Watch What Twitter Does Next… Customer Service or….

How does Twitter make money? Good question. Many companies use it for Customer Service – as consumers have figured out it’s a great place to embrace a company into fixing a customer service issue that has not been resolved or just to get the brand’s attention. With the announcement of Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreessen and firm Silver Lake Partners, shares of Twitter jumped nearly 8%.

According to The Information, several investors in Silicon Valley are pulling together plans to buy or restructure the company. There have been conversations around an potential acquisition as some of the senior executives are changing guard, including the head of product and engineering, CEO Jack Dorsey, leaving last month.

One of the questions from investors is how quickly is Twitter adding new monthly active users? Last quarter, Twitter missed the Wall Street forecast, with only 307 M active monthly users. Twitter is used by many people to keep in touch, drive change in foreign countries, provide insights into what consumers think is value and whether they need Customer Service help. Some companies, like Dell, have used it to sell refurbished lap tops and generate revenue. Twitter also provides an invaluable source of customer data. The question for Twitter is what can they offer brands, that they would pay for? It will be interesting to see how one of the darlings of social media ends up!

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-Facing Applications that Drive Better Customer Experiences



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.


Speaking at Connections: Making Social Customer Care, Great Marketing with Honeywell, Aetna, and ALEX AND ANI

Social Customer Care has become an expectation amongst consumers. Telling your community that you’re accessible on social channels delivers a strong message. Your community and supporters are online, and it is fundamentally changing how and where constituents look for support, and how they engage with you today.

For organizations of any size, listening to constituents online doesn’t only present the opportunity to uncover and address complaints and issues, but the opportunity to learn, improve, and engage your audience in new ways to strengthen – or build new – relationships over time.

In this session learn how HP, ALEX AND ANI and Honeywell not only provide exceptional service to their customers through social channels, but how they capitalize on these interactions as a marketing opportunity.

Salesforce connections

You’ll get to hear real-world stories of how brands are looking at marketing and customer service and how they are bringing those to functional departments together to create better customer experiences and drive enhanced marketing conversion rates. Remember – you can’t sell something to someone (or market to them) if they are mad.

Taking care of customer service issues means your customers will be more receptive to your marketing campaigns. Don’t waste the time, energy, money on creative, content and campaigns without taking into consideration if you are solving your customer care issues . There is nothing worse than launching a campaign and then having unhappy customers use the campaign to complain about the brand, its products and services. Be proactive and get your organization to be proactive in their strategy around social customer care and marketing.

Jessica Woodbury, Sr. Manager, Social Media & Customer Engagement for ALEX AND ANI
Dane Hartzell, Director of ePresence for Honeywell
Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, Vice President and Principal Analyst for Constellation Research
Waladeen Norwood, Global Social Media Manager for HP

Breakout Session: Wed June 17th, 8:30 AM EST  #CNX15

See you there! Come say hello!

@drnatalie VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Deliver Amazing Customer Experiences



The Digital Disruption Tour: A Brand’s Challenges to Meet Customer Experience

Fresh off the first of the digital disruption tour events, I am reflecting on the wonderful conversation that Ray Wang lead with his keynote speech, really defining this new era of business. If you want to really understand what he’s talking about, you not only must see him speak — he draws such a clear picture of the future, but to really allow what’s happening to infiltrate your department or functional area or your own leadership, his book, Disrupting Digital Business, is very helpful — with examples and details.

For customer experience professionals, that was my roundtable discussion, we talked about not only this new era of business, but the requirement of company’s to change their business models to be able to deliver on the promise of whatever customer experience they are offering. Doesn’t matter if it’s B2B or B2C or B2B2C- customer’s have expectations. Why is it so different today than its ever been? For many of us at the roundtable discussion– we’ve been talking about customer experience, customer service, customer success management for most of our professional lives. It’s not new. And it’s not really a new topic inside of companies.

What is new and what does require something different of organizations is the transparency of how the customer experience affects a business’s customers. In the old days, the customer experience might have been between a contact center agent and a customer. And depending on how empowered that agent was (which generally they were not) that empowerment or lack there of, generated a certain customer experience. It was also dependent on technology as well as processes that were either well defined and implemented or not. If it was a bad experience, that customer would often tell 10-20 people within their circle of influence.

Today, customer loyalty and advocacy is different. Why? Because today the world can see, in an instant, what a brand’s customer experience is and because customers can easily speak to other customers, often going around the brand, brand’s have to walk their talk. And while the Directors of Corporate Communication, PR, the CMO and marketing spend tireless hours and hundreds if not millions or more in budget to create a “brand” — whether that “brand” ends up living up to expectations is dependent on so many things; it now requires we change how we do business so nothing falls through the cracks.  It requires collaboration between all functional departments and the back office.

Ultimately, a brand ends up being expressed as the experience a customer has with that brand. And because there are so many people, departments, touch-points — at any point in that customer’s interaction with that brand, the brand may not uphold its promise. And because of the nature of social networks, that “good or bad” experience, can be expressed for millions to see, in a nano-second, often lasting a long time (think of “online posts” like cave paintings – they last millions of years…) The expression of a brand from a customer can be very personal and emotional. And often times the expression from the brand’s side is through content. And the number of people and budget, just for content marketing, has really shifted how we must think about how we do business. Business has changed. Period.

I really want to thank each and every person who participated in the customer experience roundtable. What our roundtable discussion concluded where several things:

1. Good customer experience starts with strategy. It’s not just about implementing the technology. It’s about looking at your business processes from the customer’s point of view and making changes to what does not make sense. It’s about examining the commitment from the senior leadership team to allow for budget so that the people, process and technology required for great customer experiences can be delivered.

2. Good customer experience also requires something new of the internal aspects of a company – culture, leadership, employees, training, attitude… and while most of what I write about is that “external” customer-facing experience, the truth is that – that customer experience can’t be good if the internal capabilities of an organization are not optimized. It is something that is often underestimated and rarely spoken about, but at the end of the day, it’s employees who are driving the customer experience in one shape or form. So it’s my feeling that this part of the conversation can no longer can be ignored. And in some cases, it maybe the first step in generating great, external-facing customer experiences.

The Panel Discussion One of the panels was on the customer experiences created in the financial services area. Financial service companies often think of themselves as limited to change things because of all the regulations they face. When Ray was asked about this he explained, “While there are many regulations, smart companies are looking at those regulations, often written years ago and asking if they make sense today. If they don’t, smart companies and governments are taking the time to question them and transform whatever it takes to make things work better.”

Wipro (who sponsored this SF part of the tour) talked about the ideas behind banking 1:1. Even in a highly regulated and competitive marketplace, banks must examine every possible idea and strategize about the advantages it can use to meet and to exceed customer expectations. This is truly, for all industries, where companies will differentiate themselves from the pack, now and in the future. Banks can’t offer simple and automated banking services. To build loyalty and drive profitability, banks need to offer a non-stop interactive banking environment and to increase their business agility by anticipating customer needs and offer an engaging user experience.

I vowed to keep writing about customer experience and customer service / success management – the ability to use data to understand our customers better to provide better experiences – as well as technology, people and processes. But I also asked that each one of the people in my roundtable take it upon themselves to hold the torch to generate excellent customer experiences. That’s because transforming businesses today, to provide great customer experiences, takes a village; it’s not a one person job. It takes collaboration across functional departments and strong leadership from all of us.

So as you read this, I ask you to also hold the torch for great customer experiences and for what the “transparency and digital disruption” means and requires of each of us – i.e., that what we are really talking about is that we all have  to change our business models (or how we do business.) And together, I believe we can transform business. It’s something that has been a long time in coming. It’s here. It’s now. It’s something I want to see in my lifetime. How about you?


Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Dedicated to the people, process, technology and data, to provide great customer experiences.


The TOP 25 Most Engaged Brands on Twitter: A Study by @DrNatalie & Big Data Cruncher

Wondering what brands are the most engaged on Twitter? We wondered too. This New York Times article explores engagement and Twitter.

I also wondered what drives engagement on Twitter and I began my own study by looking at the top 100 brands who had the most Twitter followers. Then using the platform, we added those brands into platform which did the big data crunching. InfiniGraph is different than social media monitoring. It is a interest graph platform.

Mashable has a ton of articles on how social networks like Twitter are trying new things to increase engagement. Here’s a recap article about the study and the actual engagement of the brands we evaluated on Forbes by Mark Fidelman.

Top 25 Most Engaged Brands on Twitter

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There’s certainly lots of definitions of engagement. Here’s a great article by Jay Baer who interviewed David Armano on how brands need to create a iterative strategy around engagement- micro-interactions & incremental customer experience victories. The LA Times has many articles on how brands are using social media and networking. Jon Swartz writes about the abundance of platforms for customers to engage on, hinting that perhaps more is not the answer. Maybe really understanding what engagement means is a beginning. In this case, the InfiniGraph Engagement Platform looked at Twitter engagement as measured by RT’s, clicks and @ replies.

Study of the 25 Most Engaged Brands on Twitter was written about on Mashable and it provides a very nice overview of the study’s results.  The details and the results of the study are in this report found here:

Graph of the Brands with the Highest Engagement @DrNatalie

Here’s the of the top 25 most engaged brands on Twitter:

1.  Notebook of Love2. Disneywords3. ESPN4. Funny Facts5. PlayStation6. Disney7. Chelsea Football Club8. BBC Breaking News9. NASA10. CNN Breaking News11.  Instagram12.  YouTube13. Facebook14. NBA15. Arsenal16. The Onion17. Disney Pixar18. FunnyorDie.com19. CNN20. National Geographic21. UNICEF22. Dropbox23. MTV24. WWE25. Chanel

Here’s more details on how the study was conducted:

1. We looked at the brands with the most Twitter followers and created a list of 100 of the most followed brands for the month of February 2013

2. We used to crunch all the “BIG” Data in this report

3. See the Engagement Analysis and Platform powered by InfiniGraph

4. The 100 brands with the most followers were put into the InfiniGraph Platform for the time period of 02/2013 to 03/2013

5. The InfiniGraph Platform took the information about each brand and gathered the data you see in this report:

      • The volume of posts

      • The level of engagement

      • The content that is shared by each brand

      • What days / times during the day it is shared and

      • Compares and ranks it

6. Then the InfiniGraph system creates the graphs you see in this report.

If you are wondering how your brand’s engagement compares to your competitors, you can find out by following these steps:

  • Search on your own brand at:

  • Or click on the industry analysis on the right

  • If your brand is not in the system, request that it’s added

  • Then select the brands you want to compare to your brand and run the report in InfiniGraph

  • Study the results of the comparison

  • Compare how much you post vs the level of engagement

  • Study the other brand’s engagement capabilities and tactics

  • And make changes to your strategy and tactics

The study I did was commission by Nestivity and Evolve Capital. And in full disclosure, I work with InfiniGraph and I am proud to be on InfiniGraph’s Advisory Board.


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