Tag Archives: Dawn Lacallade

Creating Exceptional Customer Relationships

Creating Exceptional Customer Relationships, Lessons learned from Kellie Parker of Sega,
By Dawn Lacallade, Conference Chair, Social Media and Community 2.0 Strategies Conference

I often find myself trying to explain the importance of Community Management and relationship building as a cornerstone of Community Strategy. Those of us that have been doing this for years, can cite examples and practices that demonstrate what it looks like when this is done right. It is absolutely inspiring when you find an outstanding example.

Yesterday, Kellie Parker gave an inspired presentation on how the Sega team does exactly that. What started with an overflowing Marketing closet, became the ‘free stuff Friday’. While this is a great engagement technique, this is not the remarkable part. The beauty in her example was the execution. They choose several items to give away each week. They video tape the items early in the week. They use video to personalize the community management team. They begin videotaping as the team sets up in hope of catching a moment worthy of including in their blooper reel. The focus on these team members as ambassadors and going on that next step to personalize them with the bloopers’ that is the art of community management.

These same community managers, that are aligned by product vs tool, do all of the community management. They are the face of Sega to their customers. They are gamers. They are genuine. People connect with them. Kellie and her team look at it as their job to not only help the customers be loyal to Sega, but to help the employees be loyal to the customers. To do this, the team has erected a ‘Wall of Awesome’. The Wall of Awesome is a display of comments, art, fan letters, and funny stories that are intended to remind employees that the customers are the reason we are all here.

Kellie also gave great examples of how they had a great UGC video creation contest and an equally impressive viral hit. But central to the success of all of these endeavors was these same Community Managers. Way to go Julian, Aaron, David, Laurie and Craig. Thanks for being a great example of exceptional!

Yes Virginia there is ROI in Social Media

A common theme today revolved around getting management to buy-in to social media initiatives. Promoting what, Dawn Lacallade, Solarwinds, calls community health ‘ participation, feedback ‘ might be a nice measure of success for a community manager, but they aren’t going to convince a CEO to invest. To gain a CEO’s commitment you need to demonstrate business value. You need to think in terms of ROI.

  • Improved net promoter score driven by a closer with your customers
  • Reduced customer service costs due to the community answering the consumer questions
  • Increased sales by better knowing what the consumer wants

The good news is case studies are emerging regarding the positive impact of social media.

  • Solarwinds’ R&D budget allocation runs approximately 50% lower than industry average driven by their community involvement in product development
  • One of the 35 ideas by Turbo Tax’s Inner Circle members has generated $19MM in revenue over three years
  • Scholastic tapped into its community to redesign its flyer resulting in a 3% increase in sales versus its former design

How are you defining the return on your social media investment?

More than just talking heads: How to pick a Community Consultant

By Dawn Lacallade, Community Manager at SolarWinds

Like picking a Doctor, Lawyer or Tax Professional, picking the right Consultant can make or break your effort to build a great Community for your company or organization. I have chatted with many of you who have chosen poorly and several who have chosen well and tried to put your lessons learned into print here for others.

In my opinion, this is a lot like a good hiring process:

1. Understand who you are looking for and why

2. Find candidates that match

3. Ensure you do a good background check

1. The first thing you must do is to decide what kind of consultant you are looking for. Do you want an agency to run a campaign or someone to build a comprehensive, goals based, long term plan? Are you looking for someone to just build a plan or someone who will continue on and share best practices as you implement?

One big caution: Do not hire someone who has a focus on a single tool for an overarching strategy. It would be like going to a surgeon for diagnosis.

2. To find the best Consultants, rely on Word of Mouth. What companies do you want to emulate? Who did they use? Many of those of us in the trenches of this industry will gladly point you to a few that we respect.

Unfortunately, this space seems to attract people who manufacture credibility. Look carefully. Credibility DOES NOT equal the number of blog posts or the size of the twitter following. Look for actual experience.

3. Now that you have a couple of companies to ‘interview’, be sure to take a complete look into their backgrounds. Do the Consultants you would be working with have solid backgrounds in delivering communities? Can they show the goals that were set and the ROI they achieved? Can they customize a plan to fit you or do they use a one size fits all model? Do they have experience with a range of community tools? Can they give you contacts at the companies they have worked with as references? Are they willing and able to transfer their expertise and knowledge to you within the working relationship?

One of the most challenging things to evaluate is their ethics. A good starting point is to ensure they agree with and practice within the WOMMA code of ethics.