Today’s interview is with Carolyn Blunt and Martin Hill-Wilson, authors and leading experts in the field of customer service and social customer service. They agreed to join me to talk about their new book: Delivering Effective Social Customer Service: How to Redefine the Way You Manage Customer Experience and Your Corporate Reputation.
This interview follows on from my recent interview: Marketing Requires Not Just New Tools and Skills But New Attitudes – Interview with Dee Blick – and is number seventy five in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things and helping businesses innovate, become more social and deliver better service.
Here’s the highlights from the interview I did with Carolyn and Martin:
- Recently co-authored a book: Delivering Effective Social Customer Service
- As trainers, speakers, writers and thinkers about customer service and social customer service (customer service delivered via social media channels), they have written a book that is intended to be a guide for those wanting to implement social customer service in their organisation.
- Social customer service is both a new channel and a new discipline.
- There is a difference between thinking multi-channel and cross-channel.
- If a customer is emailing, phoning or tweeting you then they will expect that the business will have a single view of all of their communication with you.
- The book includes a detailed roadmap of how to get started.
- It is written as a ‘paint by numbers’ book, which requires that you define your strategy up front as doing so will make execution that much easier.
- The roadmap contains 15 competencies which you can pick and mix and put them together in the strategy framework that the book describes so that you come up with a strategy that suits your particular circumstances.
- This approach can apply to organisations both large and small. Martin’s advice if you run a smaller organisation is to discount the complexity issue in the roadmap if it doesn’t apply but take the lessons that are sitting in the middle of the advice.
- Social customer service can help a business become more proactive in it’s delivery of customer service.
- Digital has allowed organisations and customers to be much more self-sufficient.
- If your market supports the need for community, and that’s not universally applicable, then you have the foundation for a strategy that has customer self service and peer to peer support as its ultimate aim.
- This has a clear ROI to it. If one customer helps another customer then that only saves the company money.
- Products and services that tend to do better in community development are those that are dealing with complex and continuously developing portfolios ie. triple play, software etc etc.
- Providers that don’t have these complexity issues, however, can develop and/or sponsor communities around lifestyle or other issues associated with, or adjacent to, their product or service.
- The authors recognise that there is a risk that this type of book could become obsolete very quickly as technology continues to develop so fast.
- Therefore, they have deliberately not tied it to any particular technology or social platform and, rather, have concentrated on the type of communication skills and behaviours needed to deliver customer service in an ever-changing social environment.
- Social media and social customer service are forcing organisations, particularly their customer facing teams i.e. PR, Marketing and Customer Service to all work together and adopt, what the authors call: “One Agenda”.
- This should be started via the annual planning cycle, which would be an ideal opportunity to get together, talk, share goals and plan how the teams can better work together.
- All teams talk about the customer in different terms: Marketers talks about segments, Customer Service talks about cases and Sales talks about the funnel.
- For those that are a bit daunted about where to start, if you are starting from scratch then there is a great interview/case study in the book about Carillion and what they did to get started and grow their social customer service capability.
- Most firms are likely to be up and running now when it comes to offering some kind of customer service response via their social media channels. Therefore, the book aims to give them a guide to what they know and, more importantly, what they don’t know as they move forward on this journey.
- The book even goes as far as covering legal considerations, crisis and risk management.
About Carolyn (adapted from her LinkedIn profile)
Carolyn is a professional speaker, author and MD of a training and development company (Real Results) which has specialist expertise in the contact centre industry.
Carolyn started Real Results in 2003 after working as an in-house trainer for Fujitsu Services. Since then she has grown the business to an established team with a range of interesting and wonderful clients which has provided a range of experiences for her and her team…. from one-off modules to huge culture change programmes; from long-term senior leadership programmes to front line telephone techniques; and from team building events to conference speaking.
About Martin (adapted from his LinkedIn profile)
Martin is a long standing member of the UK customer community (aka customer service/ management/experience/engagement). Most often contributing as a keynote speaker, blogger and curator of industry trends.
Communication has always been the core of his work life and he hasserved as an experiential trainer, consultant, facilitator, director and CEO for a variety of brands. Added together, these roles took him on a journey from Learning & Development, through Marketing & Business Strategy to Technology & Workflow.
Finally, don’t forget to check out their book and grab a copy over at Amazon. You can straight there by clicking here.
Thanks to Ed Yourdon for the image.