Archive for April 2010

Social Media: Hot Topic for Technology Services World

April 21, 2010

Our 2010 Spring Technology Services World (TSW) Conference is just around the corner, kicking off on Monday, May 3rd. It seems only yesterday we were in Las Vegas last October; I definitely ran out of time to lose that 50 pounds I wanted to get rid of before the next conference! If you are a regular blog reader, you know that social service (customer communities, emerging social media channels like Twitter, etc.) is a hot topic, and I wanted to highlight some conference sessions around this topic you don’t want to miss.

First up is the TSIA’s director of social media, Shawn Santos, who had the top attended session at our Vegas event. Shawn will present, “Don’t Believe the Hype: Social Media & Technology Services,” on Tuesday at 11am. This session dismantles the hype surrounding social media and explores real-world examples of how technology companies are successfully using social media to service their customers. We’ll delve into ROI, staffing & social media operational models and give you compelling data and examples that will get you started down the path of least resistance in structuring your social media tools, people, and processes.

Another really interesting session is longtime TSIA/SSPA member and all around great guy, Manish Sinha, Vice President Global Customer Care, Yahoo. Manish is going to tackle a topic I hear companies struggling with every week–how to successfully leverage customers to create content without throwing quality out the window. Come to his session, “An Efficient and Effective User-Generated Content Moderation,” on Tuesday at 2pm, and learn how Yahoo! is addressing the ongoing challenges with user generated content (UGC) moderation. Manish will discuss his philosophy on how best to improve moderation consistency, effectiveness, and efficiency, as well as the frightening truth of moderation resources and an enormous business opportunity currently untapped. Sinha will outline the opportunities and respective solutions: automation, community, and customer care.  I’ve seen a draft of his materials–this will be a great session.

The final session I will hype, selfishly, is my own breakout on Tuesday at 4pm, “The 2010 TSIA Technology Heatmap.” In this session I will unveil the results of my 2010 Member Technology Survey, showing technology adoption and spending trends across support services, professional services, and field service. Social media spending is HOT, and my adoption and spending data shows how quickly companies are moving to support these emerging customer channels.

I look forward to seeing all of you in Santa Clara. If you’d like to schedule a 1:1 meeting with me, look for the signup sheet at the registration desk when you pick up your badge–my slots fill up fast. Thanks for reading!

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2010: Dollars pouring into Social Service

April 9, 2010

Yesterday I participated in a TSIA webcast with Lithium and Baynote, with an amazing presentation by Brooke Molinaroli, Head of Digital Care Design with BT (British Telecom) Retail Customer Service. This was our third social service focused webcast this year, and another record crowd–this is the topic of the year. And, viewing my preliminary 2010 spending data (which I will release at TSW next month!), companies are putting their wallets on the table–BIG spending planned on social service and other areas. If you missed yesterday’s webcast you can register to view the OnDemand version here: http://webcasts.tsia.com/event/pe30e09f8q57m9

At lunch today I’m making a presentation to the Bay Area Business Executives Meetup Group entitled, “Effectively Leveraging Social Media as a Support Channel.” (If you’d like to come, here’s the link to register.) Why are so many people interested in this topic? Here’s what I think.

It took a dozen years for CRM to become established, highly adopted, with lots of documented best practices. Social media, which includes customer communities, micro-blogs and social networks, have reached high adoption in just a couple of years, so now everyone has their toes in the water but no one knows how to swim…and there appears to be a tidal wave coming. Customers continue to jump on the social bandwagon, the younger folks who crave online social interaction continue to age into the target demographic of more companies.

So this time the thirst for information isn’t about, “Should we do this?”  They are already doing it, and want to be successful The cost to engage in Twitter, for example, seems desperately cheap compared to starting up, say, a Web chat support team–little technology, few specialized skills needed (or are there?), and a more ‘devil may care’ attitude than with traditional support channels.  The issue, in the eyes of enterprise customers and forward-looking consumer companies, is this: today customers view these channels as a fun way to interact with the company and other customers. But with each use, relying on these channels becomes ingrained to customers.  It is very worrisome then, that according to our 2009 TSIA Member Social Media Survey:

  • Only 17% of members have integrated social media channels into the corporate website. Accessing an online community requires a different logon and password, and uses a different UI than the corporate website.
  • Only 8% of members have integrated the new channels into their CRM/incident management system. After a decade of trying to build the “360 degree view of the customer,” none of the social media interactions are being tracked.
  • Only 8% of members include social media channels in performance dashboards. So if you suddenly start neglecting a social media channel, no alarms or notifications exist.
  • Only 3% of members address social media channels in SLAs. If you aren’t setting customer expectations for service levels, achieving high customer satisfaction will be challenging as traffic via these channels increases.

We will continue to write on this topic and share best practices as they emerge. Luckily we have members with hugely successful social service practices who are willing to share their lessons learned…and judging from the STAR Award applications for Best Online Community, there are lots of great stories to share. Hope to see some of you in Mountain View today for my lunch talk! Thanks for reading.