer Service/Marketing line more and more each day.  Do we need to rethink how we structure our organizations to deliver retention and customer satisfaction goals?  Do these tools help make the case?

 

For an incredible, inclusive resource on Location Based Services and Marketing, get in line and pre-order Michael Schneider and Aaron Strout’s book Location Based Marketing for Dummies.

(*Yes, I manage communities and customer service organizations and do take vacations – it is possible)

Note to my hardcore Customer Service brethren: Before I get a boat load of comments and replies about how we need to get the basics of customer service right first, cool your jets.  I know that our discipline still requires more consistency in delivering to expectation, and know that if we are not looking and moving forward, we will be forever behind.  It’s the balance that we all must strike.