Yesterday a large group of bloggers got together for a shopping experience at Allens Boots in Austin, TX. It was an event organized by Richard Binhammer and sponsored by Dell. Out of 300 RSVPs, the turn out was probably 100+ - and that during SxSWi, which is an event hard to leave for any length of time.
Richard called it the all hat... and no cattle.
I met Richard a couple of years ago when I wrote what was probably the first post that connected Dell's social media outreach with the company regaining its mojo. Here's how they did it to begin addressing customer issues:
a) On one side, the conversations were about Dell the company, products, business model, and corporate reputation – often drawing assistance from "subject matter experts"
b) They used a "swat" team of “the best and brightest” tech support folks to solve technical and customer service issues as they learned about them on the other.
Our get together was a lot of fun. Among the attendees were Becky Carroll of Customers Rock!, Connie Reece of Every Dot Connects, and Leigh Duncan-Durst of Livepath. These ladies are especially important to customer conversation. Cheekiness with friends aside, all hat... and no cattle can be a problem when it comes to customer service.
In a quick brainstorm with Becky we came up with a couple of examples:
- Organizations that are measuring the wrong things - i.e., how many calls are processed an hour vs. the results achieved for customers.
- The restaurant is beautiful and the food is great, but the service sucks. Has this ever happened to you?
- In B2B, it could be a promotion that oversells a poor product. There is an expectation created in the marketplace and the experience ends up not matching it.
- Another example is those companies that fail to be transparent, thinking that it won't catch up to them - yet everyone knows what's going on and is talking about them. What would be a personal example of this for you?
To me customer conversation is an opportunity to get to the substance of what your business is about - or what it could become. The get together we had was not just fun, it was an extension of the work the Dell team has been doing to reach out to the community, meet its members, and have conversations with them.
Those conversations are coming back to the organization and affecting the business - probably not as fast as you'd like them to, but they are nonetheless. Involvement in social media has allowed Dell to go direct with customers, without concerns as to who is considered influential or A-lister - to them all customers are A-Listers. Today at Fast Company expert blog we talk about how to turn customers into fans.
[image courtesy of jaxpix]