Overview: As more and more customers are using social media to interact — or worse yet to trash a brand because of poor customer service interactions — customer service professionals need to understand how best to lead and deploy social media for their department as well as their firm.
In building the ROI model for customer service social media, I talked with 20 companies that have deployed social media and the result was five best practices. While there are many things to consider, these best practices provide a framework to begin engaging customers in social media, to determine an ROI and transform the customer experience.
Agenda: Forrester's interviews with savvy executives found that smart companies use five emerging best practices:
As consumers are rapidly adopting social media to voice their disdain about companies, many of my clients are wondering how best to harness the power of the "cloud" to transform those customer experiences. In developing the ROI of Customer Service Social Media, I interviewed a lot of end-user companies. I used that information to look for trends for benefits, costs and risks.
While at the Forrester IT Forum this past spring, I was invited by Tony and Alfred to visit Zappos.com. I was intrigued about what I had heard about this company. Could it be actually true that even the receptionist understood what customer lifetime value (CLTV) meant?
Zappos.com was known for their extreme customer service... but was the whole culture really like that? And if so, how did that work? I had enjoyed the tweets I'd seen of the nearly 400 Zappos.com employees on twitter- they seemed authentic, genuine... Zappos had built its business through developing relationships, creating personal, emotional connections and delivering high touch (WOW) customer service.
I reached out to Tony via Twitter and let him know I would be in Las Vegas.
I've had a number of interesting debates on who should lead the customer social media interaction in the last few weeks. In part, this question comes up because a great deal of social media was initiated in the Marketing department via listening or brand sentiment programs. What we do know is that all departments benefit- marketing, sales, service, product dev, engineering from the voice of the customer information that results from deploying social media.
And while I know that not everyone will agree, after studying all the various departments that could lead social media, I'm still convinced customer service should lead the customer social media interaction.
If you follow me on Twitter (@drnatalie) you have seen the on going conversation around whether Social CRM and Customer Service actually exists or if it is a fantasy.
Paul Greenberg has put his final stake in the ground on defining what Social CRM means- You can read more on the post that drove a huge discussion.The debate centers around alot of things - whether CRM is a strategy, a process, a technology. At the end of the day, most agree that its an all inclusive way of building relationships with your customers. Bill Band, Vice President and Principle Analyst at Forrester, has written about Social CRM in his ever popular doc CRM 2.0: Fantasy or Reality?
There's a lot of buzz right now surrounding social media, Twitter, Web 2.0 — and whether there is any business value. My gut said there was... but having a Ph. D. in engineering, I knew that hypothesis needed to stand-up to testing. I began talking to customers, the brave souls who have ventured down the social media path, about what they were observing. None had calculated an ROI, but they could share with me their observations — their benefits, their costs and the risks. I looked for trends.
From my inquiries with customer service professionals, I wanted to get a generalized view of where companies are with respect to implementing the very best of customer service initiatives. It's become pretty clear that most are stuggling with outdated technology, systems that are not integrated together, outdated or no knowledge management technology systems, they haven't deployed proactive chat or ventured down the social media path and are unsure of how to document how much these factors are increasing operational costs, reducing customer lifetime value and lowering sales, revenue and profit margins-- or how to make the business case to show that if these types of things were changed-- that the return would be positive and in many cases, very large.
On the flip side, their organizations are expecting them to provide great customer experience despite these huge handicaps.
In covering Customer Service, I have divided the topic into three aspects:
“Get the Basics Right”
“Understand the Business of Customer Service"
“Plan for the Future of Customer Service.”
I just published a document, “How To Win Funding For Your Customer Service Project." Forrester suggests to standardize the process and template for a business case. We use the discipline Total Economic Impact™ to calculate the ROI for an initiative. I’m hearing from a lot of my clients that in order to get their project approved, they need to justify it.
Today I had an inquiry call from a vendor that wanted to know how best to standardize the business justification process. They are finding that they can’t even get a meeting, or if they do, then one of the first sales objections of their clients is, “What is the ROI of this solution?"