Our Technology Services World (TSW) Service Transformation Conference is just around the corner, October 21-23 at the Aria in Las Vegas. I am very excited about our new venue, Aria Hotel and Conference Center in City Center, the newest hotel property on the strip with lots of high tech features, including internet everywhere. That’s right, free internet in the hotel and conference center, and those staying at the hotel will even have faster connect speeds than the free option. Hopefully that will encourage attendees to be more social than usual. Get ready to hashtag yourself into a stupor!
Over the last few weeks we have been doing prep calls with speakers, discussing breakout session content and best practices, and we have created a solid group of sessions around various aspects of social support and I wanted to call those out now. If you are active in your company’s social media or online community efforts, or are interested in learning how to get started, here are examples of the social content you can expect to find at TSW:
Benchmarking Your Way to Customer Community Success. The first round of breakouts at the conference is the “Power Hour,” with TSIA research leads presenting sessions from 4:15-5:15 on hot topics in each service discipline. My session will give an overview of a new member program I am launching at the event, a benchmark survey for customer communities. Open to all members, this survey covers critical metrics on community size, growth, problem resolution, staffing, technology, etc., and will allow me to have coaching sessions with individual members on how their online communities compare to their peers. In this session, find out what questions are in the survey and how to participate.
Building a Customer-Centered Business, from the Support Organization Out. Usually many of the top attended sessions at TSW are technology case studies, and I expect this session at 9:45am, presented by SaaS provider Blackbaud and leading community platform vendor, GetSatisfaction, to be standing-room-only, so arrive early for a seat. As a SaaS pioneer in non-profit financial management, Blackbaud differentiates by creating a customer-centered culture. Their service organization leads the charge in this effort by creating and nurturing a base of enthusiastic and supportive customers. Find out how these efforts by the support organization are transforming their business and the results they’re seeing. The presenters are Kristen Gastaldo, Community Manager, Blackbaud, Inc., and Scott Hirsch, VP of Product and Content Marketing, GetSatisfaction.
Stump the Panel: Empowering Service Organizations to Take Community to the Next Level. This panel discussion at 2pm focuses on the strategic value of communities. Though at first communities were seen as a way of lowering support costs, today the emphasis moves beyond deflection to identifying how communities can empower their social-savvy customers through collaboration, with direct ties to product direction, customer satisfaction, loyalty and repurchase. For this session, TSIA has invited three recognized industry experts on customer communities to share their views on the current and future role of communities within technology firms, and to answer your questions, both tactical and strategic, on building, launching and driving adoption for customer communities. Prizes will be awarded to the audience members with the most challenging and thought provoking questions, so this is a great opportunity to bring your biggest community-related challenge and leave the session with a plan of action you can immediately implement. The panelists for the session are Rob Shapiro, Senior Director, Customer Service Technologies, Oracle Corporation; Joseph Cothrel, Chief Community Officer, Lithium Technologies; and Scott Hirsch, VP of Product and Content Marketing, Get Satisfaction.
Social Media: The New Customer Service Channel. This session at 3:30 is presented by Carl Knerr, Services Director at Avaya. Carl has already made a name for himself as a social media expert via the Avaya CONNECTED blog. Check out his series on social media in customer service, which he will expand on in this session. According to Carl, “There is encouraging news that companies see the need to move into social media as a customer support channel. In fact, 80 percent of companies were planning on utilizing social media as part of their customer service strategy by the end of 2012; something they know is important, as 62 percent of their customers are already there. While companies are moving to this space, that does not mean they know how to approach the problem. I’ll cover my ten recommendations on how to proceed.”
Also, for those of you who participate in the Social Champions group, we will have a Social Breakfast of Champions on Wednesday morning, 10/23, beginning at 7:15am in the Expo Theatre. I will be there to answer questions, facilitate discussions, and get to know the champions in real time. For more information on the Champions program and the Champions breakfast, follow this link.
Thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing all of you at TSW!