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Uber-ing everything!

Lithium Alumni (Retired)

0828_Uber_630x420.jpgUber: It’s so hot right now; we are turning it into a verb, a noun and an adjective! 


Okay, so that headline may be a bit of a stretch.  Uber is not exactly any of those, but how much credibility and awareness has Uber generated over the past year, that even multi billion dollar companies are looking at them as an example of customer service success?


I hear people refer to Uber more and more, even at the end of a recent meeting with one of our vendors, as we were wrapping up, the two vendors exchanged ideas on how to get to their next meeting, and ended up deciding “we will just uber it!”.


Back to the billion dollar company; check out the recent USA Today article on Comcast wanting to create an ‘Uber-Like’ app to help provide a better customer service.


Cable companies are well-known in the industry to have low customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores, and companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable are looking at many ways to address this, starting with their digital presence.  At Lithium, we are working with both of these companies to build out their digital presence and give customers a way to connect and share with the brand and each other.  For me, this comment is key in the article:


“Roberts acknowledged in a meeting with USA TODAY's editorial board that the perception of Comcast's poor customer service lingers. But he said the company is making fresh efforts to ease the headaches.”


I think it’s a safe assumption that the poor perception of customer service relates more to the traditional 1-800-number call centers than the digital engagements.  We see it time and time again, companies ramping up their digital presence and online customer connections as the de-facto and simpler way to better customer experience.  Comcast is doing just that.


Our Lithium CMO ( @KatyK ) mentioned Comcast in her recent blog on how they are recovering from a #fail and driving new levels of customer engagement and better customer experience.


“Comcast is another great #fail recovery story. They really stepped in it in 2007 when web cam videos of cable guys sleeping on customer couches went viral. But instead of running away from social media, they doubled down. They became more customer-centric, started listening actively to their customers and even took it up a notch. They invested in an infrastructure that would allow them to respond to (and importantly lead) social conversations around the brand—an online customer community.”


Imagine the power of the community, coupled with social and the Uber-ed Comcast app. Take it to the next level: how about rating systems for their installer and – wait for it -- the customer, too!?  The installer was a great guy, pleasant, helpful… 5 stars!  The customer was great, but didn’t show up on time! 4 stars for the late customer!  It works for Uber, could it work for Comcast?


Sure there are a lot of things that annoy us about Uber.  Have you seen any of the ‘surge pricing’ press coverage lately? But those complaints are few and far between.  Ultimately it’s the ease of use and the digital touchpoint that we crave as consumers.  For the brands, they can deliver a better experience and truly engage with their customers. And in my opinion, anything that brings customers or consumers closer to brands, and vice versa, is a good thing.


The marketplace has spoken. They are already embracing companies who eschew the old, tired way of doing service and welcoming companies that breath new life into a digital experience; One that meets them on the curb…or in the living room. 


Net-Net: Remember there was a time before we used ‘Google’ as a verb.  So expect a lot more Uber-ing in the future. 

 DayleH.jpgDayle Hall is the VP of Brand & Digital Marketing for Lithium. He is responsible for the visual representation of the brand, including all digital properties such as, Lithium community and social media channels.   Dayle is a marketing executive with 17+ years experience across all marketing disciplines.  Prior to joining Lithium, he led Corporate Marketing and Corporate Communications at Aruba Networks where he developed the industry leading community of Wi-Fi technical advocates, Airheads Social.  He has also held multiple marketing roles at Cisco and Oracle. Follow him on twitter @marinadazza