Friday, 10 December 2010

Empowered connectors and mavens

 

  I realise I didn’t do much of a review of Empowered in my last post. And there are some things in there which deserve a bit more focus.

The first is the idea of mass online influencers who help spread trends through the web. These consist of two groups (see picture) based on Malcolm Gladwell’s analysis from ‘Tipping Point’ – mass connectors who know a wide variety of other people through social networks (huge Twitter followings, lots of Facebook friends etc), and mass mavens - experts and post and comment on particular topics. [This seems to correspond in part to Chris Brogan’s differentiation of social from new media.]

Mass connectors are a small proportion of all online users but account for 80% of all ‘influence impressions’ about products and services. Mass mavens are a similarly small proportion of online users and account for 80% of all influence posts. Exactly what these proportions are depends on the product or service in question. The reason I make this point here is that I think the same analysis could be made for employees too – but not many organisations I know consider these mass connectors and mavens within their talent groups!

The second model I like is the endless marketing funnel which doesn’t end with people becoming customers but goes on to them broadcasting about their experiences, creating influence, and leading to more people entering the top of the funnel. Again, I think this applies to employees too, although here I’d point out that the actual employee, not just their influence, can re-enter the top of the funnel again (see my Strategic HCM post on career partnership).

 

Technorati Tags: Josh Bernoff,Ted Schadler,Empowered,mass,connectors,mavens,social,media,funnel,employees First

 

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Thursday, 9 December 2010

Empowered customer service

 

  An incident last week triggered me to go back to ‘Empowered’, Josh Bernoff’s follow-up to ‘Groundswell’, which was published a few months ago.

The book argues that organisations must support and empower employees to solve customer problems.  To do this, they need HEROs: highly empowered and resourceful operatives, following a four-step ‘IDEA’ process (peer Influence analysis, Delivering groundswell customer service, Empowering customers with mobile and Amplifying your fans).

Anyway, what’s made me go back to the book was the example at the start of the sort of poor customer service that Bernoff’s HEROs are needed to resolve (Dooce vs Maytag).

I’ve long understood the power Twitter and social media give to people like Dooce, but I’ve never, until now, had a personal example.

Then this:

 

I was a bit concerned because I’d not booked these tickets, so even though I couldn’t find any records of this payment on any of my credit cards, I wanted to sort it out.

I’d tried phoning, I’d tried emailing, but wasn’t getting anywhere, so I thought I’d try to tweet (read from the bottom)…

 


thetrainline thetrainline 
@ 
@joningham Thanks John, glad we got there in the end. Have a good weekend. Ines
3 Dec 
WillCleare Will Cleare 
@ 
@joningham @karenwise @dougshaw1 glad #OffTwit could help #trainline
3 Dec 
joningham Jon Ingham 
@karenwise @dougshaw1 @WillCleare Sorted. Thanks for helping make it a priority for them. #trainline
3 Dec 
joningham Jon Ingham 
@ 
@thetrainline Well done Ines, thanks for sorting for me. Shame I had to rant over twitter to get it done. #trainline
3 Dec 
thetrainline thetrainline 
@ 
@joningham I tried to ring but line engaged. Sent u an email explaining. Ines
3 Dec 
joningham Jon Ingham 
I'm here. RT @thetrainline @joningham Thanks John. Under investigation as I type. I will be in touch shortly.
3 Dec 
karenwise Karen Wise 
@ 
@joningham it seems to worked! #trainline #goodluck
3 Dec 
thetrainline thetrainline 
@ 
@joningham Thanks John. Under investigation as I type. I will be in touch shortly.
3 Dec 
joningham Jon Ingham 
Sure (you have had them b4). RT @thetrainline @joninghamhey, sorry to hear that. Do you want to DM your e-mail address and phone no.? Ines
3 Dec 
joningham Jon Ingham 
I bet they are!: thetrainline (@thetrainline) is now following your tweets (@joningham) on Twitter [ We're on Twitter to help] Let's see...
3 Dec 
dougshaw1 Doug Shaw 
@ 
@joningham hope you get a resolution soon - could always write a song about it!
3 Dec 
thetrainline thetrainline 
@ 
@joningham hey, sorry to hear that. Do you want to DM your e-mail address and phone no.? Ines
3 Dec 
WillCleare Will Cleare 
@ 
@joningham #OffTwit? #trainline #fail
3 Dec 
joningham Jon Ingham 
@dougshaw1 @karenwise thx anyway - feel much better now!
3 Dec 
joningham Jon Ingham 
I was sort of thinking twitter would act as my customer complaints body! RT @karenwise @joningham That is ridiculous - #trainline #fail
3 Dec 
dougshaw1 Doug Shaw 
@ 
@joningham starting to look like one eh? train companies quite good at #custserv #fail
3 Dec 
joningham Jon Ingham 
Does it classify as a stupid thing to a customer then? RT @dougshaw1 get @joningham his #trainline money back? they don't seem to help
3 Dec 
joningham Jon Ingham 
#Trainline is currently experiencing high volumes. Try again.. Option 3.. 3.. 3.. - engaged tone. Cut off. Not happy... turn to twitter...
3 Dec 
dougshaw1 Doug Shaw 
Should we have a whip round to get @joningham his #trainlinemoney back? They don't seem to be able to help
3 Dec 
karenwise Karen Wise 
@ 
@joningham That is ridiculous - can you complain to a consumer complaints body? or at least say you're going to#trainline #fail
3 Dec 
joningham Jon Ingham 
I email #trainline. They email me back - I need to phone in. Oh oh - tried that before! Why do they think I've been emailing them!
3 Dec 
joningham Jon Ingham 
5 days later, finally get them to agree to escalate the issue. 3 days later, this morning, still not heard from the escalatee#trainline
3 Dec 
joningham Jon Ingham 
Just because #trainline don't want to give me my £200 back I think! RT @dougshaw1 @joningham can't cancel what you haven't booked..do go on
3 Dec 
dougshaw1 Doug Shaw 
@ 
@joningham can't cancel what you haven't booked.....do go on
3 Dec 
joningham Jon Ingham 
They can't even give me any detail on my credit card used to find out if someone is still defrauding me on something else!#trainline
3 Dec 
joningham Jon Ingham 
Starts last week with an email - my £200 ticket has been confirmed. Emailed #trainline back - I hadn't booked it. Sorry, they can't cancel
3 Dec 
joningham Jon Ingham 
OK, if you're sure the RT @dougshaw1@joningham go for it Jon - we need a Friday rantarama #trainline sucks
3 Dec 
joningham Jon Ingham 
... since it looks like they'll be going on for a while yet. You'll laugh, though I've not been. #trainline sucks
3 Dec 
dougshaw1 Doug Shaw 
@ 
@joningham go for it Jon - we need a Friday rantarama
3 Dec 
joningham Jon Ingham 
I should have really been tweeting on the problems I've been having with #trainline.com since last week. Might as well start now...
3 Dec 

 

This is the email I got sent:

 

OK, so not quite the same level as Dooce’s story, but then I don’t have over a million followers either.  And it will do for my social media training sessions!

 

There are a few lessons that I’d draw from this.

Firstly, if you’re not on twitter yet, then this is just one more reason that perhaps you should be.  Tired of not getting the response you need from an organisation or consumer complaints body? – if my, as well as Dooce’s experiences are anything to go on, this is the way (that sometimes) you get your answer.  Especially if you’re in a leadership role in a business or other organisation you need to understand this thing.  And the best way to understand it is to do it.  Sign up and join in!

 

As for the Trainline, I thought Inis did a great job – she stepped on my ranting quickly and cooled things down.  And within a couple of hours she’d sorted things out for me.    As I wrote in my tweet, however, it’s a shame Trainline employees on the other end of my emails couldn’t have done this themselves (and nothing can excuse making it virtually impossible for customers to contact you on the phone).  What was the difference?  Was it just that I was lucky finding Inis – or is it because she’s one of Bernoff’s HEROs that she’s been put on the twitter stream?

Actually of course, I don’t know whether Ines is a HERO or whether she’s just doing what her managers tell her.  And in a way, that’s how I would summarise my thoughts on ‘Empowered’ too.  I agree that organisations need to unleash employees to energise customers and transform their businesses.  But I don’t think they necessarily need to look for grass roots approaches to do this.  Business leaders can take hold of this agenda too.

 

And just one more point on the Trainline.  If the above wasn’t the reason my problem was resolved, is it just that a developing conversation followed by 4,000 people got a little more attention?  If so, then I think this has got to change.  Increasingly, organisations are going to have to assume that all of their customers are on Twitter and sort out their emails as fast as they do their tweets.

 

For other companies, I’d simply say you need an Ines.  There are a lot of things the Trainline could have done better – better email response, better call handling and so on.  But at least Ines was there to catch the ball before it dropped completely.  I’d about finished my rant but someone else might have gone on to write much worse if Ines hadn’t responded when she did!

 

Technorati Tags: Josh Bernoff,Ted Schadler,Empowered,Forrester,customer,service,social,media,Trainline,complaint,Twitter

 

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