Since our founding, Lithium has been all about driving business results. We’ve never lost sight that customers demand results from their digital and social investments. In Capgemini’s new Digital Transformation Review featuring our CEO, Rob Tarkoff, you’ll dive into the concept of social communities and how they can add more value to a business.
You will get a deeper look into what is driving customer-to-customer (C2C) relationships and how, as a brand, it is essential to not only guide these conversations but to help enable the dialogue and listen in.
Learn how to transform your company into a customer centric organization, Rob’s predictions for the future of social crm solutions and more by reading the full interview here (please scroll to pg. 46).
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Every year before our LiNC conference we ask our customers to submit entries for ‘The Lithys” Lithium’s Social Customer Excellence Awards. There were seven different categories this year, ranging from Excellence in Customer Satisfaction to Best Community Design, giving us the opportunity to recognize and reward our customers that are changing the game in the digital and social world. While there is only one winner for each category, it goes without saying that all of the entries uncover tried and true methods and customers who were willing to push the envelope and take risks to deliver the best customer experience. Over the next seven weeks we will go through the different Lithy categories and submissions (60 entries in total, view them here) and summarize the key points that have gotten our customers where they are today.
A good place to start is the Excellence in Customer Satisfaction category. After reading through the submissions, we identified two key factors needed to achieve excellent customer satisfaction- engagement and intimacy.
The nominees for Excellence in Customer Satisfaction
Any good relationship requires a certain level of intimacy. Obviously, you don’t have to go around hugging all of your customers but it is important to get to know them better.
Let’s use an example: You have an aunt who lives across the country. She always remembers your birthday and sends you a card with some money in it. You will be grateful for the thoughtful gesture but chances are you two aren’t close and neither of you make much of an effort outside of special events. She doesn’t know you well so you get a generic gift, an appropriate response to a birthday but not a meaningful, personal one. Your parents on the other hand will probably get you that thing you’ve always wanted because they have taken the time to get to know you. Through that intimacy they know what you like and how to make you happy because you have built a bond of trust.
Now let’s apply this to a company. You will do just fine if you act like an aunt. You are responding to customer needs and requests in a timely manner but if someone were to ask you more about the customers - who they are, what motivates them, what are they trying to solve etc… (Basically, the questions all companies are trying to figure out to drive their business)- then you are likely to be met with a blank stare. No one will wag their finger at you in disgust, but chances are customers would rather spend time with someone that knows them more intimately.
To know the customer, a company needs engagement and intimacy. This isn’t easy on a large customer base, which is why the Lithy submissions for this category are so powerful. You drive intimacy through listening and responding, user surveys, contests, events, Q&A sessions etc… that way you understand the trends of the community, the needs of your customers, and you can react to the information. No one is asking a company to parent 100,000 followers. Some will be more open and willing to interact than others and naturally, those are going to be the ones who reciprocate your efforts and meet them with their own.
TELUS, the 2014 winner of this category, launched the TELUS Neighborhood to help the growth of superusers and brand advocates. Scotty Jackson, Sr. Strategy Manager said, “[Our] engagement strategy was putting customers first with our goals of delivering strong social experiences.” By delivering these strong experiences, their customers were more willing to advocate for the brand due to a deeper, personalized connection.
By making customers feel valued you have built a circle of trust. Without the need for interrogation methods!
Trust also comes from engagement and intimacy. When there is trust, people will open up and begin to share more. In the majority of our submissions, companies also talked about opening up their communities to their customers. The customers shared their knowledge and provided valuable content to the communities. By enabling customers to interact with each other and the brand, a mutual trust is formed so if anything negative comes along your brand advocates will happily back you up. Free of charge!
Darren Choo, AVP of Social CRM at StarHub defines this process. He says, “In creating a new platform, it was crucial that it be instrumental in cultivating brand advocates where in times of need, users could step in to defend the brand on our behalf from the ‘bashing’ conducted by others.” StarHub trusted their customers, gave them a platform to actively engage with each other and in turn built a relationship where the users were loyal to their brand and defended them when necessary.
Getting to know your customers and building relationships with them is not easy. But, being the best never is. The key to excellence is to go above and beyond and take the relationship one step further. In doing that, you will be one step closer to achieving excellence in customer satisfaction.
Stay tuned as we uncover more best practices from our Lithy submissions.
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This is my first time experiencing LiNC. You might be thinking, "why the present participle?" And the answer my friend, is because I am in it NOW. I have been helping the team promote LiNC and have gotten to see what goes in to making an incredible event that people from around the globe are flying in for and thrilled to participate in.
From what I can tell, this is a way above par event. It doesn’t end with great speakers and an awesome cover band. It’s not just like any other conference where you go, take notes and slug back to your hotel. We are creating an experience that is out of this world ...with lots of things I can’t tell you, but let me say, you are in for a surprise.
The energy in the office is palpable as the days count down to LiNC and we wanted to capture it in writing to share and spread the excitement to everyone else. Get ready!
“I am most excited about getting to know the media and influencers who follow Lithium—what interests them about us, how they see our market evolving, and who else in this space is worth knowing more about.” @EricB
"This is my first LiNC as an employee of Lithium and it’s interesting to see all the work and thought that goes into the event. LiNC was one of the big reasons I wanted to join team Lithium. I'll let you all in on a little secret, this year is going to be the best. Event. Yet." @DayleH
“I love wearing aqua blue corporate t-shirts with my suit.
Bringin’ the South Beach style to the West Coast.” @DavidJ
“I’m excited to see what it all will look like live onsite. We feel really good about the event design. We’re going to rock it.” @Katie-B
“This is my third LiNC and every year we raise the bar higher . And, it’s unlike any other conference that I’ve attended. Ultimately, what makes LiNC so great is how much energy and excitement our customers and partners bring to the experience – they’re so stoked.” @RichRe
“This is my 7 th LiNC. I was there for the very first one when it was just 80 people in a conference room over at the Woodfin Hotel in Emeryville, which doesn’t even exist anymore. I'm amazed at just how far we’ve come, and I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends and meeting new ones as well.” @Ei-LunY
“I’m excited to see it all come together. I think people will be excited about the overall experience and I’m proud of that.” @JaredC
“I look forward to seeing all the customers. I’ve worked with many of them and get to celebrate all the progress they're making working with Lithium. I’m also looking forward to the Wednesday night event at the Fillmore with Mustache Harbor and a well-earned cocktail.” @DeniseJ
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First things first, thank you so much to everyone who participated:
@SusanCinadr , @tolstoshev, @kochergan, @bhupen, @Jasmin, @Wendy_S, all of your photos were fantastic!
A massive congratulations to Becky Scott @lolagoetz the winner of our April LiNC Contest: Social Selfies and a free LiNC pass! Becky’s submission received a huge amount of kudos from the Lithium Community and truly captured the social aspect of the contest.
On top of being our contest winner, she is also one of our 2014 Lithium Stars who will be inducted at LiNC! We asked her to share some fun facts about her previous LiNC experiences, what she is most looking forward to this year and tips on maximizing your trip to LiNC.
Check out her video!
This will be our last contest between now and LiNC, but there will be several others during the event, giving you more chances to win cool prizes - stay tuned for the details.
We can't wait to see you there!
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