Comcast and service are two words that have been closely aligned and analyzed since Frank Eliason initiated the @ComcastCares program on Twitter. Eliason built a new channel for engaging customers to solve their problems. More importantly, he also developed a new infrastructure at Comcast to learn from their experiences. Frank has since joined CITI, but before his departure, he solidified the future of @ComcastCares by placing it in the hands of Bill Gerth and Kip Wetzel. Under the direction of Gerth and Wetzel, Comcast’s social customer service program continues to develop a culture of customer-centricity. At the same time, the team is leading internal efforts to transform products, processes, and services to not just respond to negative experiences, but also improve them to eliminate problems in the future.
It’s not a widely kept secret, but customers do indeed keep companies in business. While businesses have long invested in improving customer relationships, the time has come to think beyond efficiencies and automation and examine new opportunities to rethink customer experiences overall. Why? Customers are more connected than ever before. The role they play has exploded beyond transactions and is now influencing the transactions of others as well as contributing to the brand experience at levels never before seen.
In the past, I had the good fortune of working with the Get Satisfaction team to help brands embrace new media to improve customer relationships. During those early years, I learned a great deal about the process and corresponding hurdles that face change agents as organizations evaluate new technology to socialize CRM. I also began what would later become years of immersion in understanding and defining the role leadership plays in changing organizational culture and methodologies to help businesses truly get closer to customers. Along the way, I met Jeff Nolan, at the time, a venture capitalist and later an operational executive. Jeff is now VP of Product Marketing at Get Satisfaction and we recently spent some time together talking about, well, everything. It was a great discussion that ended up as two posts…”Brevity and Depth: Part 1 and Part 2.”
Part three in a four-part series on innovation and change as the new schools of business management…
To call Zappos an online shoe store takes away from the brilliance behind the 12-year-old e-commerce powerhouse. While its original premise was based on helping people find the shoes they want, in one place, online, and discounted, it certainly evolved into something nothing short of disruptive. As we hear so often with technology startups, Zappos was born in a college dorm room.
In early 2007, Chris Heuer, Shel Israel, Deb Schultz, Giovanni Rodriguez, and I explored the evolution of social media within the enterprise at an intimate business event in Palo Alto. One of the more memorable discussions focused on the rise of an official role within business to listen to social discourse and channel inbound questions and comments as well as official responses. The question eventually arose, how do we classify this new role within the organization? The designation of “Community Manager” earned the greatest support that day, but it did so with a caveat, “communities, by organic design, could not be managed.”
Jeremiah Owyang, industry analyst at Altimeter Group, published a report that sent shock waves throughout the global creative industry. For large agencies, it represented a harbinger of change. For specialized groups, the report was a declaration of validation.
Welcome to the (R)evolution, a new series that connects you to the people, trends, and ideas defining the future of business, marketing, and media. In episode 8, I proudly welcome Frank Eliason, senior VP of Social Media at Citibank.
Perhaps the most difficult aspects of Social Media to embrace are the changes in our behavior and overall philosophy it necessitates in order to earn relevance and ultimately prominence in consumer hearts, minds, and markets.
Simply put, Social Media makes us vulnerable and officially ends an era of perceived control threaded by the illusion of invincibility.
Wherever the balance of influence falls in new media, without genuine, empathetic service, recognition, or reciprocity, we are only extending the very things that prevent us from forming meaningful connections.
Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.
His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.