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NSA Leaks: The Big Data Two Step for Businesses This post originally appeared on LinkedIn as part of their influencer program on June 10, 2013.  To see the original post click here. I expect we will be seeing a lot of dancing over the next few...


Coming to an Agency Near You! This post originally appeared on LinkedIn as part of their influencer program on September 23, 2013.  To see the original post click here. I am often pondering what is next in the world in which we...


Customer Service Week: Here's Your Call Center This post originally appeared on LinkedIn as part of their influencer program on October 7, 2013.  To see the original post click here. As we begin Customer Service Week I want to thank all those...


Defining the Customer Experience Role This post originally appeared on LinkedIn as part of their influencer program on October 2, 2013.  To see the original post click here. Customer experience is a term growing in popularity within businesses...


Apple's #Fail When Dealing with @MarthaStewart This post originally appeared on LinkedIn as part of their influencer program on September 30, 2013.  To see the original post click here. It feels like it was the Tweet heard around the world: "I...


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Twitter is Not Your Answer to Service

Posted on : 15-02-2011 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Business, Customer Service, Social Media

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Fortune Magazine has an interesting piece by Anne Vandermey comparing Customer Service by channel, including phone, website, and Twitter.  They provided the same question to each channel and measured accuracy and speed of response.  What they found from most of the interactions was phone was still the best way to receive service.  I was not surprised by the findings, but there are a few other key points that should be made.  Here are a few:

1)   Customer Preferred Communication Style – Not everyone is going to prefer Twitter, the same way not everyone prefers phone or email.  My preference is email when I do not need an immediate response or I know a proper response will require research by the company.  If I have an immediate need, I will still call, although that is not my preferred means of communication.  Someone requesting a response via Twitter may not care if it takes a few hours to obtain the information.  They simply may like the fact that the answer will come to them in the place they are already hanging out.

2)   Customer’s Now Own Your Brand Message – Not just with Twitter, but also Facebook, YouTube, blogs, forums, user reviews and so many other social websites, the Customer now owns your message.  They can be very loud regarding a bad or good experience with a product or service.  They take this message to any of the websites they can.

3)   Speed of Information – Depending on the nature of your business, Twitter can highlight an area of concern faster than other internal communications.  The reason for this is the way Twitter is designed.  Twitter asks a question: ‘What’s Happening?’  The answer to this question can provide insight prior to a Customer even calling.  Many times they state why they are calling a company before they even finishing dialing the number on the phone.  Ultimately listening is key, but I would say the same regarding all communications methods

Overall Twitter is not for everything.  It is difficult for many firms to discuss Customer private data in a public forum, so there are times conversations must shift to other communication methods.  The power of Twitter and other social media is the shift to the Customer.  It is raising the importance of Customer Service, and many companies are now scrambling to fix broken service departments, or ones focused on inaccurate goals.  In this new world order, the Customer is gaining the upper hand (and so is your front line employee), whether you are on Twitter or not.  Twitter is not the cause, nor is it the solution.  There has been a Customer revolution going on; are you ready for the evolution of your business?  To me this is the more interesting conversation instead of speed of response.  At the same time I enjoyed the article because it did show how some are focusing Twitter more on the PR side of service and not improving all channels.

Twitter is the Pangaea, but it is Not Nirvana

Posted on : 19-11-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Business, Social Media

Tags: ,


Pangaea Image Courtesy of Solstation.com

I am in Las Vegas right now attenting the WOMMA Summit.  Last night I had dinner with a good friend, Pete Blackshaw.  Much of the conversation was about a piece that was in USA Today on Wednesday titled “Social Media, like Twitter, Change Customer Service.”  Needless to say when I read the opening discussing a missed opportunity for my team I was a little upset.  But this really started me thinking about Twitter and businesses that use it.  Expectations have been high as this new engagement tool has been developed for businesses.  I am proud to be one of the people that have really shown how it can be done.  At the same time I think there is a divergence between the expectations and the realities.

USA Today Picture Taken By Eileen Blass

USA Today Picture Taken By Eileen Blass

I have heard businesses and individuals discuss the space as nirvana for communications.  I do not believe it has achieved, or will ever achieve that level for anyone.  Nirvana is way too high of a threshold for a tool to such as this to achieve.  There are faults, like most means of communication, such as a fail whale once in a while (although much improved) or a tweet not coming through to the many tools that use the Twitter API.  Besides the technical things that can happen,  let’s face facts, we are human and at times we make mistakes. 

So if this space is not nirvana, what is it and how can companies use it?  Well have you ever heard of the theory of Pangaea (sometime spelled Pangea)?  This is the theory that at one time all the world’s continents were together as one; the continent of Pangea.  Twitter has proven to bring the world together for numerous events around the world, the most discussed probably the protests in Iran.  I have always seen the benefit to Twitter as a way of meeting new friends (Facebook being the space for the friends I already know).  Through Twitter search we can learn almost anything and connect with people that  have the knowledge we are looking for or the thoughts we want to connect with.  For businesses, it is not the space to force one sided conversations, as many people have sought.  First and foremost it is a space that is worth listening to in an effort to learn and obtain information faster.  Search is the key.  Through this your organization will transform into a smaller place because you are connected directly to the Customers thoughts.  In business it is impossible for every executive to review every interaction, but reviewing 140 characters will provide you the same information in a much easier manner to digest.  One of the keys to this is this is not a metric or number, but instead the Customer’s view in their own words.  Nothing is more powerful than that.

It can also be used to have actual dialogue with your Customers allowing them to be part of business solutions. Customers and employees of all levels have wanted a say in business operations for years, but there were no easy ways to do this, and in many cases it was not welcomed by individual leaders.  The dictator style of leadership. Well social media has killed that syle and today it is involving others.  It is a great way to do it because it creates immediate buy in.  Those involved also have a vested interest in success.  Twiter is an easy tool to involve your Customers.  As you build a following, you can ask questions, even provide business problems and the crowd will help provide answers.  This to me is probably the most enjoyable aspect to Twitter.  I know some will say not every Customer is on Twitter, and that is a fair statement.  At the same time there is no cost effective means to do this like in the same manner to all Customers. 

Twitter is bringing the world together, even in business.  Embrace this fact and strive to do the right things and your business will be successful.

You Might Get a Headache from Social Media

Posted on : 18-11-2008 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Brands, Social Media

Tags: , ,


How effective is your company listening to social media?  Do you have the ability to respond quickly and effectively within the space.  Everyone knows my story on Twitter, so I will not go into that here.  But one thing I have always said is the true ROI for being involved in social media is the cost for not being involved.  Over the past few days a story began to unfold regarding a brand many of us have used (although based on what I have seen, many will not use going forward).  The brand is Motrin.  Lets watch a little of this headache unfold:

It all started with this ad campaign (you can provide your own adjectives). I think Peggy Olson (Mad Men) would have told Donald Draper no on this one! 



That was the beginning of the headache for the maker of Motrin, McNeil Consumer Healthcare (A division of Johnson and Johnson).  As I have stated before, one of the reasons Twitter is a good place for business is news starts in places like that or online forums.  From there it usually spreads to other sources such as blogs, or in this case You Tube.  Eventually the information finds its way to traditional media.  Well this is just one of those stories.  So after the ad campaign began, let the tweets and the headache begin.  Here is an image of the website:


Moms began to tweet about the offensive nature of the ad.  These mom’s made it clear that it is not a pain to hold their child close to them and they love to do it.  So this ad was truly backfiring on them and they did not know it, at least until someone decided to build the video.  Instead of rebuilding all the tweets, check out the You Tube video created:



This started numerous blog posts on the topic.  Check out Google Blogsearch, Twitter Search, or a search of You Tube.  This caused a large hit to the brand that will show in search results for a long time to come.  Now at this time the company has posted an apology on the Motrin website:



There are a number of lessons for brands.

  1. Common Sense Marketing – First and foremost use common sense in advertising.  I am not a marketing person, but I could see this one coming the moment I saw the ad.
  2. Listening in Social Media – Listen to spaces such as Twitter because it will give you a heads up very early and hopefully respond before there is a video and numerous blog entries such as this one.
  3. Engagement – If you had individuals already in spaces like Twitter, reaching out at the time of the initial tweets may have prevented this (although no guarantee).  It at least would have made it so some of the individuals would have known the brand was listening.  I will write a post soon on engagement by companies! 
  4. Rapid Response Culture – Create a rapid response culture that would allow this to be escalated to the right people and decisions made immediately.

I would like to thank the Moms on Twitter for sharing the story – I have become friends with many of you and I appreciate all the hard work you do.  I also found the blog posts from David Armano and Pete Blackshaw very helpful (as always)