Measuring social media ROI

Social media ROI is a common topic in this community. How do we prove that our online efforts are making a difference? Kyle Flaherty wrote a great article at how we can look at this.

The next generation is particularly tech savvy, and a recent social media campaign for Twilight has proven that networking with your audience can prove that good social networking can turn into revenue. The social media campaign that involved widgets and networking resulted in a soundtrack that was #1 on the Billboard charts before the movie was released, high pre-sales in movie tickets and a continual presence in the best selling category for the books. Read more about it in The Standard.

The soundtrack marketing effort has been highly successful, ranging from videos released on author Stephenie Meyer’s site to exclusives available for fans depending on format and place of purchase: iTunes has a digital booklet and three additional songs, while the physical CD contains a poster from the movie, with several different posters randomly placed in the CD cases.

There was also significant buzz created by exclusively debuting the trailers online for the fans.

Online ticket sales are booming as well, spurred by everything from movie trailers debuted exclusively at different sites to widgets available for social networking sites. Those who purchase presale tickets from MovieTickets.com or Fandango receive a code for a free music remix from iTunes.

Why do you think this is such a big social media phenomenon? We already wrote in August about this community with the book series, and now it’s translated into revenue for the movie industry. Now this social media and networking has translated into revenue for the record industry and Hollywood. What can you take from this example and use for your campaigns?

How to Maintain a Successful Community

This is the third and final post in my corporate community series this week. The previous posts covered planning and getting started with your corporate community, and this installment continues the discussion with tips about what to do and what to avoid doing if you want to have a successful corporate community. While some of these tips are specific to corporate communities, most of them also apply to other types of communities as well.

The are many ways for a company to encourage or discourage participation in their community just by the way employees behave in the community, the way the community is facilitated, and how the infrastructure is maintained. There are a few things you can do to help ensure that the community successful, while other activities are likely to drive the community away. This post will cover both the do’s and don’ts along with some tips for maintaining a successful community.

What makes a community work

Being open and transparent. Being as open and transparent as possible will improve trust within the community. It often helps to explain the ‘why’ behind some of your decisions to avoid being seen as closed or defensive. In general people are more understanding, especially about difficult topics if you can explain why the company responds in a certain way.

A company who listens (to good and bad). It is easy to listen and respond when people say nice things about you or your company, but you should also be responding when people complain or provide negative feedback. The key is to respond constructively with something helpful: a suggestion, information about upcoming changes, or just a simple thank you.

Actively engaged in the community. The company should not dominate the community, but they should be actively participating by creating new content, responding to feedback, and in general being visible in the community.

Encouraging new members. Whenever possible, welcome new members of the community, especially if they are particularly actively in the community.

Making it easy for people to participate. Reduce the barriers to entry for people to participate and make it as easy as possible to join the community. Allowing people to view content before joining and a simple sign-up form with very few required fields can go a long way toward reducing the barriers to participation.

Integration into other relevant areas of the site. In most cases, it is simple to pull information from your community into static areas of your website. This makes your static website seem less static, and it drives more people to your community when they see a piece of content that they are interested in reading. For example, if you have a static page describing your efforts in sustainability, you could pull the 5 most recent blog posts or discussions from the sustainability section of your community into a sidebar on the static page.

What to avoid

Community is lip service. People can tell when a company creates a community to give the appearance of listening, while not really considering it a serious endeavor. If you aren’t serious about engaging with your community, then you might be better off not spending the effort to create one.

Pushing marketing messages. When pushing marketing messages out to the community members takes precedence over 2-way conversations and collaboration, you will start to see your community disappear. A community is about conversations between people, and you can talk about your products, but it should be done in a relevant and conversational tone, instead of sounding like a pitch or advertisement.

Deleting the negative. You should be responding to criticism, not deleting it. Again, communities are about conversation. If people feel like you are putting duct tape over their mouths when they express anything negative about the company, these people will simply leave their negative comments somewhere else on the internet where it is likely more people will see the criticism and not hear your side of the story.

Barriers to collaboration. Community software, configuration, or policies can often create barriers to collaboration. Configure the software to make it easy for people to find content and sign up for the community. Your policies should create guidelines for use that help keep the community healthy without being so heavy handed that people aren’t interested in participating. Flickr’s community guidelines are a good example of how to write guidelines that are simple and even fun to read.

Neglected communities. Nobody wants to participate in a corporate community where no one in the company monitors or responds to questions or feedback. There are too many of these floating around the internet, so make sure that you have the resources to give your community care and feeding over the life of the community.

No community is perfect

You need to keep in mind that no community will ever be perfect: things will go wrong; your community software will have bugs; and people will get defensive or irate. In addition to the internal factors in the community, there are external influences that can creep into the community. Companies have PR nightmares that drive people into the community in droves to complain, but in great communities, the company responds effectively, addresses the issue, and works to resolve it quickly. When you have one of these crisis situations, keep the focus on summarizing and fixing, instead of blaming and justifying. Maintain open communication channels and deal with these imperfections and issues as quickly and openly as possible.

What are your favorite tips to help companies have great communities?

If you are interested in reading more of my content, you can find it on the Fast Wonder Blog.

Zuckerberg: Facebook will one day broadcast our emotions.

From Valleywag:

In a conversation with GQ, Mark Zuckerberg reveals that he hopes Facebook will one day broadcast its users very emotions. Alex French probes him on this issue in the following exchange:

(12:25 p.m.) Alex: How’s things?
(12:25 p.m.) Mark: There’s this definite evolution happening. Where the first part of the social web was mapping out the social graph. And the second phase is now mapping out the stream of everything that everyone does. All of human consciousness and communication.
(12:29 p.m.) Alex: Imagine if you could broadcast people’s emotions into a feed?
(12:30 p.m.) Mark: I think we’ll get there.
(12:30 p.m.) Alex: So how are you going to map all of human consciousness and communication?(12:30 p.m.) Mark: We don’t map it directly. We give people tools so they can share as much as they want, but increasingly people share more and more things, and there’s this trend toward sharing a greater number of smaller things like status updates, wall posts, mobile photos, etc. A status update can approach being a projection of an emotion.
(12:31 p.m.) Alex: That’s what I use it for.
(12:31 p.m.) Mark: So it’s not so crazy to say that in a few years people will be doing a lot more of that. It takes time for people to be comfortable sharing more and for the social norms to change.

For more information, click here.

New Online Research Approaches to Product Naming

In association with BuzzBack Market Research and The Market Research Event, The Institute for International Research invites you to join us for a one hour complimentary Web Seminar.

Please note two separate web seminars to accommodate our attendees from Europe and the United States.

Europe:

Join us for a Free Webinar
Thursday, December 4th from 3:00 to 4:00pm GMT


Please mention priority code: MWS0016TMREEurope

Space is limited.Reserve your Webinar seat now at:https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/364040865

United States:
Join us for a Free Webinar
Thursday, December 4th from 2:00 to 3:00 EST

Please mention priority code: MWS0016TMREUSA
Space is limited.Reserve your Webinar seat now at:https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/694919174

About the web seminar:

Naming research can be particularly challenging, with different types of needs depending where you are in the naming process. In this webinar, using case studies as examples we will explore three unique online techniques that address different challenges in naming research:
IDQ, an online interactive ideation process in which consumers create and evaluate names in real time in response to a product concept. We’ll demonstrate how we generated and sorted hundreds of names in a very short period of time.
??eCollage, a highly engaging online quantitative exercise in which respondents create an online collage that communicates what a name means to them and the imagery and associations it evokes. This enables us to go beyond a name’s obvious descriptive and feature-focused characteristics to its underlying emotions and associations.
Configurator, a unique building platform for gaining quantitative understanding of naming options in context. Using this technique, names are presented in an online interactive exercise where respondents select the preferred name, icon, color and other packaging elements. Respondents decide which are most appealing and meaningful to them when imagining the products on shelf and then provide insight into why they prefer those elements.
What you will learn by attending:

New, fast and effective research methodologies that address different types of research goals in naming.

Specifically:

i. Name ideation: IDQ engages respondents in an exercise that generates hundreds of new name possibilities – and provides an initial evaluation and stratification of those names.

ii. Name Imagery and Communications: eCollage helps you understand emotions, images and associations that respondents have to certain names.

iii. Name selection: Configurator engages respondents in an inactive exercise that requires them to select one of several name options and then build other packaging elements around that name.

About the speaker Brendan Light, SVP, Research and Product Development, BuzzBack Market Research

Brendan leads research development and best-practices for BuzzBack. In addition to continually improving the quality of the quantitative and qualitative methodologies and analytics of BuzzBack’s research offerings, he pioneered BuzzBack’s award-winning and patent-pending eCollage and Verbatim Viewer and leads the future development and research strategy for BuzzBack. He continues to focus on leveraging the transformative powers of the Internet to evolve respondent engagement, operational efficiency, and visualization of analytics and insight. Brendan has over 15 years of client and research supplier side experience, having also served as Research Director for Grey Interactive and as the Global Director of Ipsos-ASI Interactive.
Privacy Notice: IIR is dedicated to bringing you valuable information services such as this free Webinar. By registering for this event, you acknowledge that IIR may contact you electronically or by any other means regarding IIR’s events and services. You may opt out of subsequent communications if you prefer to no longer receive them.

Please visit our blog at http://themarketresearchevent.blogspot.com/ for additional industry news and commentary.

Sparks fly as we dream big about Service Design

The best thing (for me) about conferences is what happens between the sessions – the conversations we have – the connections we make. We take things from various sessions and from our own experiences, share them with others and make new connections – and new ideas fly off like sparks as our community starts to connect.
A lot of those sparks this week were about Service Design.

As customer management professionals we are obsessed with perfecting the services we support:

  • Getting our people psyched to best represent our company to the customer
  • Getting the right metrics in place to drive the right behaviors,
  • Getting the variation out assuring an experience that is repeatable
  • Getting the cost of servicing down while keeping the quality up.

Sometimes it feels like we are on a treadmill that will never stop – improve, improve, improve. It’s hard, but it’s a good thing. At our best we embody what Deming was talking about with his first of fourteen points -’Create constancy of purpose towards improvement.’
But is that all there is?

From the buzz this week at the Customer 1st Conference – things are changing.
A thread running through many conversations this week has been about Service Design.

Don’t just make the service better, remake the service. We are talking scary but cool ‘ the infamous blank slate. And this conference was charged with the possibilities.
Of course improvement and redesign are related, but the change in emphasis is on what we are improving. We are more focused now on improving the customer experience than on the processes we currently use to deliver service. That great customer experience may not require ANY of the processes we currently spend a lot of time and money to make just a little bit better.

And yet, that great experience may be the key to the loyalty we almost mystically seek even while we argue a lot on how it can really be measured.

From Bill Price’s opening thoughts on Sunday that maybe “the best service is no service,” to a talk I heard yesterday on GSK’s approach to semi-automating internal IT service delivery (I highly recommend you download this talk) – to a dinner table conversation last night about what’s next in service – the possibilities for re-inventing service seem endless and the results for the customer can be what Tom Peters taught us to call WOW.

As I chatted with others this week on this topic I heard a lot of excitement, but also a bit of fear. Are the teams we lead a part of this brave new world? How do we as leaders get out in front before this wave (whatever it is) overtakes us. And there was a recurrent counterpoint in these discussions – the mantra from Day 1 – “Remember, it’s all about the people.”

In each of these conversations the paradoxes and the possibilities seemed to resolve towards the end. As with most problems, the answer lay within a clear statement thereof.

We weren’t talking about one thing. We were talking about many things, many types of customer experiences – too often all mixed up together and measured with averages we know in our gut don’t mean much.

Some experiences are and need to be very people intensive – those Disney magic moments. For others, like the GSK IT Service Catalog we just need to put the power into the customer’s hands and let them do the driving.

The key, many said this week, was dreaming big about the customer experience, wondering what it could be…and then asking if you had the best service design to deliver it.

NACCM 2008: We Are All Storytellers

Becky and Greg have been good enough to provide their own perspectives on our keynotes yesterday. I also was on hand for our great presentations. The morning began with an opening address from our chairperson, JoAnna Brandi. I’ve had the chance to work every day during this conference with JoAnna. She has reminded so many here of the importance of looking past customer satisfaction and to remember that even for ourselves, satisfactory marks are not enough. We are all seeking the exemplary. She reinforced what Kevin discussed the night before that we are all seeking the magical, that moment that makes us go WOW!

Keith Ferrazzi, author of “Never Eat Alone,” followed and he focused on the importance of relationships in order to help us achieve our goals in our career. Keith had been good enough to host a web seminar with us over the summer to share some of these ideas. Here is just a small portion of that discussion:

Keith was followed by Joe Torre. I had the chance to meet Joe before his presentation. He is a very warm, welcoming, and friendly individual. During his discussion, he answered many questions from the audience. He was quite frank, not only about the actual details of his remarkable career, but he also reminded everyone that in the end, no matter the figures, or the expectations, it all comes down to people and their own personal responses. Everyone in attendance appreciated not only his insights in baseball but also his management experience, handling difficult bosses, temperamental staff, and the expectations of customers. His ability to manage all of these elements clearly has led to his success on and off the field.

Joe was followed by Peter Guber, Chairman & Founder of Mandalay Entertainment. I’ve had the opportunity to hear Peter speak before. He discusses the importance of storytelling to achieve those goals we have. Great storytellers are able to engage their listeners and create an emotional connection. Storytelling is such a fundamental aspect of our emotional makeup, we all can be storytellers, but its understanding the power of storytelling that will help us to become great storytellers. Here is a small portion of that presentation:

As we come into our final day of the conference, we have several corporate practitioners who will be sharing their own experiences in dealing with the daily challenges so many face in customer-facing organizations. I won ‘t have the opportunity to post immediately after but in the coming days and weeks I will certainly add more material from the event. If you haven’t been by the site, be sure and check all of the great material we have been posting including photos from the conference.

Finally, I want to send a ‘shout-out’ to my colleagues. The team who produces and puts together this great event, works very hard to create an experience attendees will not forget. Even for those of you not here can see how much effort and work goes into creating this remarkable conference. You can be sure they appreciate your feedback in order to ensure you have the best possible time here.

NACCM 2008: Another Day


By Becky Carroll, Customers Rock!

At the NACCM Customers 1st Conference today, we had the opportunity to listen to some fabulous keynotes as well as start to dig-in to the sessions. Along the way, we may have even gotten a little Goofy! Lots of nuggets, video, and photos, including Keith Ferrazzi, Joe Torre, and Peter Guber. Keep reading! Inspiring Employees
The theme across all of the keynotes today was one of community, relationship building, and emotions. (Customers Rock! note – many of these themes work very well with the social media tools that are available to connect with customers, and with each other.) JoAnna Brandi kicked off the day with an energetic discussion of being leaders that inspire customers to be more engaged at work, which, in turn, leads to better customer engagement. As leaders, we need to use more positive emotion; this will affect our employees and our customers. Keep your employees out of the fear we are seeing, and start focusing on the positive. What is right? What is possible? What is the next solution we can find?
She also challenged attendees to stop focusing exclusively on customer satisfaction, as customers don’t want things that are just ‘satisfactory’. They want something better than that! While important, satisfaction is not the end game. The pot of gold at the other side of the rainbow is joy, happiness, Wow, and Magic. We have to start creating emotional relationships with our customers. This is done by showing up at work with emotion, not checking it at the door! It is the leader’s job to make sure everyone around them uses Magic ‘ Make a Great Impression on the Customer. Never Eat Alone The first keynote was Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone.He turned this into a working session to give people a personal relationship action plan for the upcoming year. Who do you need to work with to get you where you want to go? People are critical to your success, and relationships are the core. We discussed which words describe business relationships: Trust, human, feedback, fun, candor, collaborative. Which words add for most personal relationships? Laughter, love, listening, intimacy, reliable, trust, passion. The shift ‘ a business relationship is a personal relationship in a business environment. Make it purposeful; strategically guide your relationships. It is not about waiting for someone else to start the relationship; it is about you being proactive with others. If you have strong personal relationships, you will be more easily forgiven when you mess it up! Video of Keith: you can’t get there alone. Keith had the group go through a series of exercises to help crystallize thinking around this. Our job in this world is to create an environment around ourselves that invites people in to have a better relationship with us. It is all about what we do ‘ it is our responsibility. Lower our guard, invite people in. As we talk to people, we ought to be having the following internal conversation: – Is there something I can care about with this person? A way to connect and remember?
- Is there a way I can help? ‘How can I help you? Who can I introduce you to’? How powerful is that?! Keith also discussed the ‘Fluffy’ factor. This was referring to a phone conversation where the service rep could hear a dog barking in the background ‘ ‘Fluffy’. “What is the name of your dog,” this rep might ask, as a way to connect with the other person and see them as a human being (not just an irritating caller). We need to show up as the human and empathetic individual they want to see. If all call center folks projected a wonderful positive outcome, in their own minds, it would begin to manifest itself. How are your customer service people seeing your customers? As a pain, or as a real person with real issues? Keith also shared about the importance of being real, authentic, and human to others. He stated that others can tell right away if we are not being truthful or transparent with them, even over the phone! We need to have the following mindset, with customers or with those we want to build relationships with: We really care. We want to hear you (people need to be heard). When we have this mindset, we begin to empathize. I will wrap up this section on Keith with a video of him telling the story about someone who cared about another human being and how it changed lives. We then had the pleasure of listening to Joe Torre, manager of the LA Dodgers, share nuggets from his many years in baseball. Here are some highlights:

  • You only get better (at whatever you do) when you have to deal with setbacks. Tough times don’t last; tough people do.
  • It’s the little things in a game that help you win. Concentrate on the little things; big things will happen.
  • Be loyal to each other on the team, and have respect for that other guy who is out there, perhaps where you want to be.
  • You can’t assume your customers are yours forever.
  • What can I help us do to win today?
  • Whatever line of work you are in, it is all about the people.

Making Connections Through Storytelling The morning ended with a fascinating speech by Peter Guber, Chairman and Founder, Mandalay Entertainment. Peter has quite a line of Hollywood successes, including his role as producer for such films as Gorillas in the Mist, The Deep, The Color Purple, and Rain Man, to name a few.
Per Peter: “Coping with failure in uncertain times is a necessity; it has always been a partner in my journey.” He shared three navigational states for these times and how to get through them – fear, uncertainty, and change. Peter also shared that the game changer, the secret sauce, is the story we tell ourselves and the story we tell our customers and clients. Oral storytelling. It is in all of us. We need to connect our story to the emotions of our customers and employees to help them propel themselves through all of this. We are all wired to do oral storytelling. When we do it, it changes the word from “customer/client/patron” to “audience”. One thing to keep in mind about an audience: they expect experiences and to be engaged emotionally. They want to be moved. Here is a video of Peter talking about how human beings are “wired” to tell oral stories. Peter encouraged us to unleash our story for our benefit, and do it by MAGIC. MAGIC ‘ like a hand, each of the following concepts works independently, but they work better together. Motivating your Audience to your Goal Interactively with great Content Are you motivated about your story? Yes ‘ you can craft a powerful story. You can tell, before someone says a word, whether they are authentic. Be calm; be coherent with it. Then tell it. Demonstrate you are authentic with your story. This engages people. Audience ‘ everybody you talk with (not to) is an audience. How do I get their attention? If it’s not a good time to do it, don’t tell your story! Know what is interesting. Try to be interested in them, create an emotional connection. The context makes the story different for everyone. What are they interested in? Find out then connect it to that. Aim for the heart, not the head. Feelings. Often times a story, elegantly presented, can change the results. Here is another video of Peter discussing how he convinced the head of the studio to let him make the film Gorillas in the Mist. In this video, Peter was just talking about how he had come to realize that he was not connecting with his audience (the studio head). So, he became a wounded gorilla in order to help explain why it was important to tell the story of saving gorillas: Goal ‘ specifically direct someone to a call to action. We have to have authentic goals that are generous; then, we both win. Virally-advocated stories are authentic; they have to be real. Interactively ‘ it has to be a conversation. The more senses you engage in your story, the more likely you are to own it. They feel they are participating in the story ‘ let your audience own it so they can tell it for you. It’s the way we are wired. Interactivity ‘ think about it before you start. You have to surrender control. Why do you think you control the customer or your brand? When you relinquish control, it allows them to come forward and own the information in a unique way. Content ‘ The actual story is the Holy Grail. Look to your own experience ‘ true story, inspired by story. Use observation ‘ retell other people’s stories. Use them for emotional transportation. Look at history and use artifacts; make emotional connections today from it. Use metaphor and analogy; he became a gorilla for the studio head to get him to connect with the story and make the movie. Think of your customers as an audience, interact with them with really great content, and enjoy the front row seat to your success. Other Goodies The afternoon consisted of 4 main tracks of sessions. I attended the session on Disney presented by Maritz and The Disney Institute. Bruce Kimbrell was again the presenter, along with Kathy Oughton from Maritz. Bruce told a great story about how serious Disney is about surveying customers in the theme park. He shared that some days, the survey at the entrance gate to the park might only ask for your zip code. On other days, the conversation might go like this: Disney: “Hi, do you have a some time to take our guest survey? We would need about 2 hours of your time.” Guest: “Uh, no, that would take up a big chunk of my time here.” Disney: “Well, how about if we take care of you for tomorrow?” Guest: “No, I would have to change my flights, my hotel…” Disney: “What if we took care of that? Would you be willing to give us your time?” Now that is serious focus on getting the voice of the customer! I also had the opportunity to sit in on JoAnna Brandi‘s session/discussion about what makes people feel good at work. Here were some of the attendee responses – - Liking the people I work with – Harmony – Making a difference – Being recognized by others, especially when you find out about it later JoAnna is trying to understand these motivators so she can help coach others on how to improve employee retention and loyalty. There’s More! Go check out my blog, the flickr group, and my Tweets to see/hear more about the day. Last day – tomorrow!

Day 1 Keynotes – It’s all about people!

Three powerful keynotes on Day 1 – and it was all about people.

Relationships between you and other people as the key to your personal and professional success.

Managing by knowing your people, really knowing them, not just by the numbers.

And telling stories to people as a way to achieve your goals – starting off with your own.

This last point brings me full circle back to last night at Kevin Carroll’s talk. What made that so powerful was the simple truth that his story is his life’s work. Telling it is what he does and in so doing he motivates others to pursue their passions.

There is clearly a theme running here in our keynotes!

Now back to today this morning.

First off was Keith Ferrazi, author of Never Eat Alone (which based on the line after his talk we now all have a copy) who found in a way to get us all talking to total intimately to total strangers. Sure we were only practicing, but he drove home through these exercises how superficial our interactions often are and how we need a different way of being in the world if we are to build mutually beneficial lasting relationships. As you really don’t get anything done in this world alone, everything requires other people to help you do it. Keith smashed our paradigm of the business relationship helping us to see we need personal relationships at work.

Keys to building those relationships?

  1. Don’t wait for relationships to happen – be intentional about building them
  2. Get out of your own way – letting go of behaviors that are barriers to true intimacy
  3. Be authentic – be present for others – not just for the sake of connecting
  4. Be vulnerable – encouraging others to tell it like it us, not just what we want to hear

I was truly moved by his idea that our job is to walk around the world and produce an environment that invites people in…and that to do that we need to find something in everyone we talk to that we can care about and also how we can help them. I sensed a lot of us left his talk wondering if we are up to that challenge.

By the way, I was a circle (other choices were triangle, squares and z’s). Which were you? And was that a bunch of Z’s I saw partying late last night in Downtown Disney?

Next up was Joe Torre, known to anyone who knows anything about baseball as one of its most winning managers and known to Boston Red Sox fans (like me) as one scary dude. What was always so scary about Joe was the calm way he sat in the dugout, nothing ever seeming to phase him, as if he knew his team would find a way to win. And they usually did.

Joe kept his message simple – It’s about people. Managing by the numbers has become all the rage in Baseball, but in the end it comes down to people. A hitter facing a pitcher. An outfielder going for a ball. Baseball is a stange sport that features team play – one player at a time.

Torre emphasized how over the years he worked to make this paradox clear to his players – that if they wanted to to win they need to ignore their individual stats and focus on the only numbers that matter – wins and losses. Each day he urged his players to think of what they needed to do better to help the team. Little things, he noted, like getting high paid stars to run faster to first place – can make the difference in a tight ball game. And that means every player has to come to play every single day – you win or lose as a team.

Then we heard from Peter Guber – one of Holllywood’s most successful producers (my favorite Guber flick was the Tim Burton production of Batman) – telling us the simple truth that people were born to tell stories – that throughout our prehistory that is all we could do – no writing, just orally conveyed information. This ability Guber explained is in us and is ready to be tapped as a tool we can use to accomplish our goals.

Telling great stories – important – got it. But how you do that?

Well, Peter explained, it’s MAGIC:

Motivating your
Audience to achieve your
Goal
Interactively with great
Content

Echoing strains we heard from Carroll and Ferrazzi, Guber suggested we start by connecting better with our own stories, learning to tell them, connecting them to what we passionately want to achieve, using them as a motivating force for others. We also should take care to let negative aspects of our personal story get in the way of us achieving our goals.

He challenged us to think of our customers as an audience. Our job is not just to satisfy them or handle their complaints – it is to provide them with a great experience, to engage them emotionally. This reminded me of Disney’s mantra – “we make magic happen every day.”

Guber urged us to bring the audience into the production, use artificacts passed around the circle to engage them in the telling of the story. What story? Whatever story we need to tell to close the deal, win the case, make change happen in our company, convey to customers what our brand really means. He closed imploring us to think of the story at the heart of what we are trying to achieve. “It’s the holy grail.”

A great morning – many stories to tell – and they’re all about people!!!

NACCM 2008: What’s Your Red Ball

The Conference has arrived, and I have to say, in my opinion, it began with a bang. A day long pre-conference summit that lead to the official launch of the conference opened by JoAnna Brandi, Publisher, Customer Care Coach & President, Joanna Brandi & Co. who in turn introduced our opening conference keynote, Kevin Carroll. Kevin is a remarkable presenter with a personal story of conviction, personal success in the face of great strife and difficulty. He has been inspired by the truly simple and discovered the remarkable and innovative in his life. His opening keynote was not only a chance to share that perspective but to also to help us consider the opportunity we have being here to develop, network and share. Everyone came away very enthusiastic and excited.

I have here a snippet of his presentation. He discusses the inspirational moment that he describes “saved his life.”

Afterwards, we sat down with Kevin and JoAnna who discuss some of their shared perspectives:

After seeing these videos, I’m sure you’ll want to learn more, so be sure and visit his website and blog and his own social network related to his books.

Then I sat down with Becky Carroll, from CustomersRock! who has already been participating in many great sessions and will be here posting her thoughts during the conference. Here she discusses the Disney experience

If you haven’t subscribed to our feed, be sure and do so, you don’t want to miss more of her great insights and thoughts during the next few days.

Next, I met Fred Broce, Program Manager of Request IT for GSK. He’s here presenting later today on the IT Service Catalog: Opening New Customer Channels While Driving Service. I asked him to share some highlights on what attendees can expect during his presentation:

Finally, last night, the CSIA and ICCSO who hosted the International Service Excellence Awards that honored companies large and small, and individuals in customer service positions based on the highest industry standards. I actually had a chance to record a great deal of material, but I’m going to need a little more time than one night to edit it all. But I will share this clip from the opening remarks from Brett Whitford, Secretary-General of the ICCSO, as he tells a rather extraordinary story of individuals going that extra step of customer service.

We have two more days of great experiences and presentations we’ll be sharing. Gregory North has joined us and is also blogging his experiences. So be sure and check back here and our event website to see the many updates including photos and videos we’ll be posting.

Customer Loyalty: Pre-Conference Summit

Cross-post from Customers Rock! by Becky Carroll

Today was my second day here at the NACCM Customers 1st Conference, and it was filled with pre-conference summits and the official kick-off to the event by Kevin Carroll, author of Rules of the Red Rubber Ball. Here is an overview and some nuggets from Disney Institute, nGenera, JetBlue, and of course, Kevin. (Note – if you follow me on Twitter, you already have a taste of what went on at the summit!) Disney Loyalty The day started with Bruce Kimbrell from The Disney Institute who keynoted with a great speech on Disney and their keys to customer loyalty. Bruce asked a great question: Who are you loyal to and why? Some of the answers included the following:

  • Nordstrom – they treat you like you matter
  • Keen shoes – high quality product, and solid customer service if there is a problem
  • Sports team – get a sense of community
  • State Farm Insurance – they are there before the police!
  • Kroger Foods – great customer service experience

Each responder had their own reason for being loyal. Bruce shared that at Disney, they believe the greater the connection, the greater the loyalty! Relationships are built when two things happen:

  1. Customers want to associate with your brand beyond the transaction
  2. Your customers and employees interact positively with each other

Disney gets 80,000 people at their parks in one day. How do you positively interact with all of them? On average, each guest (Disney speak for customer) has 60 interactions with Disney cast members (employees) per day. This is 60 opportunities to make or break the experience; they are the face of Disney! If 59 are great, but number 60 is a jerk, what do I go home and talk about? Disney uses experience mapping to identify all points of contact with customers, look at the experience through the customers’ eyes, and then align Disney strengths to “moments of magic”. Key takeaway: plan it out! Identify and prioritize key opportunties in the customer experience, match specific tools to each opportunity, select partners to involve, then go make it happen! Thank you, Bruce, for all of your Disney insight. Swarming the Magic Kingdom I spent most of my day in this highly interactive activity, led by Frank Capek of nGenera (Don Tapscott’s company). He laid the foundation for the day by discussing the next generation customer experience. In other words, with the potential for collaboration found in social media (such as blogs, wikis, social networks, YouTube, etc), how can we enable customers to actively co-create their own experiences? This isn’t experience by intent (improving service levels) or experience by design (creating based on customer needs and priorities) but experience on demand (engage and co-create). After talking about this for awhile, Frank set us loose in Disneyland to take a closer look at what customer experiences are taking place there – down to the smallest detail. We rode rides, analyzed Main Street USA, and listened to Christmas music being aired in the park. We observed what it felt like to be a first-timer, what it felt like to stand in line, and how easy/difficult it was to get around the park. At the end of the day, we came back together and used our collective thinking to brainstorm ideas around not just improved customer experiences, but specifically how customer experiences could be different for those who are “digitally connected” (especially young people who live on social networks). Ideas included the following:

  • “Log in” at the park to learn about wait times in lines, get a personalized experience
  • Have Disney “follow you” around the park (opt-in, of course) via your mobile phone or simply your park ticket (inserted at various attractions) to log your activities and create a “storybook” of your day that could be emailed/link sent to you. You could even opt to have your log update your Facebook or MySpace status throughout the day, sharing your experience with your friends.
  • Using texting/Twitter to share issues with Disney in real-time

It was a great session to get out in the sunshine, look at things from a different perspective, then take and apply it back to our own companies: Walk in your customers’ shoes. Innovate the customer experience. Don’t forget social media! JetBlue and “Jetitude” Rob Maruster, Senior VP of Customer Service at JetBlue held a great session to share how they are bringing humanity back to air travel through servant leadership. Here are some tidbits:

  • JetBlue administers 35 customer surveys each flight (regardless of how full they are); 8% of customers give their feedback (a decent response rate)
  • They use Net Promoter Score (NPS), rather than just customer satisfaction, to gauge how well they are performing and look for opportunities for improvement. It seems to be directly correlated to whether they are running flights on time in a particular month!
  • If something doesn’t go as planned, JetBlue invokes their Customer Bill of Rights and, within 7 days of the flight, they send out flight vouchers to help make up for the inconvenience. “Please, let us try again!”
  • You have to be relevant to customers in order to drive customer loyalty.

I liked the way Rob shared about JetBlue’s customer-focused thinking as he discussed one of the key inputs to their Balanced Scorecard: Drive a Low Cost Culture. He was quick to point out that it is important to be smart about costs, but not to be cheap! “Don’t touch the things that touch the customer.” Great motto, Rob! Rob also talked about their JetBlue attitude, or “jetitude”. They have five “Be’s”:

  1. Be in Blue always (you are always on stage – see my related post!)
  2. Be personal
  3. Be the answer (don’t pass the buck; execs, please walk the talk)
  4. Be engaging (reach out to customers; don’t wait for them to come to you)
  5. Be thankful to every customer (actually thank them for their business)

Finally, Rob talked about the importance of “servant leadership”. Leadership brings all of the above together to serve the employee and, in turn, the customer. They need total transparency, and they need to be willing to get their hands dirty in order to help make it happen. Great talk, Rob! Oh, by the way, JetBlue collected business cards from everyone in the summit and gave away 2 JetBlue travel vouchers! Wow! Great way to show appreciation. The Red Rubber Ball Kevin Carroll opened the official conference at day’s end with his inspiring speech on the importance of play. Per Kevin,

“Play is serious business!”

Kevin encouraged all of us to harness the power of sport and play in everything we do – including our jobs. What inspires you? For Kevin, a simple red, rubber ball (like a playground ball) inspired him to live differently, with purpose, passion, and intention. In fact, he has an amazing life story that took him from a difficult childhood to the military, the NBA, to Nike, and ultimately to being a speaker/author who helps others reach for their dreams. He is a life-long learner, and he shared his “lessons from the playground”:

  1. Commit to it (find what you are passionate about and commit to it)
  2. Seek out encouragers (surround yourself with people who give you permission to dream big)
  3. Work out your creative muscle (need to reawaken our creative side)
  4. Prepare to shine (create your vision, make it clear)
  5. Speak up (stand up for something, what you believe in)
  6. Expect the unexpected (be forever curious, you never know where you will end up!)
  7. Maximize the day (live each day to the fullest – don’t try to get to tomorrow too soon)

Kevin was inspiring, entertaining, and unpredictable. He even tossed out balls into the audience and shared a video of playing “tag” at Nike – with 4,000 coworkers! He challenged us to get the most we can out of each day, as well as out of this conference. After his talk, Yemil Martinez (Director of New Media for the conference) and I had the opportunity to video Kevin’s discussion with Joanna Brandi, conference co-chair, as they discussed the future of this country and how play can help. I will upload that video later this week. Kevin then freely gave me a nice gift for my older son to encourage him to find his passion in life. Thank you, Kevin! Kevin was also nice enough to give me two minutes of his time to share his thoughts with my Customers Rock! readers (and you) on the importance of building community with customers. Thank you so much for your time and energy, Kevin! We will be following you. (Photo credit: nruboc)