Case Study #2: How Lenovo Implemented Customer Service Social Media Best Practices

The Second Case Study on Customer Service Social Media: How To and The Results...

This is the second case studies in the series on Customer Service Social Media Best Practices! You might be wondering what I meant my ownership. In organizational change management language... there are three stages of project success - awareness, buy-in and ownership. Here ownership doesn't me "owning" like it's mine - not yours. It means taking 100% responsibility for leading and faciliating solid, genuine, collaborative relationships with the whole company to further the whole company's succcess. Here's more details on how Lenovo accomplished their social media goals!

Why Did Lenovo Consider Social Media?

When Lenovo acquired the IBM PC computing division, they realized customers were talking about their products on 3rd party forums like notebookreview.com and thinkpads.com. They felt left out of these important customer conversations. To remedy that, they took ownership and lead the customer social media interactions.

They used a peer-to-peer customer service community to garner world-wide views of the customer experience. The result? They aligned marketing, sales, service and many other departments to accelerate changes and improvements to the customer experience. This alignment lead to a 20% decrease in laptop service call volumes, an increase in customer service agent productivity, a shortened product problem-resolution cycle and an increase their Net Promoter Scores. The net net is a reduce in customer service support costs and an increase in sales!

Why did they decide on social media? The cost of providing customer service for digital lifestyle products is on the rise. As margins on these types of products decrease and their complexity requires more indepth customer service, a couple of customer service calls eats away at the already thin profit. Lenovo knew that social media could help them learn, from the customer's point-of-view, the top issues with service, product features, functions, delays in shipments-- and all from a global perspective.

Lenovo Created Powerful Partnerships and Shared the Responsibility of Social Media Across Departments

In looking at best practices, Lenovo excelled at them. In particular, they determined all the stakeholders and invited them to participate in the customer service social media initiative. They invited the Legal Department to participate from the very beginning. The legal group helped determine the terms of service for the community, reveiwed the rules of engagement, the moderation policies as well as the management priniciple of the community. And they provided the disclaimers for the liability of the information posted to the site. And communnity executives collaborated with public relations and corporate communications to align all the communication strategies.

Lenovo also created powerful partnerships with marketing, sales, product development and engineering. They made interdepartmental collaboration "the way we do business around here." This is unusual as in most companies these functional departments are silo'd entities that don't always get along well. However, Lenovo's executive management provided the leadership and guided the partnership between marketing and service. Marketing owned the sales part of the website and the corporate blogs. The World Wide Service Organization "owned" the technical support website and the customer service online community. And all departments were considered an integral part of the community and asked to provide insights into how their department's operations not only affected the customer experience, but how they could make it better.

What was great was that they looked at the top call drivers in customer service. A good percentage of them were, "My lap top is broken. How do I fix it?" By providing that feedback from customer service to product development and engineering, Lenovo was able to reduce the volume of "its broken/fix it" calls. This contributed not only to contact center cost savings, but also to an enhanced customer perception of the product and higher customer satisfaction. Customers felt respected and listened to. Their feedback was used by the company to make better products, which reduces calls to the contact center!

If you want to know more about what Lenovo customer service professionals did, check out the research report, Case Study: Lenovo Takes Ownership of Social Media to Reduce Customer Service Costs.

Here's a link to the community: Lenovo Community Site

Learn. Grow. Share. @drnatalie or npetouhoff@forrester.com