Supporting

Support: To hold or withstand

In most recent study we see that contact centres are supposedly the primary source for  a contact help centre for majority of the companies. In chapter 8 of the Groundswell (2011) by Charline Li and Joseph Bernoff, we will examine the traditional customer support and the Groundswell way of customer support. The chapter will also include how using the Groundswell support can be an advantage and cost-effective instead of using contact centres.

Lets take a closer look into the chapter, I am in retail right now so I can use my job as an example. Typically individuals would want to make a sale and hope to never hear from that customer again, since it is believed that you were successful. However, individuals will always seem to have questions or unsure about what to do with their products. In the chapter Li and Bernoff explain how there is a heavy cost to companies when they receive phone calls in regards to their products or service. Li and Bernoff state that it can cost the company more that $6 and technical support for as much as twice the amount. Therefore, handling phone calls in the call centres can drag the company down and costing them a lot of money.

Saving money for the company is always a good thing. So this can all be avoided by different tactics proposed in the Groundswell. Since there will always be some customer concerns and issues, the Groundswell proposed easier solutions to maintain customers needs without having to break the company. This includes having some support forums, Q&A pages, and Wikis. Having a supported and well monitored forums for example Dell, resulted in a large cost savings from customer sharing and posting their solutions or recommendations.

 

Considering how the groundswell support itself you need to consider three factors:

  1. What problem you will solve?
  2. How you will participate?
  3. Should you create a support community or join an existing one?

(Li & Bernoff, 2011)

Keeping those factors in mind, Li and Bernoff give some advice on getting started with a community. Such as building a community for support:

  1. Start small but plan for larger presence
  2. Reach out to most active customers
  3. Plan to drive traffic to your community
  4. Build a reputation system
  5. Let your customers lead you

(Li & Bernoff, 2011)

One example that I find interesting is this Beauty forum called Makeup talk  . The beauty industry is booming lately, especially with the latest trends for styling hair and makeup. A beauty forum is neat when it comes to asking questions about what makeup will best fit yourself or how to apply a product a certain way. Having feedback from not only the companies of the products but other individuals that have used it or know how to apply, are able to give you their feedback on it. I find this forum very helpful when I have a question about a certain product. For an example if this particular foundation that I am planning on buying will dry out my face. I can have feedback from individuals that have possibly used it and can give me their advice and recommendations on the product.

Reference:

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. (expanded and revised edition). Boston: Harvard Business Review School Press.

Photo credit:

http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/care-and-support-and-you/supporting-people

 

 

 

 

Talking

Last post I wrote about what the POST process is, and including the objectives that companies can successfully use in the Groundswell. The five objectives i briefly spoke about are listening, talking, energizing, supporting, and embracing.

In today’s blog post I will be focusing on the objective talking. In chapter 6 of the Groundswell (2011) by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, talks about different techniques in entering the Groundswell as a speaker and not so much of a listener. Talking differs from marketing in the sense that, marketing is where you are basically shouting and showing awareness for the buyers, whereas talking accounts for the same factors but also compensates loyalty and building that relationship with the buyers.

Techniques for talking with the groundswell:

  1. Post a viral video
  2. Engage in social networks and user-generated content sites
  3. Join the blogosphere
  4. Creating a community

All these techniques allow for a talking based environment instead of straight marketing. Posting a viral video allows you to express your thoughts and creating a discussion with the public, and having that video shared can get your message across a lot of people. Engaging in social networks does similar to sharing a video, you are able to share your thoughts and opinions and get your message across people. Also engaging in social networks has the advantage in engaging and keeping up with news that is relevant to your industry of choice. Joining a blogosphere allows you to generate awareness and help respond to customers quicker. In the Groundswell (2011) textbook it explains how HP uses a blog for each product, where you are able to post questions and get immediate responses, updates and creating discussions. This allows if other customers have similar questions and need answers fast they can just read the blog. Creating a community has its benefits as well by engaging in the discussion and having the ability to respond back to customers with value and not with a shout.

In my preferred industry after I graduate from NAIT, I can use these objectives in the industry. Like I repeatedly have said that I want to go into the Government of Alberta and using these objectives may not be a huge advantage to me, since i want to be in a more of the business field. Although the objectives can give me such a great advantage by helping me get the jobs that I want. In my previous post about social networking I can try and keep up with the Government of Alberta on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

References:

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. (expanded and revised edition). Boston: Harvard Business Review School Press.

Photo credit:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/resources/learning/articles/detail/69901

 

 

 

 

POST?

In chapter 4 of the Groundswell book (2011) by Charline Li and Josh Bernoff, we start to look into the beginning of the second half of the book, which involves strategies for tapping into the groundswell. We first look into a step-by-step process planning criteria, which is called POST. Than, we will see the different objectives to pursue this process.

POST is a four-step process planning that is recommended in strategy building. The acronym itself stands for people, objectives, strategy, and technology. This process enables you in creating a primary base for your plan. The first step is people, where the technographic profile plays this role, whereas this step requires you to understand your customer and their needs. This includes how your customers will engage in your business. The second step and possibly the most important is objective, this involves having objectives on how to pursue your goals. The third step is strategy, which requires you to prepare to pursue your goal, such as having the ability to plan for desired changes in the future (Li & Bernoff, 2011). Lastly, technology is the step where we see how you would involve what applications to build with your plan. This may include any social networking sites and blogs.

We mentioned above that the most highly recommended step is the objectives. Objectives play a valuable role in the process due to the clarity that will be breakdown your strategy cleaner. This includes 5 primary objectives that are found by companies to be successful in the Groundswell book (Li & Bernoff, 2011). The first objective is listening, meaning having the ability to listen and understand your customers and people. Second is talking, using the groundswell to spread messages about your company is an excellent source in marketing. Third is energizing, this includes energizing and supercharging your customers by using the elements in the groundswell. Fourth is the setting, which means having tools to set up customers to support each other. Lastly is the most challenging, which is embracing. Have your customers help your business by embracing what you give them such as your products. (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

In my future career path that I would hope to be apart of the financial sector for the Government of Alberta, preferably an analyst. The POST process can be an option to be used in the financial sector of the Government, especially when we get into the treasury and the business with the bank of Canada. The POST process does deal with business-to-business work so it may be applicable to the Government of Alberta. There is a large network within the government and having a strategy to attain a goal is and will surely be needed. I think that the POST process can assist with that because it allows creating clear objectives to form the framework of your goal and than it will easily lead into a strategy to accomplish the goals and future plans.

Reference:

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. (expanded and revised edition). Boston: Harvard Business Review School Press.

Photo credit:

http://www.stage2planning.com/blog/bid/56312/Exit-Planning-Is-A-Process-And-Not-A-Destination

 

Connecting With The Groundswell to Transform Your Company.

In previous posts I talked about the recent chapters of the Groundswell book (2011). We have seen how social media can give us plenty of advantages and opportunities, what a technographic profile is, and the importance of listening to customers with the use of social networking. Now, we shift into a different view of the book; which is how to fully connect with the Groundswell to transform your company. Chapter 11 of the book looks into great detail of how organizations can accomplish three important elements to transform to work with their customers. We will be taking a look at how to accomplish these elements and how to stay prepared for the transformation.

First, we will take a look into the three important elements on how companies will work with their customers. The first element is to take small steps that have big impact. The book explains that having marketing goals leads to evidence of a success. This means having more involvement in campaigns and advertising. It is also recommended to use the Groundswell thinking and apply it to any business situations and problem solving. The second element is to have a vision and a plan. This means that you should have a vision of what you propose as a company and then create a long term outlook of your vision and plan out how you would like to see your customers years from now. The third element states that we should build leaders into the plan. This means that include others a voice in the company. Such as having a leader to go all the way to embrace emerging media of the company and give the consumer a voice in the brand (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

Second, is how to keep prepared for the transformation. First, the groundswell talks about starting small  and change within the company will take time. Second is educating your executives, such as starting an internal blog, creating a social network, or collaborating with another department. This will show the benefits and advantages of the company to others. Third is to get the right people to run your strategy, such as picking a person that is most passionate about the company and starting a relationship with your customers. Fourth, is getting your agency and technology partners in tact and have them to take the time to know Groundswell. Lastly, is to plan for the next step and for the future. This will allow you to have an idea to where your company will be heading in the future. In this chapter we had the ability to take a look at the social strategy and how companies can work the customers.

(Li & Bernoff, 2011)

 

References:

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. (expanded and revised edition). Boston: Harvard Business Review School Press.

Photo credit:

https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/promotion-emotion-b2b.html

 

 

Listening to the Groundswell

Chapter 4 of Groundswell (2011) by Charline Li and Josh Bernoff explain how important it is to listen to others, more importantly listening to your customers. They explain in the chapter that there are people that think that companies do not listen to customer needs but that is definitely untrue because companies pay and go all out of their way to provide to their customers because they use listening as a tactic more so that just surveys. “Listening to groundswell reveals insights” (Li & Bernoff, 2011), explain that also by observing customers of their day-to-day interactions and competition you will be able to get a sense of what the target is. Also consumers in the groundswell leave opinions and comments on a regular basis. This includes blogging or social networking about an experience at a retail store or any service such as car services, restaurants, tailors etc.

Two listening strategies, setting up your own private community and begin brand monitoring. Setting up your on private community includes setting up private discussions or even a website so you are able to directly see what consumers are saying about your products and services. This is an advantage because it is one way to listen to groundswell and you also are allowed to ask your customers whatever you want. The second strategy, brand monitoring, is a strategy that includes hiring a third party company to listen to do the monitoring for you. This includes having them to listen to internet posts, discussion forums, twitter, reviews etc. Surprisingly there are a lot of companies that will do this such as Nielsen’s BuzzMetrics and Cymfony (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

Finding out what others are saying about your company us crucial, hence why listening should not be neglected. There advantage aspects to listening that will benefit you such as finding out what your brand stands for, understand how buzz is shifting, save research money and increase the response, sources that influence the market, managing PR crisis, and new product and marketing ideas. How you should response to this after listening you should be taking active measures. This includes by starting a plan by checking the technographical profile of customers, monitoring brands and vendors. After all this you will be seeing progress within the organization which groundswell states  will help with  a new shift within the community because once you take action on a new piece of information your company will never be the same (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

After that summary, I believe that in every industry and every company should be listening to their consumers. I feel like it is crucial to hear what the public and your own target market is saying about their experience or thoughts about the company. Every company can benefit from this because this will allow them to hear what the customers want and what will make the company better.

Refernce:

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. (expanded and revised edition). Boston: Harvard Business Review School Press.

Photo credit:

http://acena.com/are-you-listening-to-your-customers/

 

The Social Technographics Profile

Chapter 3 of Groundswell by Charline Li and Josh Bernoff (2011) talks about what the social technographic profile stands for and how to use the profile as a social strategy by building a connection with your customer. The creation of a social technographic profile of your customer can be done by some research of the target market and resulting on the outcomes you will see what your customers are engaged in.

On pages 43-45 in chapter 3 of the book Groundswell (2011) shows the different types of groups of a social technographic profile. The first group is called creators, which is at the top of the ladder and consists of people that publish blogs and web pages, upload videos and music, creating articles and stories. These people that belong to the group usually publish articles, blogs and media at least once a month. The second in the ladder is the conversationalists and what they do is consistently update a post or a status on a social networking site. Such as consistently tweeting or updating a Facebook status. Third group are called the critics. This group consists of individuals that post reactions to others posts such as commenting,  replying and reviewing. Collectors are a group that save all types of URL’s and that use RSS feeds. This group plays an important role in contributing to the amount of content that is produced by the creators and critics. Joiners are a group of individuals that join and maintain a social network, this includes people that network and stay connected but not consistently. Spectators are a group that are online but do not contribute to the content such as reading blogs, watching videos, reading comments and reviews. The last group of individuals and at the bottom of the ladder are called inactives, which they do not participate in any of the activities mentioned by the other groups.

Statistics are shown in the book, Groundswell, where young men are more active creators and critics than younger women but young women are more likely to be conversationalists than younger men. It also shows that more younger people are active in groundswell than an average person and about 80% of younger men and woman join social network websites. The chapter also provides different statistics between the groups within different countries, political parties, and companies and they all have different outcomes.

The picture below shows the different groups within all genders and ages. The target market is contributed heavily on spectators with a 64% and joiners with a 57%. The outcome of why individuals participate in Groundswell is so people can keep the friendship, make new friends, peer pressure, contribution, to create and to validate.

Forrester consumer technographics

References:

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. (expanded and revised edition). Boston: Harvard Business Review School Press.

Photocredit:

http://www.toolshero.com/social-media/social-technographics-profile/

 

The Opportunities of Social Media

Social media has been growing for years now and since 2008 studies have shown that more users are now joining social network websites. I read an article called “Users of the World Unite! The Challenges and Opportunities of Social Media” by Andreas M. Kaplan and Michael Haenlein (2008) that states employers and decision makers are now using social media as a guideline to promote, create and establish careers. Blogging is the earliest form of social media ( Kaplan & Haenlein, 2008). The article also states that social media has plenty of opportunities for businesses such as collaborative projects, blogging, content communities, social networking sites and virtual games and social worlds. For a business to gain an advantage through social media, each company needs to comply with the five points about using social media and five points about being social. The main points on using social media are choosing the content carefully, picking an application, ensure activity alignment, media plan integration and access for all individuals. The five points on being social that a business needs to take into consideration are to be active, stay interesting, be humble, be unprofessional, and be honest. Since today is all about social media, taking these points into consideration while working for or running a business can help keep social media as a guide.

The article gave me great idea’s to how I can keep social media as a tool for help after I graduate from NAIT. The industry that I have always wanted to work for is the financial sector of the government of Alberta. I think working for the government of Alberta has great benefits and is safe during economic downturns. I have a family friend that works for the company and talks really great things about working for them. I have been applying through the website and staying up to date with any new job postings. Using social media helps because a social networking site such as LinkedIn allows me to set up a profile and follow the company so I am able to keep up with company news and network with employees that work within the government.

The article gave me some advice in regards to watch what I post because I have to keep track of the content posted because it is public so anyone can see it including the employers themselves. Another great idea I learned from the article is to stay active. Staying active and keeping up to date with a company gives you more knowledge and shows that you really want to work for them. Social media gives me a great opportunity in getting a job with a company that I want. I just need to put effort in what I post and as well watch what I post.

References:

Haenlein, M., & Kaplan, A.M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media. Business Horizons (53) 59-68.

Image retrieved from http://growingsocialmedia.com/social-media-jobs-popular-career-choice/