The growth in social customer service appears to have stalled. Now the early adopters are out and about, the expected next tranches are nowhere to be seen. New names remain scarce.
That said, it remains a popular blogging topic. The same old ‘5 tips’ formula continues to appear. Is this serving the ‘101’ needs of a new generation? Maybe. Against that, some industry grandees have rubbed out the language of ‘social’ and now only talk ‘digital’.
What’s actually going on? Answers on a postcard if anyone thinks they know.
Meanwhile in my own search for clues, I bring you a rare interview. The fruits of digging deeper into the successes of those who are actually making it work. It’s rare because it’s a different type of story. Here’s why.
While I celebrate the volume and breadth of customer-themed thinking that pours into my inbox every day, it often smacks of unrestrained enthusiasm: based on the way authors imagine it should be rather than the realpolitik of introducing new ideas into a corporate culture. Let’s face it, if repetition was all we needed, the revolution would be done and dusted many moons ago.
So what actually happens when something as different, new and challenging as social customer service is introduced onto the corporate agenda? The lack of broader adoption I referred to earlier suggests that the initial response is seldom ‘love at first sight’.
Meet Chris Geddes. An early adopter of social media who rose to the top of Nokia to run their global support business and then integrated it into Microsoft. I’ve followed his career with great interest. He gets social media. He also gets big business. So how did he get around the lack of ‘love at first sight’ and make it work? This is Chris personal story of how he took that initial rejection on the chin and got down to the serious business of selling in social customer service.
Martin: Chris thanks very much for your time today. I heard you talk recently to a room of social media advocates and you captured everyone’s attention when you started out by saying that as far as social media’s future is concerned, it’s time to conform!
Chris: It’s not a popular message to deliver to a room of social media evangelists. I knew this going in, having been a blue-blood, die-hard social media advocate all my professional life. But it’s a message I really wish someone had told me 10 years ago.
I’ve climbed the corporate ladder despite what I was trying to do in social media, not because of it. And it was only when I was promoted to run all of Customer Support at Nokia/Microsoft Mobile that I could raise my head above the clouds and see what I had been missing.
Having settled into my role running customer support for 1.3bn customers worldwide, I looked at what was expected of me and realized that the revolution I had been evangelizing – “Social Media Transforms Everything Businesses Do”, will never happen.
Martin: So what stopped you in your tracks? [...]