Social Customer Care – Where Do We Go From Here?


Next week, I have the opportunity to chair a Social Customer Service Summit. Speakers will include one of the founding fathers of social care, Frank Eliason, as well as the always inspirational team from Zappos. In preparation for what is bound to be a lively discussion, our Ogilvy team has landed on a question that will certainly spark reflection by many of the participants—- “You’ve built a successful social care team, but what happens now?”

First, some background on how we arrived here.

In March of 1876, Alexander Graham Bell exclaimed in excitement, “Watson, come here! I want to see you!” And so, the world’s first practical telephone was invented. With the first ring, this brought a promise of a new means of communication, and an ability to collapse distance.  Now, flash forward to the present and think about the phrase “call center,” and make a quick word association. Does it trigger thoughts of “back office” or “cost-center?” I thought so…

As someone who has actually worn a call-center headset, I often wonder if the same fate will ultimately befall social. Will it become just another channel? Will customers dread interacting with a brand on Facebook as much as they do dealing with an automated phone system? I would suggest that the answer to that question is quite simple — “It’s up to us.”

Our approach to customer service is at a crossroads. Do we invest in true contact centers because we want to provide a better customer experience, or do we simply ramp up a new care team to quell social media fires? If you’ve already created a small squad of Ninja-Guru-Yoda-Crackerjack-Rockstar-Masters who have been trained on how to listen and respond in social media, then give yourself a pat on the back. In the words of one of theiridols, you’ve taken the first step into a much larger world. However, it’s now time to think about social care as part of a greater whole.

Here, the operative phrase is “Socialize the Enterprise”, coined by Social@Ogilvy’s, John Bell. It’s a powerful idea with major implications on aspects of business that might currently be untouched by social, specifically call-center operations and traditional care teams. While we’re certainly not advocating letting all your traditional frontline agents loose on Twitter without proper training, we are in favor of helping clients embrace social principles internally, wisely. For example, we think measuring the sentiment of your internal audience, namely call-center agents, about what’s working and what’s not in their daily interactions with customers is crucial to becoming more social, quickly and effectively.

Leer más “Social Customer Care – Where Do We Go From Here?”

The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter


http://blog.kissmetrics.com

For a company diving into Twitter for the first time, it can be a little intimidating. Where do you start? How do you get followers? How are you supposed to get customers? These are just a few of the questions that arise for businesses that are beginning their Twitter efforts.

In this post I’ll address some of these questions and give some advice for making sure you have an effective Twitter account. But before we begin, and just in case you don’t read anything beyond this point, please always remember this:

The key to remember with social media is that it’s about engagement.

It should not be looked at as a place to advertise your products. It should be looked at as a place to have meaningful conversations with people important to your business.

Ok. Are you ready to dive in? Let’s start by selecting a username!

Selecting Your Username

selecting twitter username

It’s crucial to use your real business name as your Twitter username. If your exact business name is taken, you can try to get something similar. A username that signals your location may be helpful. For example, if your business name is Widgets Inc and the widgetsinc username on Twitter is taken, you can try widgetsinc__ (home state initials).

Hyphens and underscores are always something to avoid, not just in Twitter usernames but also in domain names – it just looks unprofessional.

For example, some companies have multiple Twitter accounts. Zappos is a company that uses multiple Twitter accounts effectively. One is from the CEO, Tony Hsieh. The other is Zappos customer service Twitter account. They both serve different purposes. Hsieh occasionally tweets about the company or anything else he finds interesting. The Twitter Zappos customer service account handles all mentions on Twitter and uses Twitter as a platform to interact with current and prospective customers.

The Dell Outlet Twitter Account is run by Dell and sells refurbished computers. It is a great example of how multiple Twitter accounts can have a profound impact on a business.

Your Bio

twitter bio example

In the “bio” section of your Twitter account, you are limited to 160 characters. It’s important to not skim this part, as users with bios and a link have been shown to have more followers than those without. If you cannot explain what your business does in a couple of sentences, you may have to rethink what it is that you’re doing.

So explain what you do in your bio and the benefit of using your service or product. Here are a few I like: Leer más “The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter”

FLAWSOME

“human nature dictates that people have a hard time genuinely connectingwith, being close to, or really trusting other humans who (pretend to) have no weaknesses, flaws, or mistakes”

Consumers’ disillusionment at corporate behavior has (finally) spilled over into outright disgust. As a result, any brand that can show business in a new light will be (deservedly) welcomed with open arms.
Nearly 85% of consumers worldwide expect companies to become actively involved in promoting individual and collective wellbeing; an increase of 15% from 2010 (Source: Havas Media, November 2011).
Yet only 28% of people think that companies are working hard to solve the big social and environmental challenges (Source: Havas Media, November 2011).
Consumers are more and more aware that personality and profit can be compatible (think Zappos, Patagonia, Tom’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Michel et Augustin, Zalando and more). With every business that succeeds while remaining reasonable, helpful, fun or even somewhat ‘human’, consumers will become increasingly disenchanted when dealing with traditional, boring, impersonal brands.
Most people would not care if 70% of brands ceased to exist (Source: Havas Media, November 2011).
Online culture is the culture, and inflexible, bland ‘corporate’ façades jar with consumers who live online where communication is immediate, open and raw (also see MATURIALISM). What’s more, people openly broadcast and share their lives online – flaws and all – and thus brands are increasingly expected to do the same.
Last but not least: human nature dictates that people have a hard time genuinely connecting with, being close to, or really trusting other humans who (pretend to) have no weaknesses, flaws, or mistakes – don’t assume brands are any different.


FLAWSOME

FLAWSOME definition:

Consumers don’t expect brands to be flawless. In fact, consumers will embrace brands that are FLAWSOME*: brands that are still brilliant despite having flaws; even being flawed (and being open about it) can be awesome. Brands that show some empathy, generosity, humility, flexibility, maturity, humor, and (dare we say it) some character and humanity.

Two key drivers are fueling the FLAWSOME trend:

  • HUMAN BRANDS: Everything from disgust at business to the influence of online culture (with its honesty and immediacy), is driving consumers away from bland, boring brands in favor of brands with some personality.
  • TRANSPARENCY TRIUMPH: Consumers are benefiting from almost total and utter transparency (and thus are finding out about flaws anyway), as a result of the torrent of readily available reviews, leaks and ratings.

* Yup, FLAWSOME is by far our most cringeworthy trend name. But we bet you’ll remember it 😉

HUMAN BRANDS

FLAWSOME sits as part of a bigger trend towards HUMAN BRANDS, something that we’ve touched upon in many previous Trend Briefings: RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESSBRAND BUTLERSGENERATION G, and so on.

So, while HUMAN BRANDS might not be a ‘new’ theme, four currents are now converging to make consumers more focused on brand attitude and behavior than ever before:

“human nature dictates that people have a hard time genuinely connectingwith, being close to, or really trusting other humans who (pretend to) have no weaknesses, flaws, or mistakes”

  1. Consumers’ disillusionment at corporate behavior has (finally) spilled over into outright disgust. As a result, any brand that can show business in a new light will be (deservedly) welcomed with open arms.
    • Nearly 85% of consumers worldwide expect companies to become actively involved in promoting individual and collective wellbeing; an increase of 15% from 2010 (Source: Havas Media, November 2011).
    • Yet only 28% of people think that companies are working hard to solve the big social and environmental challenges (Source: Havas Media, November 2011).
  2. Consumers are more and more aware that personality and profit can be compatible (think Zappos, Patagonia, Tom’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Michel et Augustin, Zalandoand more). With every business that succeeds while remaining reasonable, helpful, fun or even somewhat ‘human’, consumers will become increasingly disenchanted when dealing with traditional, boring, impersonal brands.
    • Most people would not care if 70% of brands ceased to exist (Source: Havas Media, November 2011).
  3. Online culture is the culture, and inflexible, bland ‘corporate’ façades jar with consumers who live online where communication is immediate, open and raw (also see MATURIALISM). What’s more, people openly broadcast and share their lives online – flaws and all – and thus brands are increasingly expected to do the same.
  4. Last but not least: human nature dictates that people have a hard time genuinely connecting with, being close to, or really trusting other humans who (pretend to) have no weaknesses, flaws, or mistakes – don’t assume brands are any different. Leer más “FLAWSOME”

What Can You Learn from 7 Awesome Corporate Blogs?

A Quick Guide to Starting Your Own Corporate Blog

If the above blogs have inspired you to start your own corporate blog (or revamp your existing one), the tips below will get you going in the right direction.
Why Are You Blogging?

All the blogs featured above have clear-cut reasons for blogging, and the content they publish reflects that. There are a few different reasons businesses might blog, and some businesses blog for more than one reason. Figure out why you’re blogging so it can guide your decisions from here on out.
Set Goals

Before you get started, think about what you want to accomplish by blogging. Simply saying you want to blog because everyone else in your industry is doing it isn’t a good enough reason. You need to want something from your blogging efforts. Take a few minutes to write down your blogging goals, and then keep them in mind as your blog grows and evolves.
Blog Management

You’ll need someone to manage the technical end of things, as well as your content. If you don’t have designated IT people for managing your website, going with a hosted blogging service will save you a lot of headaches.

On the content end of things, it’s a good idea to designate one person as “editor“. That person should be responsible for making sure there’s content ready as scheduled, and that it’s been proofread and optimized for search engines. This can be one of your bloggers or someone else in the company.

It’s important to decide on the kinds of posts you’ll publish, and who’s responsible for writing posts. Have more than one person updating your blog, especially if you want to publish on a daily basis. Spreading the workload out lessens the chance that your bloggers will get burned out. You’ll also want to create some kind of guiding document for your bloggers, so they know what is and isn’t acceptable to post.


A winning corporate blog can bring new traffic to your website and added attention to your company. According to one study, businesses that blog get an average of 55% more traffic on their websites than those who don’t. It adds value to new and existing customers, and can make you stand out from your competitors. But how, exactly, does a business go about creating a blog that their customers will actually read?

Zappos.com CEO and COO Blog

zappos ceo coo blog
Zappos.com, the giant online shoe and apparel retailer, has a number of blogs. Some focus on their products and general company news, but one in particular stands out: the shared blog of their CEO and COO.

What sets this blog apart is the transparency it offers to Zappos.com customers. Internal emails, memos, and other corporate news are all shared. The fact that internal emails are copied in their entirety and shared with the general public is something a lot of corporations would scoff at. But it’s all about building trust. Zappos, for instance, recently posted an extensive internal email that marked the 1-year anniversary of their deal with Amazon, and included the original email they sent out when the deal with Amazon was announced.

If the public sees you as honest and straightforward, then they’re more likely to do business with you. It’s that simple.

Zappos.com also has another blog that’s noteworthy: Zappos Insights. It’s hosted on a separate domain, and includes tons of information about the way they do business and their corporate culture. They also offer information on outstanding company culture at other businesses. They have regular features on things like books they’re reading and fun posts like the Zappos Family Music Video. It’s aimed at other entrepreneurs and businesses, and has tons of valuable insider information on how to build a corporate culture as outstanding as what Zappos has.

The Takeaway

Transparency builds trust. If you want your customers to view your company as honest and straightforward, don’t be afraid to share internal documents and be as open as possible about what your company is doing. Having that information come from a higher-up within the company lends more credibility and gives it extra impact.

The Facebook Blog

the facebook blog
The Facebook Blog is clearly targeted at existing users. And when you have an active user base of more than 500 million people, it’s important to keep communication not just open, but streamlined. The blog serves as a perfect, unintrusive platform for keeping users updated on new features and important information.

The Facebook Blog is another great example of how having multiple employees posting can result in better, higher-quality content and a more consistent posting schedule. Included in the people who blog is Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. Having your CEO or other high-level executives blog when something important is being announced gives it more credibility in the eyes of customers.

The Takeaway

The Facebook Blog can teach us two things. First, when you have to communicate with huge numbers of people, a blog can be a great way to do so. Second, having a huge blogging team that includes employees from throughout your organization makes your blog much more engaging for users. Your CEO should be blogging, but so should your interns.

Lulu

lulu blog
Lulu takes a different approach to their blog. Rather than just promoting their company and their services, they offer valuable information to their customers and prospects related to self-publishing, the industry they serve. Sure, they also talk about their own products and services, and how to get the most from them, but it’s always with the customer in mind. You won’t find any regurgitated corporate press releases here.

When your customers are do-it-yourselfers or a similar demographic, providing information that empowers them to do what they do better, you become their go-to point for knowledge. When they have a question about something, they view you as an authority on the subject and turn to your blog for advice.

The Takeaway

Think about what your customers are doing, and how you can help them do it better. That should include not only how you can help them directly, but also how they can help themselves or get help from others who do things your business doesn’t. If you put the needs of your customers first, they’re more likely to respect your company and turn to you when they need something. Leer más “What Can You Learn from 7 Awesome Corporate Blogs?”

What Can You Learn from 7 Awesome Corporate Blogs?

A winning corporate blog can bring new traffic to your website and added attention to your company. According to one study, businesses that blog get an average of 55% more traffic on their websites than those who don’t. It adds value to new and existing customers, and can make you stand out from your competitors. But how, exactly, does a business go about creating a blog that their customers will actually read?
Zappos.com CEO and COO Blog

zappos ceo coo blog
Zappos.com, the giant online shoe and apparel retailer, has a number of blogs. Some focus on their products and general company news, but one in particular stands out: the shared blog of their CEO and COO.

What sets this blog apart is the transparency it offers to Zappos.com customers. Internal emails, memos, and other corporate news are all shared. The fact that internal emails are copied in their entirety and shared with the general public is something a lot of corporations would scoff at. But it’s all about building trust. Zappos, for instance, recently posted an extensive internal email that marked the 1-year anniversary of their deal with Amazon, and included the original email they sent out when the deal with Amazon was announced.

If the public sees you as honest and straightforward, then they’re more likely to do business with you. It’s that simple.

Zappos.com also has another blog that’s noteworthy: Zappos Insights. It’s hosted on a separate domain, and includes tons of information about the way they do business and their corporate culture. They also offer information on outstanding company culture at other businesses. They have regular features on things like books they’re reading and fun posts like the Zappos Family Music Video. It’s aimed at other entrepreneurs and businesses, and has tons of valuable insider information on how to build a corporate culture as outstanding as what Zappos has.
The Takeaway

Transparency builds trust. If you want your customers to view your company as honest and straightforward, don’t be afraid to share internal documents and be as open as possible about what your company is doing. Having that information come from a higher-up within the company lends more credibility and gives it extra impact.
The Facebook Blog

the facebook blog
The Facebook Blog is clearly targeted at existing users. And when you have an active user base of more than 500 million people, it’s important to keep communication not just open, but streamlined. The blog serves as a perfect, unintrusive platform for keeping users updated on new features and important information.

The Facebook Blog is another great example of how having multiple employees posting can result in better, higher-quality content and a more consistent posting schedule. Included in the people who blog is Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. Having your CEO or other high-level executives blog when something important is being announced gives it more credibility in the eyes of customers.
The Takeaway

The Facebook Blog can teach us two things. First, when you have to communicate with huge numbers of people, a blog can be a great way to do so. Second, having a huge blogging team that includes employees from throughout your organization makes your blog much more engaging for users. Your CEO should be blogging, but so should your interns.
Lulu

lulu blog
Lulu takes a different approach to their blog. Rather than just promoting their company and their services, they offer valuable information to their customers and prospects related to self-publishing, the industry they serve. Sure, they also talk about their own products and services, and how to get the most from them, but it’s always with the customer in mind. You won’t find any regurgitated corporate press releases here.

When your customers are do-it-yourselfers or a similar demographic, providing information that empowers them to do what they do better, you become their go-to point for knowledge. When they have a question about something, they view you as an authority on the subject and turn to your blog for advice.
The Takeaway

Think about what your customers are doing, and how you can help them do it better. That should include not only how you can help them directly, but also how they can help themselves or get help from others who do things your business doesn’t. If you put the needs of your customers first, they’re more likely to respect your company and turn to you when they need something.


7 Awesome Blog Ideas

A winning corporate blog can bring new traffic to your website and added attention to your company. According to one study, businesses that blog get an average of 55% more traffic on their websites than those who don’t. It adds value to new and existing customers, and can make you stand out from your competitors. But how, exactly, does a business go about creating a blog that their customers will actually read?

Zappos.com CEO and COO Blog

zappos ceo coo blog
Zappos.com, the giant online shoe and apparel retailer, has a number of blogs. Some focus on their products and general company news, but one in particular stands out: the shared blog of their CEO and COO.

What sets this blog apart is the transparency it offers to Zappos.com customers. Internal emails, memos, and other corporate news are all shared. The fact that internal emails are copied in their entirety and shared with the general public is something a lot of corporations would scoff at. But it’s all about building trust. Zappos, for instance, recently posted an extensive internal email that marked the 1-year anniversary of their deal with Amazon, and included the original email they sent out when the deal with Amazon was announced.

If the public sees you as honest and straightforward, then they’re more likely to do business with you. It’s that simple.

Zappos.com also has another blog that’s noteworthy: Zappos Insights. It’s hosted on a separate domain, and includes tons of information about the way they do business and their corporate culture. They also offer information on outstanding company culture at other businesses. They have regular features on things like books they’re reading and fun posts like the Zappos Family Music Video. It’s aimed at other entrepreneurs and businesses, and has tons of valuable insider information on how to build a corporate culture as outstanding as what Zappos has.

The Takeaway

Transparency builds trust. If you want your customers to view your company as honest and straightforward, don’t be afraid to share internal documents and be as open as possible about what your company is doing. Having that information come from a higher-up within the company lends more credibility and gives it extra impact.

The Facebook Blog

the facebook blog
The Facebook Blog is clearly targeted at existing users. And when you have an active user base of more than 500 million people, it’s important to keep communication not just open, but streamlined. The blog serves as a perfect, unintrusive platform for keeping users updated on new features and important information.

The Facebook Blog is another great example of how having multiple employees posting can result in better, higher-quality content and a more consistent posting schedule. Included in the people who blog is Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. Having your CEO or other high-level executives blog when something important is being announced gives it more credibility in the eyes of customers.

The Takeaway

The Facebook Blog can teach us two things. First, when you have to communicate with huge numbers of people, a blog can be a great way to do so. Second, having a huge blogging team that includes employees from throughout your organization makes your blog much more engaging for users. Your CEO should be blogging, but so should your interns.

Lulu

lulu blog
Lulu takes a different approach to their blog. Rather than just promoting their company and their services, they offer valuable information to their customers and prospects related to self-publishing, the industry they serve. Sure, they also talk about their own products and services, and how to get the most from them, but it’s always with the customer in mind. You won’t find any regurgitated corporate press releases here.

When your customers are do-it-yourselfers or a similar demographic, providing information that empowers them to do what they do better, you become their go-to point for knowledge. When they have a question about something, they view you as an authority on the subject and turn to your blog for advice.

The Takeaway

Think about what your customers are doing, and how you can help them do it better. That should include not only how you can help them directly, but also how they can help themselves or get help from others who do things your business doesn’t. If you put the needs of your customers first, they’re more likely to respect your company and turn to you when they need something. Leer más “What Can You Learn from 7 Awesome Corporate Blogs?”

Why brands need fan action, not fan acquisition

The reason a brand builds a social community is to provide a fair exchange of value. The company offers something meaningful whether it’s product, service or cause related, and that generates goodwill and loyalty that effectively puts the community to work for the brand through word of mouth advertising. Yet if a brand is simply rushing to hit a “magic number” and has no intention of genuinely engaging with their community, that’s what consumers will share with their friends and peers doing more harm than good.

Social media is not a numbers game. It’s a relationships game. If you’re not interested in your community, they won’t be interested in you. So work out what’s meaningful to your brand and share it with your community. What consumers want is an emotional connection. Once they get that, they’ll build a community for you.

Do you think most brands are building communities the right way? Of are they simply managing perceptions?


Simon Mainwaring | http://www.chaordix.com/blog/2010/10/04/why-brands-need-fan-action-not-fan-acquisition/

Originally posted at SimonMainwaring.com.   Follow Simon on twitter

As more brands embrace social media as a marketing strategy, many are racing to establish a sizable social footprint. For their marketers, that translates to creative briefs like, “How can you get me to a million Facebook fans fast?’ or “What bots can I use to fast-track my followers on twitter?” This inevitably begs the question: “What good are a million Facebook fans if they are not engaged and won’t do anything for the brand?’

Brands must work to inspire fan action, not merely seek fan acquisition. A thousand fans that share the same core values, that find a brand’s communications meaningful and that are willing to do, say or buy something for the brand are far more valuable than one hundred thousand passive members. In fact, if a brand is only after numbers, they are not only wasting their marketing dollars but the dynamics of social media will work against them. Consumers now look to brands for transparency, authenticity and accountability . That means a brand must show genuine interest in their community as Zappos, Ford, Dell, Nike, Pepsi, Old Spice and Starbucks have done. If they treat Facebook as yet another broadcast medium and twitter like direct mail, the only thing they will demonstrate is their total lack of understanding of social media dynamics. Leer más “Why brands need fan action, not fan acquisition”

Prepare for the unexpected

Imagine that you are a pilot and you have to fly through a 5 mile canyon upside down. It’s actually kind of hard to imagine because it’s not something you’re trained to do but it’s something that could happen in a real life situation. It’s a scenario that’s outside your direct experience, you find it hard to accept it as possible and even worse adapting to it.

Now think about it this way:

What if businesses were judged on their ability to create ‘happiness for customers’? What if all those like buttons had less to do with becoming a fan and more to do with specific actions an organization took to actually make a customer happy? What if you hired people based on how happy they’ll make your customers? What if there were a ‘customer happiness index’ dashboard (Tweetdeck) and we’d all have access to it just like the stock market? What if businesses were penalized for wasting people’s time?


A smiley by Pumbaa, drawn using a text editor.

Imagine that you are a pilot and you have to fly through a 5 mile canyon upside down. It’s actually kind of hard to imagine because it’s not something you’re trained to do but it’s something that could happen in a real life situation. It’s a scenario that’s outside your direct experience, you find it hard to accept it as possible and even worse adapting to it.

Now think about it this way:

What if businesses were judged on their ability to create ‘happiness for customers’? What if all those like buttons had less to do with becoming a fan and more to do with specific actions an organization took to actually make a customer happy? What if you hired people based on how happy they’ll make your customers? What  if there were a ‘customer happiness index’ dashboard (Tweetdeck) and we’d all have access to it just like the stock market? What if businesses were penalized for wasting people’s time?

Imagine how every business would behave. Leer más “Prepare for the unexpected”