Get The Most Out of Your Social Customer Care Channels

Standing with empty paper cups in hand, we looked for a recycling bin. Much to our dismay, the grand coffee chain did not separate its trash. “Unbelievable!” we thought and approached the counter. “Nope, we don’t recycle. Can you believe it?” said the employee, agreeing with our protest. My friend turned around and shoved the cups in mixed trash and said, “I’ll Tweet about it!”


That is one frustrated, social media savvy customer who knows she will get the attention of the brand and many others who’ve gone through similar experience, if she posts a mere 140 characters online. Her expectations are not only high because she wants the coffee chain to be green, but also because she wants a solution through immediate and open dialogue.


This is the changing face of customer care in the age of social media. Monitoring online conversations and responding in near real time has become an essential step in maintaining brand health. The complexity of setting up branded social media customer care lines may seem like added cost to an already robust system that handles queries through phone, email and mail. Companies need to have a perspective on the business impact of their social care channels, before determining their role in the customer service chain.


Social media customer service channels can reduce churn, increase satisfaction and bring in new customers:


·                           Reduced churn: Solving customer problems and preventing customers from discontinuing a service helps maintain a steady customer base.


·                           Repeat sales: High customer satisfaction yields loyalty as renewed purchases.


·                           Cross-sell, up-sell opportunities: The solution to a customer problem may be a product bundle or an alternative service. Social care specialists can serve additional products/services to customers depending on need and tone of conversation.


·                           New customers through positive word of mouth: Resolved cases and happy customer hash tags fortify brand reputation and convince readers that they would be equally well treated if they were to purchase from the company.


Besides expecting benefits, companies also need to ask some hard questions to build social care channels that make business sense for their target audience:


1-     Who are the social media savvy customers, seeking a dialogue online?

a.      What is their history with the brand?

b.      Do they tap into offline channels as well?

c.      Among online sources, which social media platforms do they prefer?


2-     What questions/issues typically make customers turn to social media channels?

a.      What are main topics?

b.      What is the volume for each key topic?

c.      In what problem stages are these questions? Will they need extensive follow up online and/or offline?


3-     What is the cost of assisting a customer through social media, considering staff and technology systems?

a.      What are key skills for social care specialists? What kind of training will they need?

b.      How many staff members are needed to assist in social media conversations?

c.      What is the process in which social care specialists will monitor online buzz and respond to customers?


The opportunity in social care is in addressing customer needs through efficient systems that deliver value fast, at reduced cost to the company.


This post has also been published on NM Incite’s blog. Click here to read more on social media trends and business implications.

Posted via email from dotwom’s posterous

Water is Everything

charity: water is truly the master of online word of mouth. Check out their latest campaign, Water Changes Everything, that educates audiences about the connections between an everyday matter such as water and macro issues such as education, food security, sanitation, women’s issues, healthcare and economic development.

The campaign first caught my attention on Facebook with clever depictions of what lack of water would mean for us in the developed nations.


Then I found the trail to the web area where they have six key messages you can Tweet and/or like, each one of them opening the viewers’ eyes to the impact clean water can make in a country’s economic development and public health. 


Between these messages and the photos on Facebook I generated four tweets and three likes, which turned into four additional re-tweets. In other words, one enthusiast created more than 10 messages through direct involvement and pass-alongs. Randomly peppering like buttons on a web site does not guarantee online buzz. Yet giving a community of advocates strategically packaged, byte-size messages can turbo-charge word of mouth. 

Posted via email from dotwom’s posterous

What Iranian Protestors Are Showing Us

Twitter is hitting mainstream. I am saying this not because I am looking at some numbers, but because I am getting asked aboutit outside of work by people of different professional backgrounds – none of whom work at agencies. These folks first ask me what Twitter is and what it really does or mean. I say it’s about networking and tapping into the power of loose connections and shared knowledge.

When it comes to twiter, don’t just think marketing. Think politics, think rural vs urban, think cross-polinations across schools and schools of thought. The way protesters in Iran kept communicating through Twitter and got tips on where to be, which streets to avoid, how to act is a very vivid example of how powerful this simple tool can be. Is it because it’s using the latest technology? No, not just that. Twitter’s power lies in people and ideas they can share at the speed of a few clicks.

Terminator Salvation – Building Buzz Online Before Launch

The sci-fi film, Terminator Salvation, is going to be released in the US on May 21st. But fans can already get into the action by playing a related game on Twitter. The main page for the game is here and you can check the Twitter account for updates every few hours, get a Resistance trivia assignment and reply to it.

My friends at The Game Agency (who may have had something with the creation of these games) pointed out that there was more to the game…on Facebook!

The application, titled Terminator Salvation: Join the Resistance, lets users create a squad, invite their friends to join to patrol a grid-like map, much like Battleship, with the rest of their squad looking for Terminators.

The gaming strategy seems to be a smart one as fans are counting back the days until they can watch the movie on the screen. In just three days, more than 2,600 follower on Twitter and close to 800 fans on Facebook are engaging with the film’s content.

Online Graphic Novel via Twitter, YouTube and Facebook

I love reading graphic novels. You need to be a visual artist and a great story teller to master one. It gives me great joy to see increasingly broader sections of bookstores to be dedicated to this form. Yet, this link I came across through my LinkedIn Twitter group opened my eyes to wider possibilities. Blank, the graphic novel is available page by page at a Web site, on Twitter, Facebook and also on YouTube. While the Web page has about 100 subsribers, @BlankMustDie has more than 1,500 followers.

According to Blank’s YouTube channel, this is a graphic novel ‘in the tradition of Watchmen, with heroes, villains, victims and complex story threads, although the heroes in Blank are more anti-hero and noir.’ The creators, Ian LeWinter (writer, creative strategist) and Don Richmond (illustrator, writer, creative strategist) say that Blank will be unveiled in real-time to its audience as the graphic novel is created. They will give their followers the chance to get involved in the story. The Facebook page’s comments are a testament to this effort.

You can follow Blank Must Die here or through twitter. The creators are uploading a new page everyday.

Skittles Spills It Online

Skittles changes its site to give the floor to those who love the brand and want to talk about it. The homepage opens into the Skittles Wikipedia entry. Chatter tab leads viewers to the Twitter stream about Skittles. Media section does the job with various brand videos and pictures. Product links are there if you want to look through. The widget-like site navigator sends visitors to Facebook with the ‘friends’ tab. The design concept gives visitors the feeling that they are in absolute control of finding the information that matters and enables them to get in touch with others who share their passion for the product.

The other interesting thing to note here is that Skittles is not referring people to the brand’s own Twitter account or a Wiki page mocked up by professionals. This is the stream of information one would find if they were to look up the brand on Twitter and on Wkipedia.

The concept is flexible enough to deliver brand messaging while embracing authentic online word of mouth and fans.

Skittles ‘gets it.’

Tipping Point on Twitter

I try to update my twitter profile regularly, but I am certainly not one of those who publish every minute. I blurb once a week or so. I share my twitter address at the end of presentations. If colleagues find me, I let them follow me, etc. Lately, I started getting requests from folks who are in related fields (or not) who want to connect with me on twitter. Every morning, I find 2-3 updates in my email, informing me that I am followed by folks I’ve never met before. We don’t know each other, but we tell each other if we’re bored, running around over the weekend, or frustrated at a baseball game.

I’m thinking, because the universe of twitter is much smaller, it doesn’t take that long for an active professional to reach the tipping point. You may not have to wait until 100 followers, 30-40 may just do.


I have not packed a mover’s box in years, but the pain of lifting, carrying and pushing large objects through narrow doorways and blocked hallways is permanently etched on my mind. But when my colleague Rick showed me Klondike®’s latest viral video a few weeks ago, I simply cracked up. The video features two guys carrying a couch into a house while a task master Klondike bar coaches them with condescending remarks. A talking ice-cream bar, whipping two dudes with comments from the sideline…What’s there not to laugh about?

The video is produced by the SNL digital shorts team and was premiered on YouTube by the popular video producer Timothy Delaghetto. Currently, it’s been viewed more than 200,000 times on YouTube, Metacafe and Funny or Die. The Moving Day video follows on the footsteps of the previously released Phone Call video.

These videos, that are meant to drive interest around a Klondike video contest , are shaping to be viral success stories. They take a well-known phenomenon and put a quirky spin on it by having a non-human character speak and other actors say things that many people stuck in frustrating situations would want to say. They strike a chord in a humorous way. They give people the opportunity to be the funny person of the hour by passing it along to friends.

Yet it’s not just quality content that’s pushing the videos along Web networks. The team behind the promotion took a pretty strategic approach to distribution as well. The Phone Call video was first released exclusively on Metacafe. On the release day, the Klondike brand took over the Metacafe homepage, greeting every Metacafe user that came into the site through that central area. As I mentioned before, The Moving Day video was premiered by Delaghetto, who already had a sizable following and had been a fan of Klondike’s. The campaign for the video contest is also supported by the twittering Klondike bear (Twitter ID: Klondikebear), a Klondike Facebook page and intensive media relations and blogger engagement. Best of all, the contest submissions are flying in. So, what would you do for a Klondike Bar? 😉

* Disclaimer: Klondike is a GolinHarris client. I decided to write this post because I enjoyed the campaign as a Web user and as a marketer.

Verizon: Who You Twittin?

I love Verizon. They work. Their systems work. I am saying this even though I am not their cell or wireless customer. I envy those Verizon customers who can talk on their phone in a tunnel, at the subway, on top of a mountain. Their ‘Can You Hear Me Now?” campaign is worded perfectly. It addresses an issue every other cell phone user in the US experiences and coins it as a theme. It’s part of jokes, it’s part of conversations. Simple and therefore viral.

Verizon impressed me with their twittering customer service. My colleague Jeff who had a problem with his Verizon service twittered about it and got an almost instant reply from a Verizon blogger who saw his message. His technical issue was not resolved on the spot, but Jeff was so impressed with the approach, he told at least 20 people about this fast response and genuine care from Verizon.

So what happened with the twittering teddy? (Check it out at This is a semi-fictional character who is supposed to represent all the help Verizon can offer to upgrade homes and solve networking issues…I think…The site is a bit busy, first introducing the twittering teddy, then building stories around him, grassroots events, DIY tips, etc.

I think the twittering teddy speaks more to marketers then to the typical Verizon customer. Twitter and Web 2.0 are not mainstream terms. So, the clever tag line of ‘how 2.0’ is probably lost on many. Verizon does better when it tells a simple story and gets to the core of the problem.