Where I am Speaking This Fall! Come Say Hello!

It’s a busy fall and I hope to see you all out there, whether in person or on a webinar. Here’s some of the places I will be:

1. Webinar: ROI of Social Customer Care Sept 6th @clarabridge http://bit.ly/2bvWzgJ #custserv #CX

(Here’s the report: http://www.drnatalienews.com/blog/roi-of-social-customer-service-how-to-calculate-it-and-create-a-strong-business-case )


2. Think ROI of Social #custserv can’t be calculated? Think again! Webinar Sept 13th @clarabridge http://bit.ly/2bSN0vj

(Here’s the report: http://www.drnatalienews.com/blog/roi-of-social-customer-service-how-to-calculate-it-and-create-a-strong-business-case )


3. Digital Transformation: the Digital Blindspot – don’t let it happen to your co #ITRATL Sept 14th @constellationr (Here’s the report: https://www.constellationr.com/research/digital-disruption-blind-spot-could-sink-your-iot-initiatives )


4. Modern survival guide: Speaking on #custserv for Millennials #OOW16 Tues 11AM Sept 20th @constellationr


5. Webinar: How #DPM is the new #CX Sept 28th @dynatrace http://bit.ly/2bDQq2X @constellationr

(If you’re not actively managing digital #CX you’re not doing it right. check out the report on how to make #CX the best in the biz http://buff.ly/2b2yjpW )


6. Digital Performance Management #DPM #DXS16 November 14 – make your #customerexperience #CX really powerful http://bit.ly/2bCLNrE

(If you’re not actively managing digital #CX you’re not doing it right. check out the report on how to make #CX the best in the biz http://buff.ly/2b2yjpW )


Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst

Covering Customer Experience and Customer Service, Digital Performance Management and Digital Transformation




ROI of Social Customer Service: How to Calculate It and Create a Strong Business Case

The phrase “customer service is the new marketing” has gained popularity with brands realizing that poor customer service takes current, and even potential customers, out of the marketing funnel. Why? If a customer doesn’t get the help she needs, she often will not remain loyal – or worse, she will take to social media and tarnish the brand. Think about it. If a consumer’s flight gets delayed or she receives terrible food brought to the table, she might post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Yelp within minutes of the incident. From one mistake, a company’s reputation can be smeared all over the internet. The report goes into a lot of detail so it’s clear how to calculate the ROI of social customer service:

Economic Imperative of The ROI of Social Customer Service

Many brands have experienced incidents where not taking care of an issue turned into a social media nightmare. These include brands like Domino’s Pizza[i], the Red Cross[ii], McDonald’s[iii], and Cisco and extends to people’s personal brands such as comedian Gilbert Gottfried[iv] and hockey player Tyler Sequin.[v]

Customer care extends far beyond the traditional call center. Every touch point or interaction with the company (or even content about the company) can affect the customer’s satisfaction and loyalty to the brand. While it’s not always a positive experience, brands need to hear opinions expressed online to enable them to create the necessary corrections, drive strategy, and improve operations for making great customer experiences.

To gain buy-in for this type of interaction in a social customer service program, executives need to show senior leaders a viable business case. Once everyone is on board, it’s time to create some baseline metrics and goals and then determine what the ROI needs to be based on the program qualifications being set in place. The components of a business case include:

  • Goals and objectives for the social customer care initiative
  • A strategy to meet the social customer care goals and objectives
  • Metrics/Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure the goals and objectives
  • The business results (cost savings or revenue generation) or the return on investment (ROI) for the social customer care initiative.

How to Calculate Social Customer Care ROI

Constellation often hears comments such as “the ROI of social media can’t be calculated because there are too many unknowns” or “don’t worry about the ROI – social media is very tactical – just start doing it – get a Twitter handle, a Facebook page, a Pinterest account.” Some people may quote metrics and/or KPIs, but few know how to convert them into ROI.

An ROI calculation offers a way to put the business strategy and metrics into a formula to show, in numbers, how the strategy is, for instance, increasing revenue or decreasing costs. ROI calculations can also provide perspective on the potential strengths or weaknesses of the strategy. Examples in this report will show how correctly calculating ROI will help in the evaluation and improvement of your strategies. The formula to calculate ROI is:

Return on Investment
= (Gains from Investment) – (Costs of Investment) x 100

Costs of Investment

Calculating the ROI of social media involves three variables:

  • Traditional customer care business metrics
  • Social media metrics
  • Changes to traditional business processes and metrics when social media is applied to a business initiative.

Here’s an Example: Social Customer Care Increases Revenue and Customer Lifetime Value

An international airline that services over 280 destinations worldwide uses a social media tool for monitoring all its social channels, engaging back with its online communities, doing in-depth reporting, and tracking KPI metrics and agent performance. Most importantly, the platform the airline uses supports its global consumer base, enabling the airline to monitor the 30,000 social mentions received in more than nine languages each month.

A company’s revenue is based on the number of customers and the average purchase value in a period of time. When companies use a social media platform, they can increase their revenue from existing customers. By engaging and listening, they can retain them as customers and increase the amount and frequency of purchases over a longer period of time. When the company is truly listening and integrating the feedback, like the airline above, it will be able to meet the needs of the customer and increase not only the amount that the customer spends, but also the number of years the customer spends with that company.

Calculating Costs

To calculate costs, we look at the cost of the technology and implementation (see Figure 1). Then we also look at the cost of the employees or customer service professionals providing the social customer care. The payroll costs include the expenses of a manager part-time as well as the cost of 10 part-time customer service agents with 40 percent of their time spent on social customer care and 50 full-time customer care social media professionals. The total of the costs for both technology ($30,000) and payroll ($2,720,400) is $2,750,400.

Figure 1. Airline Example of Customer Social Media Cost CalculationCost of Social Customer Care

Calculating Gains

The benefit calculation is created by determining the extra revenue generated from more loyal customers who spend more with the airline. The annual number of customers or passengers per year is 22,000,000 with an average spend per customer of $250. With the increased responsiveness and better social customer service, we estimate that 10 percent of the customers will spend 10 percent more per year. The ROI is calculated by taking the $55,000,000 minus $2,750,400 x 100 divided by $2,750,400. This total increase in revenue is approximately $55,000,000 (see Figure 2), and the ROI is 1899 percent. This means that the airline made $18.99 for every dollar that it invested in social customer care.

Figure 2. Airline Example of Customer Social Media Gain Calculation

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 11.55.17 AM

In the report, we go over many different examples of how companies have calculated ROI. Though there are nearly dozens of ways that social adds to the value of not only Customer Service, Marketing, Product Innovation, Supply Chain, ERP as well as Internal Operations – like acquiring recruiting and retaining top talent. If you want more help on these types of calculations, we are here to help!

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-Facing Applications and how Social, IOT, Machine Learning and AI Transform Customer Experience

[i] “Managing Bad News in Social Media: A Case Study on Domino’s Pizza Crisis”, Jaram Park, Meeyoung Cha, Hoh Kim, Jaeseung Jeong, Graduate School of Culture Technology, KAIST, from Proceedings of the Sixth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, 2012, https://www.aaai.org/ocs/index.php/ICWSM/ICWSM12/paper/download/4672/4994‪.

[ii] “Red Cross Does PR Disaster Recovery on Rogue Tweet”, Todd Wasserman, Mashable, February 16, 2011,http://mashable.com/2011/02/16/red-cross-tweet/#q0MtRnonuSqN

[iii] “#McDStories: When a Hashtag Becomes a Bashtag”, Kashmir Hill, Forbes, January 24, 2012, http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/01/24/mcdstories-when-a-hashtag-becomes-a-bashtag/#2b511f55193f

[iv] “Gilbert Gottfried Fired as Aflac Duck after Japanese Tsunami Tweets”, Huffington Post, March 14, 2011, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/14/gilbert-gottfried-fired-aflac_n_835692.html.

[v] “Tyler Seguin’s Account Tweets ‘Only Steers and Queers in Texas’; New Stars Center Says He Was Hacked”, SportsDay, July 2013, http://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-stars/starsheadlines/2013/07/07/tyler-seguin-s-account-tweets-only-steers-and-queers-in-texas-new-stars-center-say-he-was-hacked.



Dr. Natalie’s Research Agenda and Published Research

If you are wondering what I have been up to lately, I thought I would put all the research I have published  into one place. Here’s a list of Dr. Natalie’s completed and published research and soon to be published content! It ranges from IOT, Analytics, Big Data, Customer Experience, Leadership, Organizational Change Management, Storytelling, Collaboration, Digital Transformation, Social Selling, Social Media, the Cloud, Marketing, Sales, SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, DaaS, AI, Machine Learning, Innovation, Social Networks, Social Media Monitoring, Mobile, Customer Service and Customer Success Management….and a few things in-between…

IOT (The Internet of Things), Innovation, AI, Machine Learning, Analytics and the Cloud

• The Algorithm of You: How IoT Transforms and Differentiates Customer Experience: Using the Internet of Things to Boost Revenue and Deliver a Brand’s Personalized Promise

• Digital Disruption: The Blind Spot That Could Sink Your IoT and CX Initiatives

• The Internet of Things Improves Customer Experience in Retail Supply Chain

• The As-a-Service Economy: CX and IOT Mean You Have to Deliver Great Experiences- Upcoming

• Customer Experience IOT in the Automotive Industry-Upcoming


Digital Transformation: Customer Engagement, CRM, Innovation, Customer Experience, Customer Service, The Cloud and Analytics

• ROI Of Customer Service & Customer Experience

• How to Measure Customer Experience: Performance Management Maturity-Upcoming

• Case Study: Elaine Turner® Brand and Oracle Commerce, Marketing and Customer Service-Upcoming

• The Need for Inspiring Leaders to Orchestrate Customer Experience Initiatives-Upcoming

• Experience Management: How to Deliver Integrated Customer Experiences

• How Rackspace Creates the Next-Generation Customer Experience

• The ROI Of Agile Customer Care: Reduce Training and Easy To Add Channels

• Digital Imperatives for Omni-Channel Retail Customer Experiences

• Nine Pillar Of Successful Self-Service for Digital Customer Engagement

• 6 Pillars of e-commerce Customer Engagement

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – Delivery and Communication Styles: Channels, Content and Cadence

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – People Centric Values: External & Internal Culture, Community, Credibility

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – Right Time Drivers: Context, Catalysts, Currency

• How Delta Uses Microsoft Dynamics and Avanade to Create Next-Generation Customer Experiences

• How Microsoft Dynamics CRM Improves Productivity at Trek Bicycle

• Delta Uses Microsoft to Transform Flight Operations and the Customer Experience

• New Belgium Brewing Creates Great Customer Experiences Using Microsoft Dynamics

• Beyond Journey Maps, Delivering Mass Personalization at Scale

• The State of Customer Service and Support Evolves 


Social Media, Customer Service, CRM, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• How General Motors Using Social Media To Listen To Customers and Sell Cars and Deliver Service

• The ROI of Online Communities: Online Communities Provide Value Beyond Call Deflection

• Why Top Marketers Create Branded Social Networks for Customer Engagement

• The State of Customer Service and Support Evolves 

• ROI of Social Customer Service- Upcoming

• The Customer Service Playbook for Integration of Traditional, Digital, Social and Mobile Customer Service Strategies and Technologies-Upcoming

• Mobile Customer Service-Upcoming


Digital Marketing, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• Should the Chief Marketing Officer Oversee the Whole Customer Experience?

• Data-Driven Marketing Campaign Optimization

• VentureBeat: Should the CMO Run the Whole Customer Experience?

• Executive Brief: Can Brands Keep Their Promise?

• Oracle Moves Its Focus from the CIO to the CMO

• How to Staff the Team for Effective Content Marketing

• The State of Marketing 

• Marketing Funnels Are Dead, What’s Next?


Digital and Social Sales; Commerce, Innovation, Analytics and the Cloud

• How Sales Leaders and Sales Reps Can Create a Social Selling Organization: Convert Average Sales Teams into Top Performers Using Social Networks

• Five Approaches to Drive Customer Loyalty in a Digital World

• The Modern Sales Experience

• Continuity of Customer Experiences Drives the Future of Commerce


Customer Success Management, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• The State of Customer Success Management

• Gainsight: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy

• ServiceSource: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy

• Bluenose: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy

• Totango: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy


If you are interested in learning about any of these reports or research, a speech or webinar on any of these or related topics, please reach out to me here!

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Innovative, Customer-Facing Applications that Create Great Customer Experiences








I’m Judging the SuperNova Awards: Make Sure to Submit Your Case Study

I’m judging the 2016 Constellation SuperNova Awards! Every year the Constellation SuperNova Awards recognize individuals for their leadership in digital business. Nominate yourself or someone you know before August 8, 2016.

About the SuperNova Awards
The SuperNova Awards honor leaders that demonstrate excellence in the application and adoption of new and emerging technologies. In its sixth year, the Constellation SuperNova Awards will recognize individuals who demonstrate leadership in nine categories:
•  Internet of Things – A network of smart objects enables smart services. (sensors, smart ‘things’, device to purchase, artificial intelligence)
•  Data to Decisions – Using data to make informed business decisions. (big data, predictive analytics)
•  Digital Marketing Transformation – Personalized, data-driven digital marketing.
•  Future of Work: Social Business – The technologies enabling teams to work together efficiently. (enterprise social networks, collaboration, digital assistants)
•  Future of Work: Human Capital Management – Enabling your organization to utilize your workforce as an asset.  (talent management, benefits, HR core)
•  Matrix Commerce – Commerce responds to changing realities from the supply chain to the storefront. (digital retail, supply chain, payments, ‘ubiquitous-channel’ retail)
•  Next Generation Customer Experience – Customers in the digital age demand seamless service throughout all lifecycle stages and across all channels.  (crm, customer experience)
•  Safety and Privacy – Strategies to secure sensitive data (blockchain, digital identity, authentication)
•  Technology Optimization & Innovation – Innovative methods to balance innovation and IT budgets. (innovation in the cloud, ENSW cost savings, cloud ERP, efficient app production)
The SuperNova Awards are seeking leaders and teams who have innovatively applied disruptive technolgies to their business models as a means of adapting to the rapidly-changing digital business environment. If you have what it takes to compete in the SuperNova Awards submit your application today: https://www.constellationr.com/events/supernova/2016
If you are doing something really interesting, make sure to send in your case study! It’s your time to be recognized for your hard work!
@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Customer Facing Applications that Drive Awesome Customer Experience

How GM Uses Social Media to Listen and Engage Customers

Having worked for GM years ago and lived in Detroit, the motor capital, it was really interesting to see how GM is using social media to listen and engage customers – in marketing as well as customer service. This new case study shows the depth and strength of how GM is taking advantage of what social media can provide to the business. What’s interesting – and if you follow me, you know I am an ROI gal – is that GM was able to trace their social interactions to actual car sales. And that’s really where the rubber meets the road. Social media has huge implications to business – many of them not obvious to many – but over the years I’ve spent a lot of time understanding how social media provides business value.

For more information on this report, you can find it here.

how GM listens in social media for marketing and customer service @drnatalie

For other reports on ROI of online communities, ROI of customer care, ROI of agile customer serviceNine Pillars of Successful Digital Customer Experience and Self-service, How General Motors Listens to Customers on Social Media, you can find more info to help your business understand why it’s important to take social and digital media very serious.

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Nine pillars of customer self-service natalie petouhoff @drnatalie






@Drnatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering customer-facing applications that deliver amazing customer experiences.


Doing Something Really Interesting in IOT Customer Experience or Cloud Customer Service? Apply for a SuperNova Award!

The SuperNova Awards honor leaders that demonstrate excellence in the application and adoption of new and emerging technologies. This is the sixth year of the Constellation SuperNova Awards. Are you using IoT to create great, new customer experiences. Has the move to the cloud made your customer service more agile and the customer’s experience much better? If so, let us know. We want to hear your stories of using and developing:

  • IoT
    • IoT and creating awesome Customer Experiences
    • IoT and creating awesome Customer Service (Field Service)
    • IoT, the Customer Experience and its affects on Customer’s and Businesses Security/ Privacy
    • Using IoT to deliver smarter Marketing
  • Cloud
    • Using the Marketing Cloud to Increase Conversion, Targeting, Relevancy…
    • Using Customer Service Cloud to Service Customers Reactively, Proactively and Drive Marketing
    • Using the Customer Experience Cloud To Drive Awesome Customer Experiences
    • Using the Sales Cloud to Grow Win Ratios…

We will be recognizing nine individuals who demonstrate true leadership in digital business through their application of new and emerging technologies. We’re searching for leaders and teams who used disruptive technolgies to transform their organizations. Special recognition will be given to projects that seek to redefine how the enterprise uses technology on a large scale.

Are you really on the leading, bleeding edge? Then we are looking for you! If you are not on the edge, you are taking up too much room! We’re searching for the boldest, most transformative technology projects out there. If you or someone you know has what it takes to compete in the SuperNova Awards, fill out the application here

What’s the Timeline look like? I kinda hate to publish this, because everyone looks at it and thinks- Oh August – I have plenty of time! Don’t kid yourself. It takes time to not only do a great project but also document it! So don’t wait to the last minute… If you are up to something special, start jotting down your project info so you won’t be late with application submission!!! And make sure you have data to show your results!

  • February 8, 2016 application process begins.
  • August 8, 2016 last day for submissions.
  • September 7, 2016 finalists announced and invited to Connected Enterprise.
  • September 12, 2016 voting opens to the public
  • September 21, 2016 polls close
  • October 27, 2016 Winners announced, SuperNova Awards Gala Dinner at Connected Enterprise 

Why bother? There’s lots of Rewards! Besides getting to hang out with me :-) and a ton of other really outstanding and amazing leaders, and get to hear what the top companies in the world are doing, you’ll also get…

Wondering Who Are the Judges?

The judges are technology thought leaders, analysts, and journalists selected for their futurist mindset and ability to separate substance from hype. The SuperNova Award Judges carefully evaluate each SuperNova Award application against a rigorous set of criteria. Judges will identify individuals who demonstrate true leadership in the application and adoption of new and emerging technologies.  Want to catch a judge’s eye? Judges look for projects whose elements can be replicated in other enterprises. Want to know more about the awards and judges? You can learn more about the SuperNova Award Judges.

What Types of Projects or Inititatives Can Be Submitted? Here’s a list of the categories:

  •  Internet of Things – A network of smart objects enables smart services. (examples: sensors, smart ‘things’, device to purchase)
  •  Data to Decisions – Using data to make informed business decisions. (examples: big data, predictive analytics) 
  •  Digital Marketing Transformation – Personalized, data-driven digital marketing. 
  •  Future of Work: Social Business – The technologies enabling teams to work together efficiently. (examples: enterprise social networks, collaboration)
  •  Future of Work: Human Capital Management – Enabling your organization to utilize your workforce as an asset. (examples: talent management)
  •  Matrix Commerce – Commerce responds to changing realities from the supply chain to the storefront. (examples: digital retail, supply chain, payments, omni-channel retail)
  •  Next Generation Customer Experience – Customers in the digital age demand seamless service throughout all lifecycle stages and across all channels. (examples: crm, customer experience)
  •  Safety and Privacy – Strategies to secure sensitive data (examples: digital identity, information security, authentication)
  •  Technology Optimization & Innovation – Innovative methods to balance innovation and IT budgets. (examples: innovation in the cloud, ENSW cost savings, cloud ERP, efficient app production)

Who Won Last Year? I knew you would ask that, so here’s that info below. And they were all outstanding. Let’s see if you can beat what they did last year! We are really looking for the super stars. And you know who you are!

CoIT & The New C-Suite

Martin Brodbeck: CTO, Sterling Backcheck


Data to Decisions

Alda Mizaku: Lead Bus Solutions Analyst, Mercy


Digital Marketing Transformation

Naveen Gunti: Senior Director of e-Commerce Technology and Operations, Tumi Holdings, Inc.


Future of Work – Human Capital Management

Asha Aravindakshan: Operations Director, Global Talent, Ashoka


Future of Work – Social Business

Steve Nava: Senior Director Field Service, Americas, Luminex

*************************************************************Matrix Commerce

Jordan Kivelstadt: CEO, Free Flow Wines


Next Generation Customer Experience

Dan Wallis: Director of KP OnCall, Kaiser Permanente


Technology Optimization & Innovation

Dr. David Bray: Chief Information Officer , Federal Communications Commissions

Erica Stevens: VP of Supply Chain and Information Technology, Dylan’s Candy Bar

So there’s your bar. It’s been set high, but I know you can top it! Go for it! Can’t wait to see you at  SuperNova Awards Gala Dinner at Connected Enterprise!!
@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Customer-facing Applications That Make Amazing Customer Experiences

Bluenose: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy(Part 2)

Welcome back to part two of my vendor profile on Bluenose. Bluenose Analytics offers a customer success platform that allows SaaS businesses to manage customers with complete visibility, a robust early warning system, and built-in playbooks.

Product/Solution Footprint

Competitive Positioning

Bluenose specializes in providing SaaS businesses a customer success platform to manage their customers with all-encompassing visibility through a comprehensive early warning system, intelligent marketing campaigns built to instill loyalty, and integrated playbooks (see Figure 2). Bluenose helps companies spot opportunities to deepen engagement with customers and maximize revenue through renewals and upsells. The CSM software offers a customizable and comprehensive customer health analytics system that can:

  • Highlight users that need more product training
  • Identify the most engaged users
  • Get warnings when an account is a churn risk
  • Determine which customers are falling behind in onboarding
  • Know if executive champions are no longer engaging with others
  • Suggest accounts that are ready for an upgrade

Figure 2. Overview of Bluenose’s Customer Success Management System


Source: Bluenose

The core of Bluenose is the analytics engine. Data on customer engagement, purchases, system usage, customer demographics, and customer sentiment in the form of Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and surveys all feed into the Bluenose engine. The result of the analysis is the ability to proactively manage accounts and end user campaigns. The key capabilities of Bluenose’s account management system include:

  • 360-degree view of the customer account
  • Early warning system
  • Playbooks
  • Account-based reports

The key capabilities of Bluenose’s end user campaigns system include:

  • Marketing campaigns
  • User-based reports
  • 360-degree user view
  • Actionable queries

The 360-degree view provides Bluenose’s customers with access to every touch point across their business. The early warning system allows Bluenose’s customers to go from being reactive to proactive in detecting issues and heading them off before they become problems. Bluenose’s playbooks allow customers to establish consistent and structured customer success processes to make sure all customers are receiving top-tier customer success management. Bluenose has a customer success community where clients (members) can share and connect with other customer success professionals.

  • Constellation’s Analysis of the Competitive Positioning: Early adopters of customer success management didn’t have a cloud platform that provided instant data like the CSM systems that are available today. CSM platforms now provide the capabilities and graphical representation of data in such a useful way that it is imperative that serious businesses adopt customer success management as a top priority. Bluenose’s analytics engine brings customer relationship management (CRM), service desk, marketing, usage data and financial systems into a single centralized view, providing a company with a data stream on its customers. With this data, Bluenose provides its clients with an accurate measurement of the stability of each customer and whether the customer is in jeopardy of churn or is ready to expand its capabilities. Customer scoring is accurate since it draws from structured data sources like CRM and billing systems and unstructured insights, like the intelligence of account managers. This technology system has many of the attributes a company would need to do great customer success management. However, Bluenose would benefit from developing relationships with integration partners and resellers.

A Great Place for Customer Service? Twitter: Oracle’s Social Roll-Out of A Twitter Enhanced Customer Solution

Customer Service Has Changed
There was a time when customers wrote a letter to customer service- ok that was a really long time ago. But not long ago, the phone was what a majority of people used to contact customer service. And then along comes social media. As the author’s of the Cluetrain Manifesto said, “Markets are conversations” and many of the new marketplace conversations are happening in social networks.

Markets are Conversations

One of the reasons that more and more marketplace conversations are happening in social and digital networks is that it’s the first time customers have been able to talk to each other directly in ways that surpass the bulletin boards of yester year. Another reason is that when customers tried to get service by dialing the customer service 1-800 number, they were often met with long wait times, agents that didn’t have all their information in front of them (the company didn’t have the type of computer telephony were all you info was pulled up from the phone number and delivered to the agent) or when the customer finally got a customer service agent on the phone, the service experience was rushed (over 4 minute mark many contact center agents would get dinged for a long average handle time) and some of the agents just weren’t prepared to help, had an attitude, didn’t fix the issue so the customer had to call back in and retell their story all over again… The bottom line: customers have been tired of poor service.

Customer Service is the New Marketing

It’s never made sense to me to provide bad service. Customer Service is the new Marketing. How someone is treated in a customer service situation stays with them. That customer might be loyal for a while, at least until there’s a better deal from another company. It’s part of why there is so much customer churn. One of the biggest issues is NOT that Customer Service Professionals are not aware of the issues in their contact centers. They know what they would like to do. They just suffer from the Rodney Dangerfield Affect: They just don’t get enough respect. What I mean by that is they are often not allocated enough budget to make the customer service experience what it should and could be. Customer Service should be a CEO level decision. In companies where it is, the service is great. In companies where it is not respected as a mission critical part of the business, the service is just “so so” to really bad.

A Change in Corporate Culture Needs to Happen NOW

What is important about social and digital media is not necessarily the channel. It’s really about a philosophical corporate culture issue. Because customers couldn’t get the service they wanted in a phone call or email, they realized that social networks were the perfect place to get a company’s attention. Why does it work so well? In comparison to a call or an email or chat, social networks are a public medium. It’s a medium where everyone can see what’s happening. And one of the biggest issues – whether its Twitter, Facebook, an online community – is that the conversations between customers and between customers and companies are public. And not only are they public, they are often permanent digital footprints that last a long time (think cave painting that last millions of years.)

If You Think Social Media Isn’t Affecting Your Company, Stop Doing the Ostrich

Some people would argue that there’s not that many people on social networks. In fact, there are There are 7.2 billion people on earth and more than 2 billion of them are active on social media. And take into consideration the 1-9-90 rule, most customers are lurking or reading what other customers are writing about companies. (The 1% refers to customers who post, 9% refer to those who respond to those who post and 90% refers to those that read what the 10% posted. Of course that ratio changes depending on the industry, but it’s roughly 80-90% of the customers who just read what other customers think. So should companies be worried about what is said about them in social and digital media. I think so. I think there will be some companies, because of the bad word of mouth and their lack of attention to it or changing the issues with their products and services will just go out of business and never know what hit them.

Operationalizing Social Customer Care on Twitter

Oracle SocialOne way to operationalize a brand’s ability to track and interact with Customer Service and Twitter is to consider Twitter’s new data and functionality to create improved and transformative customer service solutions for brands. Oracle Social Cloud was part of the announcement and is extending this enriched Twitter data to our customers.  Oracle Social Cloud will be rolling out this new social service solution in a managed release to select customers. The product will be available to additional customers in the fall.

Exceptional Social Responsiveness is A Necessity of Great Customer Service

According to Nielsen, more than 1 in 3 consumers prefer social customer service to phone. A recent McKinsey study stated that companies that improve their customer service can see a 30-50% improvement in key measurements including “likelihood to recommend” and “make repeat purchases.” Social service is more than just resolving issues.

Meg Bear, Group Vice President, Oracle Social Cloud, said, “In today’s digital landscape, modern customer care is social and mobile, and increasingly the platform of choice for consumers is Twitter.  Working with Twitter data allows customers to better integrate enriched social data more deeply within their customer service process to capture, learn, and act on insights to match consumer expectations.

An Example of a Company That is Taking Social Customer Care to Heart

Rebecca Harris, Global Head of Social Center of Expertise at General Motors, commented that, “General Motors continues to strive for excellence with our customer care capabilities, providing new ways to understand and engage with our customers like never before—and it’s a winning strategy for both our customers and our business. The importance of social service is echoed by our customers, too. We interact daily with our customers on Twitter, allowing for a quicker, more personal engagement, enabling General Motors to put its customers at the center of everything we do.” I grew up in Detroit and worked for GM many, many years ago. It’s an interesting industry that is critical to the stability of the American economy and great to see they understand the fundamental importance of not only customer service, but also social customer care.

Wondering How The Oracle Twitter Solution Can Help Your Company?  

The new social customer care solution is an upgradeable option for Oracle customers that want to provide the most advanced and innovative solutions to meet the rising expectations of mobile and social consumers. The solution captures Twitter impressions and aggregated engagement metrics, coupled with their advanced listening algorithm, and delivers a next-generation solution that allows customers to better identify influencers, understand social impact, and prioritize service issues.

How It Will Work – Real-World Superior Social Service:

Let’s say you are an airline organization or a hotel chain monitoring millions of Tweets across the globe. You could leverage Oracle Social’s advanced listening, filtering and categorizing capabilities to quickly identify “customer service” topics from other conversations. Your agents could respond and resolve customer service and customer care issues with speed. That’s good – but it can be done better.  How do agents easily identify who to respond to given the potential volume of service complaints?  How does one Tweet stand out from the next in a blurry sea of Tweets?  Those are all good questions and need answers.

For starters, with the new Twitter-enriched data, the airline or hotel chain now has more insights and rich context into each message through an algorithm that weighs impressions and engagement metrics and then color-codes each based on highest impact and priority. This proactive solution allows agents to visually identify messages as they trend based on views, clicks and aggregate engagement metrics. Counting favorites and retweets as the only indicators misses the mark on critical service scenarios that are quickly going viral.

Of course, every customer issue is important, but now airline or hotel agents can prioritize and resolve the frustrated customer whose Tweet about lost luggage or lack of air conditioning in the room was actually seen by 5.5 million people (…and counting re the 1-9-90 rule).

The new customer care solution will be surfaced in Oracle SRM’s new column-based Engage UI.  The new column-based Engage UI will be available to all customers whether or not they upgrade to the advanced Twitter customer care solution.

What’s your take on Social Customer Care? Here’s some quick tips to consider:

  1. Do you have the ability to operationalize listening and responding in social and digital networks?
  2. Do you have the staff that understands not only the strategy but also how to operationalize social customer care real-time?
  3. Do you have executive management buy-in, a business case and a strategic and tactical plan that shows how your approach to social customer care is going to reduce costs, but also increase revenue?


VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Customer-facing Applications to Create Amazing Customer Experiences

Don’t forget to submit a SuperNova Award if you are doing something amazing at your company: Deadline is extend to August 21st.


ServiceSource®: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy (Part 2)


Welcome back to Part 2 of my vendor profile of ServiceSource®. If you’d like the full report, just scroll to the bottom of this post!

Customer Success Management Field Sees Tremendous Growth

Through conversations with clients, prospective buyers, system integrators, partners, and vendors, Constellation sees five big themes in customer success management (see Figure 1)[1]:

  1. Delivering a brand promise instead of a product or service requires new approaches. The onus of delivering on the brand promise – providing great experiences with a company no matter when the customer interacts with it – is putting new pressures on brands and software vendors. This means the business model of both must shift. A company’s business model must move post-sales care to a more mature level. This evolution requires a different mindset and approach to customer lifetime value.

Figure 1. Four Areas Needed to Master Customer Success Management







[1] See “The State of Customer Success Management 2015” by Natalie Petouhoff, Constellation Research, December 22, 2014.

  1. Companies who believe in customer experience build CSM organizations. Not all CSM organizations are created equally. In an opt-in economy, the economic value of a customer is realized over time, instead of in the upfront sale. This means that organizations that want to become CSM-oriented are looking at three main areas:
  • Hiring, training and rewards for employees
  • Becoming a center of excellence for CSM
  • Strategy combined with data
  1. CSM cultivates more customers, lowers churn, and improves margins. The reason many companies have adopted the opt-in business model is that they realize, when they consistently deliver great experiences, they have loyal customers who advocate for the brand and often will make referrals. Advocating for the brand can be in the form of a post in a social network or offline in telling friends or family of their experiences.
  2. Predictive analytics identify known attributes and reveal previously unknown attributes that drive customer success. The only way to preserve a company’s revenue stream is to keep customers opting in. To become a CSM organization, a company has to actively manage customer relationships to ensure the customer is getting value. This critical step requires data in the form of real-time and predictive analytics.
  3. Integration of the Internet of Things and predictive analytics improves precision of decisions. The amount of data and analytics that CSM platforms provide is important, especially when data from sensors and other sources (that make up the Internet of Things) is integrated into the solution to provide a company with predictive analytics and actionable insights that drive better and more precise decision making throughout an organization.

Be sure to check out my vendor profile of ServiceSource®. An excerpt of the profile including the table of contents is available to download.



VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering Customer Success Management, IOT, Analytics and Customer-facing Applications that Deliver Enhanced, Trust-building Customer Experiences via Customer Service, Sales and Marketing



ServiceSource®: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy (Part 1)

I’m in the process of writing profiles of vendors in the customer success management industry. These vendor profiles are a tool for buyers to evaluate their customer success management options before selecting a vendor. In addition to an overview of the vendor, these documents identify key differentiators, product offerings, and provide a short list guide for buyers.  The first vendor I profiled is ServiceSource®. Stay tuned, as more profiles will be published in the weeks to come.

Customer Success Management: ServiceSource® provides B2B companies with technology-enabled services, cloud software and best-practice processes to improve customer success, drive revenue growth and decrease churn from existing customers. It began as a managed services firm and evolved by adding a software platform. ServiceSource had $272.2 million in revenue in 2014.

salessourceWhat Does ServiceSource Do? ServiceSource’s solutions help companies manage the end-to-end customer revenue lifecycle, including onboarding and adoption, upsell and cross-sell, retention and renewals. With more than 15 years of experience focusing on customer success and revenue growth, ServiceSource has the depth of expertise companies need to manage their revenue lifecycle. With deployments across 40 languages and 150 countries and a recurring revenue technology platform, ServiceSource manages billions of dollars of recurring revenue for clients annually.

Why Customer Success Management Important Today: Today’s cloud businesses have unprecedented visibility and data on customers that can be harnessed with a customer success management platform. This opens up new opportunities and smarter ways to connect and engage with customers to maximize revenue and to determine what customers need and want so they remain loyal and provide high customer lifetime values.

An Overview of Customer Success Management: Before the opt-in economy, many businesses were focused on the initial sale. A great deal of money was spent advertising and marketing to potential prospects, enticing them to convert from a lead to a sale. However, little attention was paid to the after-sale experience and financial longevity of the client, even though poor customer experiences and churn still exist today after decades of research showing that after-sales service directly affects the financial stability of a company. In fact, it never made sense for companies to spend millions, or in some cases, billions of dollars in advertising, marketing and sales to then drive the customer to a competitor when the after-sales service experience is horrible. Yet poor after-sales service occurs every single day in many, many companies.

Before, During and After the Sale: Customer Success Management (CSM) is based on the ability to deliver a consistent customer experience process – before, during, and in particular, after the sale – which results in maximized customer lifetime value and enhanced revenue that leads to increased margins and profits. A shift to CSM happened because we live in a continuous, opt-in economy, where the value of customers is determined by how long they stay customers and if they continue to increase their purchase amounts over time. Because of our opt-in economy, companies must prepare themselves to deliver great, continuous and consistent customer experiences.

This seismic shift to a post-sale, on demand, attention economy transforms the value exchange among customers, partners, suppliers, and brands. And as organizations move to digital business models, CSM plays a critical role in enabling brands and organizations to keep and deliver their brand promise as well as enhance their bottom line.

What’s the Best Option for Your Company? When choosing the best option for CSM software for your organization, the choice will depend on the business goals of CSM initiatives, the degree to which CSM has been integrated into your culture and how well employees have adopted this mindset. It may be that some organizations will be further along the adoption cycle, while others will need internal champions to encourage and enforce the use of customer success software, processes and best practices.

Data to Decisions Drives the Democratization of Insight: The CSM field has been spurred on by the need to provide after-sales service intelligence that can be turned into actionable insights and decisions. Holistic, data-driven decisions require a multi-disciplinary approach that incorporates performance monitoring with traditional business intelligence technologies.

A multitude of data sources can be transformed into information streams guided by business process. As context is applied to information streams, patterns emerge that provide nuggets of insight. That insight then drives the ability to take action and make better decisions. This shift to using insight not only can serve high-margin, “luxury” brands, but also should be considered for all businesses through an investment in CSM. By transforming business models to include processes that immediately turn data into decisions, brands and organizations gain the ability to provide great, loyalty inspiring experiences that reduce churn and increase revenue.

Make sure to stay tuned for the next part of the mutli-part study!

Check out my vendor profile of ServiceSource®. An excerpt of the profile including the table of contents is available to download.



VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering Customer Success Management, IOT, Analytics and Customer-facing Applications that Deliver Enhanced, Trust-building Customer Experiences via Customer Service, Sales and Marketing