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?

@drnatalie

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

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

Share

Who Should Be the Digital Disruptors? Marketing, Sales, Customer Service or CEOs?

In thinking about the value of the information companies can obtain about their customers, their products and services, etc… from structured and unstructured data, who do you think should lead this effort in an organization? Each department – Marketing, Sales, Customer Service / Contact Center professionals can all do their part, but often are not high enough in the organization to drive widespread change that is required to get the results from digital disruption. I had a really great conversation with some of the best thinkers in the world at IBM who are working on Watson and it got me to thinking more about the issue of getting companies started down this path and who really should lead it. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Do you think CEO’s or CFO’s or COO’s really understand the value that can be obtained by this data? Do they see the opportunity to use it to become a company that lives in an ecosystem where their are no other competitors, i.e., the competition is irrelevant?

Some of the best ways to take advantage of the digital disruption is to:

1. Change your business model to include using the structured and unstructured data to make better products and services and deliver better customer experiences and make a better workplace

2. Change how your functional departments work together using the structured and unstructured data so that the customer experience is not disconnected and actually becomes enjoyable and drives advocacy, loyalty and referrals — and long-term customer lifetime value

3. And in the end the data will change your business model and how your functional departments collaborate and your products and services will be get better from all this structured and unstructured data if it is turned into actionable insights so that you can create a blue ocean strategy where your company is in an uncontested marketplace where the competition is irrelevant.

But for that to happen, it has to be driven by folks who are not too low in the totem pole, but rather by those who have the positional power to really drive this digital disruption change.  And I believe, unless and until the CEO, CFO and COO change the metrics the functional departments get measured on, people will keep doing what they are doing.

Yes, there are some companies where marketing, sales and service work together; but those are the innovators and early adopters. The majority of the marketplace is the early majority and they are thinking about things the way they have always been thinking about things…

Who is going to be the instigators in this new digital disruption? Come join us at our Connected Enterprise Conference to hear how other leaders are dealing with the questions.

@drnatalie
VP and Principle Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Drive Brilliant and Lastly Customer Experiences.

Share

How to Improve Customer Service by Dr. Natalie (Part 13) & Increase Revenue & Decrease Costs

The Socially-Enabled Customer Service Increases Revenue and Reduces Costs

For the whole story on how to use the OODA Loop as a unique way to use Social Media to improve Customer Service, download the white paper here. Or read on…

I’ve been writing about many force multipliers that are currently present within Customer Service organizations using social media. Socially-enabled Customer Service can affect every aspect of your business when leveraged as a force multiplier.

There are multiple benefits from social throughout the buyer-seller relationship. It can be used to generate leads and build customer interest. It can be used in the sales and marketing process. It can be used to monitor customer satisfaction. It can be used to ensure that customers have their support issues addressed and new product functionality requested. It can help PR by helping to protect the brand. And it can be used to understand when an existing customer is influencing potential new customers.

However, if you pull the socially-enabled service aspect out, the force multiplier effect does not exist. A break in the process leaves an opportunity for social media (or the failure to use it) to broadcast your shortcomings in the relationship with your customer. It is important you understand the force multiplier advantages— starting with the Customer Service aspects of your business.

Take a note from a famous pilot, John Boyd and his OODA process and make sure to use social media to observe, orient yourself to the new information you observed, make decisions on that real-time social media data and take the actions that will forward your business, exponentially!

For the whole story on OODA Loop and How to Use Social Media For Business download the white paper here.

Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
Ebook
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Let’s Connect here:
Twitter:
@drnatalie
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts

Enhanced by Zemanta
Share

How to Improve Customer Service by Dr. Natalie (Part 12) & Become an Agile & Customer Focused

How Do You Know If Your Company Is Agile and Customer-Focused? For the whole story on how to use the OODA Loop as a unique way to use Social Media to improve Customer Service, download the white paper here. Or read on…  If we use the OODA Loop as our basis, here’s some questions to ask yourself and your organization:

Question 1: Do you have systems to monitor/measure what employees and customers know, think and feel about how customer service is provided and how the rest of the business operates? And do you take that information and integrate it into your company and make improvements that deliver better products, services and, in particular, better customer service?

If you think about it, this is very similar to what W. Edward Deming was suggesting when he provided business advice to companies. The fact is some companies collect feedback, but that information rarely gets to the right department or person who could make use of it. And then if it does get to the right person, there are not systems or a process to use that insight to make improvements. And even fewer companies tell customers and employees when they have taken the feedback into consideration and made the right changes. One of the most powerful things companies can do is to let customers know that they care by not only making changes, but to let customers know their voice was heard and taken seriously.

Question 2: If you do listen and act on customer/employee feedback, do you do it faster than your competitors? If you do, you’ll have a decided time advantage over their competitor.

Question 3: Are we on track? In military operations, OODA takes place in seconds. In corporations, it’s much slower. In fact, the current year’s strategy is rigidly followed till next year’s planning cycle. What companies need to consider is that with the real-time web, waiting a year to make a change is too slow. In fact, waiting a month or a week may take a customer service issue, spread by social channels, into a PR nightmare. Consider stories like United Breaks Guitars as one way that customers are fighting back against what they perceive is poor customer interactions. It’s critical to validate we’re on track or correct it. Especially in the Age of Social Business.

Question 4: Do you take feedback, fix what is not working and then repeat that process over and over?  In OODA theory, its It not just about going through the OODA loop once. It’s about seeing the OODA Loop as a continuously, on-going process. And then the result of your actions provides the observations to reorient what you decide to do next.

Most companies think of Customer Service as a cost center. But what if Customer Service was a way to preserve and generate revenue? Customers are at the boiling point. They no longer want to take what’s handed to them, especially when it comes to Customer Service. And with social media they have a way to make their voice heard. If we go back in time, people were predicting there would be a technology that would allow customers to talk to each other. And to talk back to companies online when they are dissatisfied and that everyone would be able to see that negative interaction. That prediction was written about in the book The Cluetrain Manifesto.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Share

How to Improve Customer Service by Dr. Natalie (Part 11) By Creating Extraordinary Customer Responsiveness

Force Multiplier #6: Create Extraordinary Customer Responsiveness

Customer Service Your Guide to Integrating Social Media to the Customer ExperienceFor the whole story on how to use the OODA Loop as a unique way to use Social Media to improve Customer Service, download the white paper here. Or read on… Social Media for Customer Service affects Product Development. There is also a behind-the-scenes benefit to product development from using social media for customer service. Because of the “always-on” state of customer service, the Customer Service staff are often the first ones to hear questions from customers like, “I wish the product only did this” or, “Why doesn’t the product do this?”

If the product development team leveraged Customer Service staff and social media data to track these comments—the product development team would be much more aware of what customer’s think about the company’s products and services and be able to create them better.

Customer Service Think Tank hosted by Dell

Customer Service Think Tank hosted by Dell (Photo credit: Dell’s Official Flickr Page)could create new functionality and even develop a new product that customers really want and are ready to buy. Talk about being proactive to your customer’s request— now, this is customer responsiveness! Imagine a customer tweeting that your company fixed a problem or created a product based on their request! Imagine how many more products you’d sell if you created products your customer’s actually asked for.

 

The Conclusion? Force Multiplier #6: Create extraordinary customer responsiveness, build products based upon customer request tracking through customer service, create positive brand image via product development.

For the whole story on OODA Loop and How to Use Social Media For Business download the white paper here.

Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
Ebook
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Let’s Connect here:
Twitter:
@drnatalie
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts

Enhanced by Zemanta
Share

How to Improve Customer Service by Dr. Natalie (Part 10) – Affect on PR And Customer Loyalty

Force Multiplier #5: Proactive Monitoring Of PR Events And Leaks, Leverage Customer Feedback And Customer Data To Facilitate Customer Loyalty

Customer Service Your Guide to Integrating Social Media to the Customer ExperienceFor the whole story on how to use the OODA Loop as a unique way to use Social Media to improve Customer Service and PR, download the white paper here. Or read on…  Social Media for Customer Service affects Public Relations. Public relations departments might be considered at a slight disadvantage with the advent of social media. They have been able to craft and control the branding and key messages, which is very important to the brand equity. With social media, while they can release information to broader audiences quickly, negative information can spread just as fast.

What if an overzealous blogger gets wind of your new product and blogs about it before the launch? On one hand this could be called a “sneak peek.” On the other hand, if leaked too soon, it might end up tipping your hand to the competition and even the stock market. In today’s social media environment, there is no way to protect the company 100 percent of the time from info leaks.

But having crisis mitigation strategies in place for when it might occur is necessary. On many occasions, it is the Customer Service personnel who have alerted Public Relations about “sneak peek” news first. It is also known that some PR strategists give first news of new products or offerings to the most loyal customers as a reward or to get feedback pre-release. The customer database and its metrics are used for selection of those customers.

Conclusion? Force Multiplier #5: Proactive monitoring of PR events and leaks, leverage customer feedback and customer data to facilitate customer loyalty.

For the whole story on OODA Loop and How to Use Social Media For Business download the white paper here.

Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
Ebook
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Let’s Connect here:
Twitter:
@drnatalie
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts

Enhanced by Zemanta
Share

How to Improve Customer Service by Dr. Natalie (Part 9) & Get Better Business Insights

Force Multiplier #4:  Less Missed Trends, More Cross-Department Input, More Business Insight And Foresight

For the whole story on how to use the OODA Loop as a unique way to use Social Media to improve Customer Service, download the white paper here. Or read on…  Social Media for Customer Service affects Marketing. to who owns the company’s social media presence. Studies show that Public Relations, Communications, Marketing, Customer Service and even Product Development will make claims to own this territory. It only makes sense to have alignment in the organization as to who will manage the various functions of social media, and create a common voice and governance rules over the communication policies.

Also, cross-functional training is required to have all departments understand each other’s role. For most companies this would be a first! From social Customer Service perspective, they are fundamentally looking for potential problems and solving them. But because Customer Service is the place that a company can learn about the real-time use of their products and offerings, it’s the best pace to suffer information that can be used in other departments like PR, Marketing, Product Development and even Billing. Sometimes customer’s contact customer service because their bill is confusing. If that information is conveyed to Billing, they can work on making the bill more understandable.

Perhaps an inordinate amount of customers are dissatisfied with the pricing of a product. That information can be shared with Marketing and Sales, especially if trends are developing. Because of the fast pace and ever-changing landscape of social media you can never have too many eyes watching for trends that may go unnoticed by busier internal groups. If Customer Service aggregates data from all communication channels to gives it to the various functional departments, they can provide the company with mission critical, competitive business insight.

Conclusion? Force Multiplier #4: Less missed trends, more cross-department input, more business insight and foresight

For the whole story on OODA Loop and How to Use Social Media For Business download the white paper here.

Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
Ebook
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Let’s Connect here:
Twitter:
@drnatalie
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts

Enhanced by Zemanta
Share

How to Improve Customer Service by Dr. Natalie (Part 8) & Reduce Churn & Increase Sales

Force Multiplier #3: Lessen Customer Churn, Lessen Lost Sales, Lessen Brand Damage

Customer Service Your Guide to Integrating Social Media to the Customer ExperienceFor the whole story on how to use the OODA Loop as a unique way to use Social Media to improve Customer Service, download the white paper here. Or read on… Everyone knows that a customer most likely will not buy from you if they are angry with you. So if customers are complaining about your product or service within social media and no one is available to address those complaints quickly, others will read the complaints. These complaints might be in the form of an online review, often on a third party site where you can’t take the content down. (Note: its generally not a good idea to take negative content down, even if its on your site and you could. Doing so makes the company look like they are trying to hide something and thus not being transparent or honest. If that happens, a firestorm of comments can result and be worse than the initial set of comments.

Just know that if you are a company in business, there is probably someone who has said something negative about you online. That’s going to happen. What matters is what you do with the comments. Best practices are to go and address customer’s issues. Say you are sorry they had an issue and ask them how you can help.

Some customer may have moved on and there is nothing you can do. Other’s will respond and at that point, take the interaction offline- to a phone call. Resolve the issue and you’ll see that customers are so completely caught off guard by a company being nice and doing the “right” thing, they will often go back and repost a comment about how they were wrong about the company and how great they really are. Now imagine your online posts. If you haven’t addressed them, sales will suffer. Customers will see the comments and not want to deal with you and look for products/solutions elsewhere—and even buy from another company. And what’s worse is your brand name could be damaged. In today’s real-time social media response environment, excellent Customer Service and rapid response to complaints is a huge differentiator over the competition.

For the whole story on OODA Loop and How to Use Social Media For Business download the white paper here.

Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
Ebook
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Let’s Connect here:
Twitter:
@drnatalie
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts

Enhanced by Zemanta
Share

How to Improve Customer Service by Dr. Natalie (Part 7) And Reduce Call Volume

Force Multiplier #2: Reduce The Impact Of Customer Service Call Volume Explosions By Utilizing Social Customer Service

Customer Service Your Guide to Integrating Social Media to the Customer ExperienceYour Customer Service organization is highly trained to interact with customers via all channels of communication and from a common knowledge base. Therefore, using Customer Service to oversee social media activity is not a stretch. For the whole story on how to use the OODA Loop as a unique way to use Social Media to improve Customer Service, download the white paper here. Or read on… In fact, in some companies, staff is already out there doing it. You’ll want to consider creating social media governance policies and social media Customer Service training required. Using a search engine, search on “social media policies” and you’ll see that hundreds of companies have put their social media policies online. This is a great resource for you and can provide you with a benchmark of what companies are actually doing.

The idea here is to leverage some of the highly skilled individuals from your existing Customer Service team to use social media to identify brewing service problems. Studies show that companies who use social customer service can head off an disaster that would have resulted in

Customer services

Customer services (Photo credit: gordon2208)

hundreds if not thousands of calls to the call center. It can be as easy as putting out a post in Twitter and/or on Facebook to say you know there’s an issue and you are working to resolve it. And companies also place links to solutions, where customers can go and get self-service or updates. What customers want to know is that you are paying attention and you have their back.

Conclusion? Adding social media is a natural extension of what customer service agents already do. Force Multiplier #2: reduce the impact of customer service call volume explosions by utilizing Social Customer Service.

For the whole story on OODA Loop and How to Use Social Media For Business download the white paper here.

Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
Ebook
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media

Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Let’s Connect here:
Twitter:
@drnatalie
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts

Enhanced by Zemanta
Share

How to Improve Customer Service by Dr. Natalie (Part 6) & Reduce Customer Service Costs

Force Multiplier #1: Use Social Customer Service To Reduce Customer Service Costs

Customer Service is in an “always on” state and is available to your customers.

Customer Service Your Guide to Integrating Social Media to the Customer ExperienceIn social media there is a ratio people who interact. That ratio is about 1% post, 10% interact and 90% who read. That ratio can vary depending on your type of company, the industry you are in and the type of products you sell. The main thing to know is that the ~1% or brand evangelist are already talking about your company online. They love your products and their hobby is often to know as much or more about your products than even some of your best thought leaders or engineers. They get street cred with their followers (the 10 and 90%) by being the “expert” and “go-to” resource in their field. For the whole story on how to use the OODA Loop as a unique way to use Social Media to improve Customer Service, download the white paper here. Or read on…

When the 1% engage them, they are more than happy to provide answers—and great answers—sometimes better answers than your own staff. Some companies are worried about interacting with evangelists because they might not give the right answers. In communities that are strategically set-up, the customers can vote on whether an answer actually helped them. When you have hundreds of people voting on an answer, you don’t have to worry about accuracy of the answers. The crowd tends to allow the right things to float to the top! Using brand advocates can help to reduce the calls to the contact center, provide better information for your knowledge bases and thereby make your agents smarter and able to handle questions faster.

For the whole story on OODA Loop and How to Use Social Media For Business download the white paper here.

Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
Ebook
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Let’s Connect here:
Twitter:
@drnatalie
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts

Enhanced by Zemanta
Share