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Moving Forward! Enjoying the Ride

Posted on : 13-01-2011 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Customer Service, Leadership, Personal

Tags: ,

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The past few years have been very transformative for me, as they have for many of us in the social media space.  This transformation, like all others, has had many ups and downs.  I tend to always portray an upbeat, positive view on where I am and where I am headed, but I will not say it has not been tested at times.  Overall I feel very lucky to have had recognition for doing work that I truly love.  I also feel lucky to have had the opportunity to connect with so many of you.  I learned from you everyday and look to do that even further.  Recently you have seen an increase in the number of posts, and I hope to continue to that for a long time to come.

I have had a debate in my own mind regarding where I was headed in life and how I would get there.  I am not going to tell you that I have everything pegged but I do know where my focus is.  Recently I had a conversation with a dear friend and advisor regarding my career.  We spoke a lot about technology, changing business environment and key decision points that need to be made at times.  Rich will probably never read this, but it was an extremely helpful conversation.  Right now social media is the hot thing, and I strongly believe it will change businesses, especially how they deal with the Customers and also their employees.  I plan to help lead this change in many fronts!

The past year has been an amazingly successful for me, but one of the reasons I have not blogged as much is I had much on my mind.  As any reader here knows, Customer Service is my passion.  To me, social media has simply been a tool I could use to express that passion.  There have been points where I lost some of that passion due to interactions I rarely talk about.  I have had my share of negative interactions, including threats to myself and my family.  One reached the level of requiring a restraining order.  When things like that happen, you naturally question the paths you have chosen, no matter how successful they are.  If you want to understand me better, know that I tend to want to share everything (I am not good at giving surprises), so when you notice I get quiet here, there is probably things on my mind, that are not easy or appropriate to share.  It is hard for me to do that, but we all must recognize there are times that is the best approach, no matter how hard it is.

So back to my conversation with Rich.  We were discussing how people who move fast, especially driven by technology or unique knowledge tend to have career paths with ups, followed by downs.  Then when they adapt to the next big thing, they ride the roller coaster back up, at least until the next dive.  There are others who plan out their career in a manner that it keep climbing.  Usually this is much more methodical.  Part of this is knowing what the end game really is.  Where do you want to be.  For me when it comes to career, someday I may want to work on my own as a consultant, but that day is not today.  My career aspirations are simple.  I want to attain the role of Chief Customer Officer.  This is not a role that exists in many places, but as companies realize the changing world environment, they will learn that the Customer experience is the key to success in the long term.  It can not be buzz words but a complete transformation of the business approach.  It also requires new leadership in the Customer Service world to grab the seat on their own.  This has not typically been the type of leader within that world.  Times are changing, and Customer Service must move forward.

So how do I plan on moving in this direction?  First I do believe the transformation aspects of social will help lead the way in this career path.  The interest in the space provides many unique opportunities internal to an organization, but also external.  I will continue to be at the forefront of this.  This year I have been provided the opportunity to join the board of directors for the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals.  If you have any involvement with the Customer, I highly recommend joining this organization.  I learn from every member I have interacted with.  They are just as passionate about the Customer experience.  Through this involvement, I like to continue to learn, while helping to provide the leadership to help everyone of their members to take the seat at the table.  Together we are moving the Customer Service world forward!

If you have not noticed, I have much more confidence today, but it is not alway that way.  Last month I was asked about my interest in joining the board of directors for the Council of Better Business Bureaus.  I can tell you my immediate response was yes (in fact in may have been hell yes).  Right after sending it, I started to look over the current board and I started to think I am not worthy.  To me the BBB is the epitome of service and integrity.  The BBB can be traced back to 1912, and during the majority of that time they were the leader in fostering honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers, instilling consumer confidence and contributing to a trustworthy marketplace for all.  Their history has not been perfect.  Right now the BBB is going through its own transformation.  Like many businesses, the BBB is made up of many silos around the US and Canada.  This, the changing world we live in, and other factors led to the need for the transformation.  I have confidence in everyone I met with the CBBB (the Council of Better Business Bureaus) that they are headed in the right direction.  I look at this transformation as a great opportunity for me to represent each of the Customers that the BBB serves.  In my view they serve businesses that are paying for the accreditation, non-members companies who they still work with to resolve complaints, and the general public.  So in my view, those Customers are who I represent, and I will always be happy to have your feedback (frank [at] frankeliason.com).  Together we are going to move the BBB forward.

So I am happy to report to you that I am moving forward with a clear focus and mission.  I look forward to have you with me for the ride.

EDITORS NOTE:  I am trying to write more posts, but you may not see posts over the next week due to the BBB Board Meeting and other commitments, but I promise you will be seeing many more posts in the future. Thank you!