Creating An ROI For Human Capital And Organizational Change Projects: Part 2

I was working at a company and asked to do several things. First was to recruit 100 engineers. That may not seem like a lot, but for every 100 people, we interviewed we had 1 person accept. So it took interviewing 1000 people to obtain 100 engineers. Part of that was because we were looking for a specific type of engineer – digital signal processing engineers. The company I worked for had gone through a series of hiring and layoff cycles, so they weren’t completely trusted by the local community as being a stable place to work. Many of those types of engineers had left southern California to go to northern California to pursue work – and for larger salaries and more stable positions.

Examining What Was Important to The Employees Was the Key

We had lost a large number of engineers and some accounts were in trouble. So the need to recruit quickly was key. Normally it could take us 3- 6 months to recruit these type of engineers. I had been given a month. So I stepped up to the challenge. I thought, what would I want to experience to determine if I wanted to work for this company? I would want to hear from the leadership that they were dedicated to doing things differently. I would want to know that there were exciting career options in various categories and I would want to feel, touch and see the advanced technologies I would be getting a chance to work with and enhance my skill set so I would be more marketable in the future, both inside the company as well as if I decided to leave. I would want to get to talk to potential colleagues and potential bosses. I would want to get a sense of the culture and the environment I would be working in. And I’d like to meet people who were seeking the same or similar positions to what I was seeking – who would be these new people on-boarding with me?

The Answer? A Career Day With a Special Invite to Top Candidates

What I proposed was a career day. We took out an ad in the LA Times, inviting the best of the best to apply to our company and upon invitation, they would be invited to come to the career day, hear from our leadership about our company and their future there, be interviewed by direct hiring managers for our 5 major divisions as well as tour booths staffed by some of our top engineers and business folks. In the booths, we demonstrated our “cool” technology – at least that which was not classified as top secret.

To pull this day off, I worked with our graphics department to create amazing ads, colorful booth content, onsite brochures and the personal invites sent to those that had sent in resumes and qualified to participate in the career day.

The Launch of the Career Fair

The day started with a group of engineers who began their career day journey with us by hearing from our top leadership. Then they got to tour 5 divisions, each with several booths where the top technology was being demonstrated. We tried our best to come up with really interesting, real-life demos that potential employees could get to touch and feel the technology = actually experience it. Then they were invited to interview with a hiring manager there on site. The hiring managers were given the ability to hire people on the spot (something we’d never done before.)

The Reaction of the Interviewees Was Fantastic

What was interesting was the feedback we collected on video as the employees left the career day. Most of them, after interviewing wanted to go back and hang-out in the tech booths or listen to more talks from our leadership. They commented that it was the best interviewing process they had ever experienced. What was even more gratifying was that the day not only had a positive effect on the interviews but also on the employees who helped put the day together. I had not seen the employees shine so brightly in a long time. It was clear they had a new found sense of pride in the work they were doing as well as for the company. We even captured their feedback on the video and put a compilation video together. Why the video? To help demonstrate the ROI.

Examining the ROI for the Career Day

The cost to develop the day and put it on was about $1,00,000, including the a portion of the salary of all people who participated in the project for various amounts of time, the graphics, the ads in the LA Times, the billboards off the 405 freeway, the booths, tanks we had onsite as part of the booths, etc… When we looked at the cost of recruiting one engineer in our typical process. HR had calculated that to be about $150,000. To obtain 100 engineers we would have had to interview 1,000 people at a cost of $150,000 and that would be equal to $15M. Most people would have considered those soft costs. But they still cost the company time and money. In this new process of interviewing, it cost about $2M. We were able to interview and hire over 100 engineers. The ROI?

$15M – $2M / $2M x 100 = 650%.

(Benefit of saving the regular cost of interviewing – Cost of the new interviewing process / Cost of the new interviewing process x 100 = ROI %.

What I Found Surprising

It wasn’t just that we were able to recruit so many great people quickly. Another aspect of this process was that we actually interviewed our own employees who staffed the event and created all the content to make it amazing. What they said on camera was they were truly proud of the place they worked. They felt a sense of pride they had not in years. I what I learned was that by engaging our own employees, making them part of the recruiting process in this event, it changed their attitude towards the company and their work. So not only were we able to hire all the engineers we needed, but we had boosted the internal company morale! It was a very exciting day for everyone. Something I will proud of for years to come!

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP, Innovation and Transformation Expeditions, Salesforce

 

 

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Guest Post: How Cloud-Based Predictive Analytics Gives Companies a Competitive Marketing Advantage

Monitoring and fine-tuning analytics are becoming essential to stay competitive in today’s marketplace. Case in point: Business intelligence analytics software sales will reach $18.3 billion in 2017, a 7.3 percent increase from last year, Gartner projects.

By 2020, the market will be worth $22.8 billion and analytics will be mainstream, Gartner forecasts. This means your competitors will be using analytics. Here’s how getting on board with cloud-based predictive analytics now can help you gain a lead on the competition and increase your bottom line.

Optimize Your Marketing

A great advantage of analytics software is that it gives you the ability to objectively measure the effectiveness of your marketing by tracking key performance indicators, explains Silvon Software director Pat Hennel. Some KPIs you can easily track include:

  • Sales revenue
  • Cost per lead acquisition
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Online marketing ROI

Tracking KPIs enables you to see which of your marketing campaigns are generating the best return on investment so that you can reallocate resources to those efforts rather than non-performing ones.

Similarly, you can identify which marketing channels are yielding the best results so you can focus on those media. You can also see which demographics represent your best customers to emphasize those target markets and gear your sales themes toward benefits that will appeal to them.

Refocus Your Sales Efforts

Another benefit of cloud-based analytics tools is the ability to combine them with customer relationship software to better leverage your sales efforts. By analyzing your organization’s lead database, you can better identify which prospects are qualified leads in order to deploy your sales reps accordingly. From there, you can identify which prospects are furthest along in the sales cycle and more likely to convert into a sale.

You can also analyze customer sales history to identify which customers represent your biggest revenue sources and best repeat buyers. You can then prioritize these customers and develop sales strategies specifically geared toward them.

Personalize Your Sales Presentations

Combining cloud-based predictive analytics with CRM tools can also help you personalize your sales presentations to make them more persuasive to individual customers. In fact, you can review a customer’s history of past purchases to see what types of products and services they prefer.

For example, Amazon displays offers based on what the customer has previously browsed or purchased and what types of products have been purchased by other people who browsed or purchased the same items.

You can also study individual purchase patterns to identify their shopping style and what types of factors influenced their previous buying decisions. For instance, one customer might be more likely to respond to a certain type of added-value benefit, while another might be more likely to respond to a lower price. You can then supply this information to your sales representatives so they have a better idea how to appeal to that particular customer.

Increase Customer Satisfaction with Superior Service

Cloud-based analytics can also enhance your sales and marketing efforts by allowing you to track the performance of your customer service teams, which is key in achieving repeat business and referrals. Cloud-based contact center platforms, including Aspect Zipwire, let you track your customer service performance across multiple channels (e.g., phone, email, online chat and more), giving you a comprehensive perspective so you can make any necessary adjustments and improvements.

To track your customer service performance, you can then set up KPIs. Customer performance KPIs you can track include overall satisfaction, the number of resolved issues, average resolution time and complaint escalation rate.

 

About the Author

Roy Rasmussen, coauthor of Publishing for Publicity, is a freelance writer who helps select clients write quality content to reach business and technology audiences. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies and bestselling authors. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing, and career planning.

 

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Is Organizational Change Management Just the “Fluffy Stuff” or Is There Real Business Value?

Is OCM and CC Kumbaya?

When I first lead organizational change management (OCM) and culture change (CC), it was at previous high tech company; a company made up of mainly engineers. When the topic was first announced as part of our integrated product developed process (a.k.a. teaming) it was labelled very quickly as “apple pie and motherhood.” Many thought we were going to sing Kumbaya or I was going to bring cake and cookies to meetings. What I learned was framing what the results could be and by providing individuals, teams and organizations, with tangible results, I found being outcomes-driven was the missing key. How so?

Outcomes-based Driven Values

When I framed OCM and CC in terms of outcomes and business value, I asked questions like, “Would you like it if everyone showed up to your meetings? On time? With the action items completed? With a proactive attitude vs “not invented here or we don’t do that – that way here” attitude…  Get a high rate of return on projects- projects on time, within budget and scope, high customer satisfaction…? Of course the answer was a resounding “YES.” The employees were craving answers to these issues that plagued the organization. And no one knew how to fix these issues. They just persisted. People stopped taking deadlines seriously. They expected project scope to creep. Budget overruns were somewhat typical.

WIIFM?

When I was able to explain the value of the outcomes of OCM and CC to them personally and their teams- the WIIFM (What’s in It For Me), they became extremely interested as the cultured suffered from too many meetings, people always in meetings so they never had time to do their action items; a passive-aggressive culture- so instead of coming to the meeting (without the action items completed and saying they didn’t have time and figuring out how to change something so they did have time) they just wouldn’t show up… And in that company – one team’s action items directly impacted another. For instance, if team 1 didn’t finish their action items teams 2, 3, 4… couldn’t do theirs… and the project fell behind, out of scope, over budget… It was a horrible domino affect that one one really knew how to fix. Giving orders that projects needs to be on-time, within budget and on scope didn’t really lead to change. It just lead to frustration because there were reasons why those things were happening, but giving an order that they needed to be done didn’t fix the root cause. So nothing changed.

What I learned about Leading Change

What I learned was when I presented OCM and CC in terms of outcomes – employees and leaders were very interested. I learned when I first presented OCM and CC without the business outcomes, it resulted in #fail. Then, I pivoted and iterated to an outcomes driven aproached, related to WIIFM and it resulted in #success… Net-net? Choosing a few key behaviors’ that help people work better together in a way that supports desired organizational outcomes, gets people on board…

What 20 years of leading change has taught me is that it’s all about framing CC and OCM in a way that people can relate to. Unfortunately a lot of CC or OCM got a bad rap as the fluffy stuff. But I have spent a great deal of my career over the last 20 years writing ROI (return on investment) models for the “fluffy stuff.” And I can tell you, it’s not fluffy… it impacts the bottomline…  

OCM and CC Tools and Methodology Are Key to Successfully Transitioning From The “Fluffy Stuff” To Concrete Business Results

And of course having a methodology and tools that help teams and people make those changes… takes it out of the “fluffy stuff” and into the business realm. OCM and CC is so much more, but people don’t know, what they don’t know… so it’s key to have a concrete methodology so it’s taken seriously and it can add business value to teams and our customers. More on that in future posts.

@drnatalie

Natalie Petouhoff

VP, Program Executive, ITC | Salesforce.com

 

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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

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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.

 

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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.

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New Report: ROI Of Customer Service & Customer Experience

This report looks at how companies, using the right software, can gain ROI from Customer Service and Customer Experience. Customer Care as a cost center is an unfounded paradigm. In fact, executives have long thought of customer service or customer care as a cost center. However, this paradigm is and has always been false. Executives and managers know their businesses thrive on happy, satisfied customers and they understand the value of great customer service and customer experiences.  This paper looks at the paradigm of “customer care as a cost center” and shows that it is false. It also focuses on the areas of a business that can not only help the business reduce costs, but can generate more revenue when agile customer care solutions are used. This research is based on in-depth customer interviews and field research.

Incorrect Assumptions Lead Executives to Believe Customer Service Is a Cost Center 
There are a number of ways in which poor customer care can cost the organization. Unfortunately, executives who believe customer service is a cost center fail to understand the increase in expenses that arises from poorly implemented and costly customer service solutions. Some of the implications of poorly implemented customer care are:  
  • Deficiencies in achieving First Contact Resolution (FCR) 
  • Increases in Average Handle Time (AHT) for phone, email, chat and social media  
  • Inefficiencies in self-service, call deflection, agent-assisted related support costs and knowledge base capabilities  
  • Requirements to add staff to handle more customer calls or call spikes
  • Insufficiencies in shopping cart or in-game customer service capabilities
  • Failures in using customer feedback to improve processes or products.

Agile Customer Care Delivers High Return on Investment

If companies deploy customer care systems that are agile, then will receive many benefits. These include:

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Recommendations and the Bottom Line: Agile Customer Care Delivers ROI 
Companies looking to reduce their customer service costs should look to agile customer care solutions. Savings can be found from increasing FCR and self-service as well as decreasing average handle time. In addition, if the solution is used proactively by the organization, it can help with process improvements, product improvements and even lead to revenue generation. Companies contemplating an agile customer care solution should consider the following three steps:  Review current costs of running the contact and customer care center. Look at critical metrics like FCR, AHT, as well as the opportunity to generate revenue, improve marketing and enhance employee engagement. 
 
Compare current costs of a traditional customer care solution with the costs and benefits of an agile customer care solution. You want to write a requirements definition document that will specify what your use cases are, explain what pain points you want the software to solve and then write an RFI (request for information) and or follow up with an RFP (request for proposal). 
 Build a business case and a return on the investment model to show the value of switching to an agile customer care solution. As you interview vendors, make sure that they answer all your questions and you understand how the software will solve your business issues.
It’s time the paradigm that customer care is a cost-center be done with. It’s only a cost center if the software is difficult to use, poorly implemented, isn’t agile, requires a lot of training… If you are not getting the benefits and turning your contact center into a profit center, you’ll want to download the rest of the report here.
@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Customer-Facing Applications that Deliver Awesome Customer Experiences
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New Report: The ROI Of Agile Customer Care: Reduce Training and Easy To Add Channels

The word “agile” has been part of may conversations when it comes to software. This new report looks at the importance of agile customer care. What exactly does agile customer care and agile customer experience mean?

Traditional Customer Care Solutions Require Resources from IT and Result in Low Agent Productivity and ROI

The costs for customer service, customer care or customer experience often come in when a company wants to add a channel, say email or chat or mobile. Often times, depending on the technology stack they already have, there is a lot of code that has been written to add something new – i.e., it requires that a major pow wow of IT, customer care, business leaders, etc..  to all get in a room and meet and discuss the benefits, risks and timeline of adding a new channel. that timeline could be weeks or months.

Often adding that new channel means that the code that has already be written in the customer service software has to be adjusted. This often means IT has to get involved and this change to the code needs to be added to IT’s agenda of an already long list of “asks” from the business as well as what IT is already tasked with (maintenance, system upgrades, compliance, security, etc…) Perhaps we are unrealistic and have always been unrealistic to expect that IT can and should handle everything IT specific as well as all of the needs of the business. Maybe IT should be split into two different departments, one focused on purely IT issues and the other being the IT business liaison?

Agile Customer Care Results in High ROI and Less Stressed, More Engaged Employees 

In our research we found several areas that contributed to ROI:

  1. Lower costs of implementation and maintenance of SaaS customer care and customer experience and
  2. Better customer care technology leads to improved employee/agent experience and customer experiences

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So agile customer care or customer experience software allows a company to add a channel very easily without affecting the code or requiring months and months of writing new code so the addition to the system doesn’t mess up what is already there.

In addition, when agile customer care is implemented, it is often so simple that customer service agents don’t need training. The use of the software is very intuitive. Agents are one, if not the most expensive re-occuring expense in a contact center. So anything that can reduce costs associated with customer service agents (without negatively affecting the service they provide) is extremely important.

It’s also important to look at the stress put on agents to learn new technology. Generally agile technology is more easily adapted because it is so much easy to use. Blame it on the consumerization of IT (CoIT) if you want, but people expect the technology they use to get their job done to be as easy as using a search engine like Google or Bing. (They forget that those types of softwares only have one function – to be a search engine and the software we use to service customers is far more complicated… Nonetheless, people still expect easy to use GUI interfaces that are intuitive. That you’ll only find in agile software. It was designed with the user in mind!
MY POV: Choose agile first. A company can’t be agile if the systems, infrastructure and technology it is using are not agile – meaning that they can’t be changed, added to or modified quickly, on the fly, without waiting in line for the IT department. IT should be supporting the business, customer care and customer experience by choosing agile solutions that allow for quick additions of new channels, workflows, fields and features. Agile should be part of the strategy, part of the process, part of the technology, and part of the culture. 

Design customer service into the customer experience, making sure that the complete customer journey includes an exceedingly better customer service experience. Because customer service needs to happen right where the customer is, it is key to use embeddable customer service tools, especially when it comes to mobile customer care. The key is to make the service experience more effortless.

All customer conversations (social, chat, email, messenger, Facebook, Twitter) should funnel into one place so nothing or no one is left behind. Help customers help themselves by providing amazing, agile self-service capabilities, with one customer portal and knowledge management base.

For more information you can download a courtesy copy of the report here.

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-Facing Application that Make Awesome Customer Experiences

 

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ROI of Online Cloud Communities

I remember back in 2008-2009 being asked whether social / digital / communities had any business value. To me it was instinctively obvious, but I got that it was not obvious to others. In wanting others to see what I saw, I started down the road of creating ROI models for digital / social / online communities. Now many years later, I am hearing the same question so I revisited the topic in some new research, ROI of Online Cloud Communities. This report goes above and beyond what that early research I did discovered. Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 12.08.35 PM

I have interviewed at least 100 companies over the years and the stories all have had similar threads. While the actual use case might not have been exactly the same, they all had one similar component. That component? It was that there was a new level of open, honest, genuine and authentic communication. And note, ROI of online communities is NOT limited to customer service. That’s old news.

I remember reading about the predictions in the Cluetrain Manifesto. If you have not read that book, it is a must read. It was written in 1999-2000 time frame. It predicted where we are today in this digital / social / community oriented world. The ROI comes from better communication between all levels of employees, customers, partners – pretty much any stakeholder in a company and it’s customers. Whether B2B or B2C, B2B2C or whatever the business model is, what is true is those companies that are digitally enabled are more successful.

Percentage of Profit Rays BookFrom Ray Wang’s book, Disrupting Digital Business By Ray Wang, the figure about shows it’s clear that digital leaders have more of the overall marketshare and percentage of profits. Why is that? Think about customers talking to companies and giving honest feedback that helps:

  • Improve products and services and even helps the company innovate
  • Reduces unnecessary steps or processes
  • Helps executives understand what the trends are not only with their company but with others and provides that mission critical insight…

In the report, you will find 6 general areas that online communities can contribute to the two things that are very important to business – either reducing costs or increasing revenue. You can download the excerpt and learn more about what I discovered.

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If you have built a community or are a community manager and have seen similar results, I’d love to hear more about them! Maybe even make it into our case study library! (And don’t forget Constellation’s SuperNova Awards for 2016!!) If you’ve done something extraordinary, I’d love to hear about it and include it in my research. There will be info on how to apply to the 2016 SuperNova Awards soon!

May you find yourself building a community — if not now, soon! Those that have can attest to the amazing value it brings to a company. And not just in soft benefits- there are many, many that I put into the ROI model that are tangible, bottom and top-line business benefits.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-facing applications and their business results!

 

 

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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?

@DrNatalie

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.

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#LiNC15 Conference Highlights – Customer Experience Rules the World

Customer Experience is ruling the world. At least parts of it. The conference began with Lithium’s CEO Rob Tarkoff talking about customer expectations. Today’s customers have extreme expectations and that brands are struggling to keep pace with new ways of marketing, bigger stakeholder voices, an explosion of consumer content across every dimension of the web and competition from new (and sometimes unlikely) places. What we don’t always discuss is the right approach to address those expectations and close the brand-customer divide. Using a total community approach can do that—restoring trust between brands and people, helping everyone share better experiences and offering powerful economic rewards.

Customer Experience From Brands

We then heard from radically different brands and how they are embracing digital to exceed customer expectations, create new market opportunities and transform their business. Senior executives from Brooks Running, Comcast, Google and Sky shared their approach to digital, business outcomes and their aspirations for the future. These four companies, digital disruptors, are achieving success and leading their industries into a new era of customer experience.

Business Results

The breakout sessions were wonderful. As an ROI gal, I went to the one on Results. If you’re still focused on clicks and likes, you’re leaving money on the table. Total Community drives revenue. Several top brands talked about how they are using social to recognize purchasing cues, route sales leads and other activities that contribute to your company’s top-line. That’s Total Community approach to achieve business objectives. These brands and their leaders included: Tim Lopez, Symantec, Jared Schultheis, Comcast, Lois Townsend, Autodesk,  Gregg Baker, giffgaff, Nico Henderijckx, Sony Europe, Catherine Kaiser, ‎Webroot and Jared Young, Barclaycard US.

Salman Khan, Khan Academy

And the day ended with a wonderful look into the future of education. Khan Academy is “providing free, high-quality education” to millions of students all over the world, each with their own unique story, learning at their own pace on Khan Academy every day. Sal and the Khan Academy take “Share the experience” to a global level. We heard the incredible story of Khan Academy’s evolution from his tutoring of a cousin using online videos, to a global community of teachers, students and parents, volunteers and donors who passionately believe in inspiring the world to learn.

Are you focused on the customer experience? If not, what are you waiting for? Are you focusing on doing good in the world? It’s about we, not me… Focus on a cause…. your life will change for the better!

@drnatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Deliver Great Customer Experiences

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