Employee Customer Conversation Matrix – Where are you engaged?

As customers, brands, topic enthusiasts and activists engage in online conversations across social networks, public and private online communities, we all have the opportunity to grow our knowledge understanding and appreciation of others.

From an organisations point of view, the ability to understand the relevance of these conversations and to be able to harness and develop them in order to grow and develop their people, products and services, requires a cultural shift which embraces conversation and collaboration underpinned by a model which reflects where these conversations are taking place.

The employee-customer conversation matrix offers a model to map customer conversations which are taking place today with the areas your employees are working on delivering and improving…

Which conversations are your employees and customers engaged in today and where could you be working in partnership with your customers in the future?

    GiffGaff – A Social Business Case Study

    giffgaff is a sim only mobile network which provides a range of pay as you mobile services, wholly owned by Telefonica/02, and operated as a separate limited company.

    giffgaff is widely recognised as a social business pioneer having developed, implemented and running a member(customer)  centric social business model, partnering with their member (customer) community) to develop and build their business.

    giffgaff members are at the centre of the business model, providing

    –  peer to peer member support, reducing on-going customer support costs

    –  feedback on product features, pricing and support

    –  ideas for new product development and innovation

    –  online word of mouth marketing support



    the giffgaff member community is managed by a team of 16-20 community managers, headed by Vincent Boon, who you can follow on Twitter @vincentboon where he provides updates on the giffgaff community and their interactions.

    Looking at the giffgaff community, the most active threads are the peer to peer member support area with over 1.5million posts – highlighted in red above and the innovation, promotion and improvements thread with almost 116k posts, highlighted in green above.

    Underlying giffgaffs online model is Lithium’s online community platform which provides the underlying technology and member activity analytics.  Follow Lithium on Twitter @lithiumtech

    giffgaff encourage their members to spread the word and provide them with a range of tools to share across social networks, including facebook and twitter.  Follow @giffgaff on twitter here.     Like giffgaff on Facebook here.

    Members are rewarded twice a year, based on their level of member support activity, involvement in product testing and contribution to product ideas and other feedback.  Earlier this month, June 2012, giffgaff paid back £1.1m to the giffgaff community, a massive increase over 2 years from the first payback of £27k, demonstrating the increasing involvement and support of their member community.  Read giffgaffs update here.

    In recognition of their success, giffgaff has featured in a number of case studies:

    Lithium – giffgaff customer case study
    Figaro Digital giffgaff case study
    Giffgaff Manages Its Community To Deliver A Great Customer Experience, by Jonathan Browne.
    Case Study: Giffgaff Uses Co-Creation To Build A Differentiated Mobile Service Business by Doug Williams
    GiffGaff – a case study of customers in control by Laurance Buchanan at Ernst & Young

      Online Customer Communities, Innocent Drinks & TomTom

      Last week, I attended the European Customer Experience World conference at the Hilton T5 Heathrow, and chaired the social media stream on the first day, where we had 3 great speakers, Joe McEwan, from Innocent Drinks, Jonathan Browne from Forrester and Kenneth Refsgaard from TomTom.

      Each of our speakers provided insights into how different companies are creating connections with their customers through online communities, what struck me was the difference between Innocent Drinks and TomTom in their approach to creating and connecting with their customer communities.

      From the start, Innocent Drinks have had a close connection with their customers, from the sale of the first bottle of their crushed fruit drinks at a Music Festival to today, where they engage with them across multiple channels, online, on their packaging and through their events like this years innocent fruit sports day in regents park.

      The culture of innocent drinks is fun, collaborative and enthusiastic and it is their ability to communicate this to their customers and create emotional connections with them creating ongoing dialogue and include them in their various initiatives with great success.  The primary channels used by innocent drinks are their website, blog, facebook page, twitter feed, youtube channel, flickr and Instagram.

      On the other hand TomTom is a different type of company, selling technology based products, which attracts a different kind of enthusiast and advocate than innocent drinks.  innocent drinks, have brand advocates who identify with the culture of the company, the fun lifestyle reflected in their communication, packaging and events where TomTom advocates have a keen interest in technology, what it does, how it works, the problems it solves and share their technical knowledge with each other helping to resolve product support issues.

      TomTom provides a range of communication channels for their customers, their website, a hosted customer community, facebook page, twitter feed, youtube channel, linkedin careers group and google+ page, all of which are managed by the TomTom community team.  TomToms’ hosted community partner is Lithium who provide both the hosted platform plus the expertise in growing and developing an active and vibrant community.

      TomTom use their social channels to communicate with and facilitate conversations between their customers as well as informing prospective employees about current opportunities and life at TomTom.

      Both organisations have successfully created an engaged customer community, however both their initial approach and on-going conversations are different.  The following table highlights some of the key areas and the differences between the 2 companies:

      Community   Strategy Innocent TomTom
      Primary Business Goal Brand Advocacy & Marketing Customer support
      Approach to growing community Organic with the business Hosted community launched on a specific date
      Strategy Evolving, learn as they go Structured strategy for hosted community
      Communication Channels Combined offline/packaging/online web and   social and live events Strategic Initiative – customer
      Contact with Brand Direct Direct
      Communication Tone Responsive and reflective of consumer   conversations Responsive – allow community to solve each   other’s problems, with TomTom support where necessary or if community slow to   respond
      Primary communication direction Brand to consumer and consumer to Brand Peer to Peer – facilitate customer to customer   with internal  brand support and   knowledge
      Feedback Product Feedback channel – innocent respond to   customer feedback on products – altered flavour of Thai Pot Product feedback channel – used by NPD and innovation   teams
      Management Small team with access to whole company – all departments Small team – primary function is support but   can feed to others where necessary
      ROI Not primary focus, as customer conversations and   accessibility of internal teams is part of company DNA ROI is related to customer support cost   savings, which are measured and reported.
      Geography International site with international   communication International site with international   communication

      It would be good to hear your feedback on these observations or your own experiences of creating and developing online communities, please leave a comment or contact me directly.


        Social Commerce & Innovation in Online Travel

        In a recent Bloomberg Businessweek article How Expedia Plans to Make Travel More Social Expedias vice-president of the US, Joe Megibow, discusses Expedias recognition of the value of travel bloggers and intend to introduce and their blog posts into the online experience of their travel customer.

        Online travel is an industry which is best placed to benefit from developing an integrated social commerce and mobile proposition, which delivers each individual customer with a personalised service and has the potential to enhance the online experience and also combine a mix of travel content, bloggers, published content, customer reviews and local destination tour and activity providers to improve customers in destination experience.

        In the spring of 2011, I met friends from Dallas in Paris for a couple of days, they were on a 5 day trip with their 2 sons and wanted to maximise the experience for all the family during their short stay.  In order to do this, Laura, carried out extensive desk research from her home using both online and guidebooks she purchased about Paris, she identified a range of activities from sightseeing, guided historic walks, places to eat, drop by for a coffee and take time out to relax and from this built a great schedule which she skilfully led, with the aid of her iphone, her husbands blackberry and google maps, their 5 day trip and my couple of days with them.

        This inspired me to carry out research into the online travel space, an area I have been interested in since 2001, to look for a joined up consumer experience which would have created the type of city break my friend and her family were looking for and was surprised to find that this was not available, there were vendors doing the individual areas, but there IS NO_ONE joining this all up to create a streamlined customer experience….so I met with a number of technology vendors and carried out research into what makes travel sell on line and developed a contecept called CITEZE – a social commerce and mobile citybreaks travel service which I introduced to a couple of online travel companies, who expressed some interest but no urgency to develop this new customer experience and I have to ask why?

        Below is an outline of the travel concept and I welcome views and opinions and volunteers companies and/or individuals who may be interested in developing this beyond a concept…look forward to hearing from you…..

          Business Cases for Social Strategies

          As more organisations and their business partners look to develop social strategies in one or more areas of their business, the need for cases studies is increasing. We have compiled a selection of social business cases studies, which show the business value from an individual social media campaign, to customer service, social commerce, evolving business models and developing a new business model with social at the heart of the strategy.

          This is not an exhaustive list, but it does demonstrate that social both in discrete projects or areas of the business, to disrupting business models. If you have other business cases, you can point us to please drop us a line or comment below.

            Intercontinental Hotels Private Customer Communities

            Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) have been working with Communispace, the private community company, to build on-going relationships with 300 elite customers, who provide feedback and insights into all things IHG.

            The private communities have provided IHG with the opportunity to

            • raise over 3,000 questions within the community
            • provide a platform for peer to peer customer engagement resulting in a further 7,000 questions being asked and answered by the community
            • listen to and learn from the customers
            • provide tactical feedback on campaigns and messaging
            • provide strategic feedback on new product development and customer experience
            • facilitate sharing of member generated content ie photos, views, opinions and questions
            • provided internal education for senior executives as to the value of developing and running hosted customer communities

            Following the continued success of the private communities, IHG have developed an external public community called Priority Club Connect, where priority club members can share their photos and travel blogs with other members. This has a growing number of members and participants.

            InterContinental Hotels Group: Inside Out: How Private Communities Catalyzed Our Social Media Efforts, presented by Nick Ayres from GasPedal and SocialMedia.org on Vimeo.

              Intel Social Media Strategy

              Have just watched this video from becky brown, social media director at Intel, where she discusses their current centralised social media strategy, tools platforms and their journey to their position today.

              Intel has been developing their use of social media channels for a couple of years and understands that the majority, 80%, of the conversations around their brand and products take place on blogs and twitter.  However there was a growing use of Facebook within the business which at 250 individually created and managed pages, it was difficult to co-ordinate and manage multi market campaigns.

              Following a review of their 250 Facebook pages  and 250 Twitter handles/account  presence,  Intel took the decision to change their social media strategy from being decentralised to a centralised global strategy underpinned by

              • internal guidelines
              • training programs
              • content editorial
              • publishing schedules

              complemented by a suite of publishing Vitrue, listening, Radian6, & internal reporting tools.

              This centralised strategy allows them to listen and respond globally, locally or to individuals, based on the context of the conversation.

              Intel also use, a global community of brand ambassadors, who are identified as influencers, either throgh their online activity around the intel brand and/or range of products and are invited to join an intelambassadors program, where they are given pre-launch info about products and encourgaed to blog, comment and spread the word globally about Intel, their brand and products.

              This is the start of their emerging strategy and ince the facebook strategy is underway, the next challenge is the 350 Twitter accounts…….

                Chevron – Corporate Marketing Linkedin Strategy Development

                Jeordan Legon of Chevron, the energy company, recently presented their corporate social linkedin centred communication strategy. Chevron, have developed and currently run a strategic corporate marketing social campaign, whose main focus is the development of a community of energy leaders on LinkedIn, which uses Facebook, Youtube and Twitter.  The project has

                Listening & Learning
                Listened to conversations for 2 years

                • Identify key community support and facilitation channel
                • Linkedin is primary channel
                • Additional Facebook, Youtube and Twitter channels

                Identify community member profiles

                • Leaders the energy industry
                • Energy industry knowledge experts
                • Energy industry business partners

                Identify key goals for community

                • High levels of engagement
                • Repeat Visits
                • relevant online discussions about energy

                Engage with community   
                When engaging with the community Chevron, identified key areas to focus on:

                • Identify key individuals to invite to community
                • Identify key subject areas
                • Energy
                • Doing business with Chevron
                • Create community guidelines
                • Create, Manage and moderate community content

                Integrate into other communication strategies
                As a TRUSTED developed and engaged community Chevron can channel campaigns through the community to drive traffic back to websites, surveys, other conversations on other channels.

                “we agree” http://bit.ly/oC5QVz

                Grow and develop
                As a trusted, community within their target audience, which is depicted in the
                chart below:

                Chevron now has an engaged community to drive their online communications
                strategy.  They combine an internal team, who are responsible for the data to day management of the community, for educating other internal teams in their use and success of social channels and are in partnership with external teams:

                • Listening insight, reporting and tools
                • Linkedin as a community platform and insight partner
                • Communications to help with individual campaigns

                To hear the full presentation and view the slides, click on the video below and review the slides at the bottom.