Archive for February, 2011

In an earlier article, the Dell Listening Command Center’s opening was highlighted along with a video of Michael Dell launching the new center. The command center is a hub tracking over 22,000 Dell related topics at a company wide level using Social Media. At that time they were monitoring social media in 9 languages. In just a few months, the number of languages has grown to 11. The early results of this center are very impressive (30% reduction in negative comments) and a social media influencer program. See the slide deck in the blog post.

How do you treat your best customers?

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

In an blog post titled ‘How should you treat your best customers?, the author Seth Godin makes the point that we often take our best customers for granted. Does your organization have preferential treatment for its best customers when they call in for Customer Service? Share how you do that in the comments section.

The IBM Watson computer Jeopardy challenge ran on US and Canadian Television for 1/2 hour over 3 sessions on Feb 14 to 16th, 2011. Watson, an IBM computer was one of the contestants. Watson won over two of the best Jeopardy contestants in the world, every night and in aggregate over three days. One of the first business applications of the IBM Watson technology is predicted to be in call centers.

Dell has been investing in new web techniques. In an interesting article on Dell’s Social Engagement Journey, some of the discussion relates to Dell’s progress on customer satisfaction, from ‘Dell Hell’ in 2005 to today where it is far more customer centric. This process might be of interest to firms that have not yet not embraced social media for customer satisfaction feedback and customer engagement.

When a study of customer satisfaction issues has been completed, it is normal for a report of findings and recommendations for actions be assembled and presented to management. What happens next is key to the success of the organization’s customer satisfaction strategy. In a recent article titled, Customer Satisfaction: A Customer Service Advisory Council: Example of Final Report, a transit authority received 78 recommendations in 8 focus areas with associated action plans, most of which involved additional costs and / or personnel. This article covers the next steps taken by the Toronto Transit Commission.

One of the best practices in a customer satisfaction process is to listen to users and report back to them what the organization heard and what will happen with the feedback the customers provided. This article covers the continuing story of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and its problems with the riders and the perception of the public on the effectiveness of the management of public funds supporting the transit authority. Eight focus areas of recommendations by the Customer Service Advisory Council are reviewed. Will the Transit organization follow up? A warning is provided in the report.

I was recently approached to review a book called Lateral Approach to Managing Projects: Simple Principles for Achieving High Customer Satisfaction and Mutual Profitability by H.W. Sit and Ling Bundgaard. The book is a story about a project manager with a failing project, over budget, late, and complaining customer. The project manager is having trouble figuring out what is going wrong or how to fix it. His manager calls him in and send him to a coach, who takes him through ‘lateral thinking’ to determine what the issues are and how to resolve them.

Clay Shirky’s presentation at TED called ‘How Social Media can make History’ focused on how social media is changing the way we live fundamentally, by allowing people to (at least temporarily) bypass censors and share information. Interaction is not longer just between an organization and its customers and feedback to the organization from customers. The social world is allowing for conversations between customers. They can talk directly to each other. They can organize, rally and protest against a company’s policies or against a political party or platform. They can band together to force a company or a politician to take notice of them.

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