Archive for November, 2010


Turning Customer Service into a Marketing Weapon

Turning Customer Service into a Marketing Weapon

by Drew Nelsser

How Thor Muller and the gang at Get Satisfaction have helped thousands of companies and millions of consumers transform the fundamental notions of customer service. This article first appeared on

Just three years ago, you needed to be a prominent blogger like Jeff Jarvis or Bob Garfield to make an online noise loud enough to inspire a company response to a particular product or service issue. It was about that time that Thor Muller, Co-founder and CTO of Get Satisfaction, developed an online tool that would “allow anybody that same power,” to in essence, “get satisfaction by pulling the company in.”

Forty months later, Get Satisfaction is well on its way to transforming the way companies interact with consumers, turning customer service into the kind of measurably effective marketing that even John Wannamaker could have fully blessed. Gleaned from my conversation with Muller at Get Satisfaction’s San Francisco headquarters early this month, here are eight ways community driven customer service is changing the ways brands go to market.

1. Re-humanizing consumer interactions

For Muller, it is simply not enough that companies use their tools. “We really want people to change their whole approach to what it means to talk to customers,” he explained. “For a long time, maybe a hundred years, we’ve been gradually squeezing the humanity out of our interactions; scripting it, automating it, scaling it.” Instead of asking people to take a number, “Companies now have to revolve themselves around individuals.” Muller noted, adding that in doing so, “we’re making the world a better place, certainly more human!”

2. Elevating the conversation from transactions to aspirations

While traditional customer service is often about addressing transactional issues like resetting passwords, Muller believes that community-driven customer support can go much further. “Customer communities at their best are really tapping people’s deeper goals, their deeper desires,” explained Muller. This requires companies to, “rise above writing help documentation and be more of a good cocktail party host.” Muller links this change with the new staff post of Community Manager who is part therapist, part help desk and part cruise director.

3. Reducing the costs of the traditional help desk

For years, companies have sought to drive down support costs with automation and the ironic goal of minimizing human interaction with their call centers. Part of the reason Get Satisfaction has grown so quickly is that it flips this notion on its head, increasing human interaction but decreasing costs by making support more peer-to-peer driven. Noted Muller, “we’ve seen with our communities at scale typically reduce the number of [service] tickets that go to [call center] agents by 75% or so.” Muller referred me to case histories for and Yola, both of which reduced “repetitive support by two thirds.”

4. Extending support beyond your website to Facebook

While most companies recognize the need to engage consumers on social media, only the savviest have begun to offer customer support on platforms like Facebook. For these enlightened marketers, Get Satisfaction offers a Facebook application in two distinct versions, “one for enterprises who have a lot more demand for customization/controls and one for everybody else,” noted Muller. Having a support tab on Facebook gives fans one more reason to “Like” a brand and get the information and support required to encourage and enable over-the-top evangelism.

5. Turning customer support into searchable content

Given the fundamental importance of search to customer acquisition, finding ways to improve organic search results (SEO) is a top priority for most businesses. That said, few have recognized that content generated via customer communities can do just that. Explained Muller, “somebody asks how they can use a particular camera to take better pictures, that is then indexed by Google and then next person who searches finds that conversation. Get Satisfaction] is taking something that used to be a cost center, customer service, and turning it into lead generation.”

6. Listening builds trust in and of itself

Dell famously solicited customer ideas and ended up producing a Linux based laptop that no one bought. This kind of listening and responding is not the ultimate intent of Get Satisfaction. While community members are encouraged to offer ideas, Muller does not advocate, “design by committee” or conclude that the customer is always right. “Even if [a brand doesn’t] build what I want them to build or do what I want them to do, I may be less likely to change to another product because I feel close to them,” explained Muller.

7. Integrating customer conversations with your CRM system

Many sophisticated marketers, especially in B2B, rely on well-honed CRM systems to track leads through the funnel. Get Satisfaction allows these companies to take this one step further by connecting the social web with workflow systems, trouble tickets and project management tools. Explained Muller, “Knowing who a customer is, what their buying history is, and what they care about is important to servicing them well.” Suddenly a customer complaint becomes “actionable within an organization,” given the CRM integration concluded Muller.

8. Measuring C-Sat on both a qualitative and quantitative basis

While some pundits strive to simplify customer satisfaction to one basic metric like Net Promoter, this may not be the ideal approach for your particular business. Having witnessed thousands of customer comments and complaints, Muller encourages clients to take a “more holistic approach” and “measure satisfaction in various ways.” Having developed something called a Satisfactometer, that explained Muller, “might be something fun like an emoticon and other times might be something more structured and numeric,” Get Satisfaction is delivering both sides of the measurement equation.

Final Note: Having recently hired a CEO to drive the company forward, Muller is re-focused on his true love, product development, so we can expect even more satisfying features from Get Satisfaction in the days ahead.


Domino’s Scoops Top Media Award for Digital Activity

Domino’s Scoops Top Media Award for Digital Activity
Domino’s Pizza, the pizza delivery expert, has won a prestigious media industry award for its innovative online activity. The Campaign Media Awards recognise brilliant and inspiring creative media ideas that make a difference for brands.
(PRWeb UK) November 23, 2010
Domino’s Pizza scooped the Best Retail and Home Shopping Campaign award for its Facebook Superfans initiative and Social Affiliate ‘widget’ which enables website owners to download the widget and receive payment for any pizza orders placed with Domino’s by clicking through it. Over 5,000 downloads of the widget have been made to date while Facebook Superfans helped to create nearly 32,000 followers in just four months.
Superfans and the Social Affiliate widget were developed in association with Domino’s long-standing digital agency, Arena Quantum.
Chris Moore, Chief Executive of Domino’s Pizza, said: “We love winning awards like this. We’ve always been known for leading the way when it comes to digital activity since we launched online ordering ten years ago and we want to make sure we keep it that way. These new initiatives are just some of the fantastic ideas we’ve been working on with Arena Quantum and interactive orders continue to be a key driver of our business. Here’s to Domino’s next ground-breaking innovation!”
Dan Clays, Managing Director of Arena Quantum, said: “Domino’s has built on its track record in digital marketing and inventively used social media to regularly talk and listen to customers in a way that has, most importantly, resulted in measurable business growth for their franchisees. Social media has become a mainstay of Domino’s wider communications strategy and 2011 promises to be even more exciting.”
Celebrating 25 successful years in the UK, Domino’s Pizza currently has 643 stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland. For more details, log on to
Photo caption

Domino’s award-winning Social Affiliate ‘widget’.
Notes to Editors:

Domino’s Pizza UK & IRL plc is the leading player in the fast-growing pizza delivery market and holds the exclusive master franchise to own, operate and franchise Domino’s Pizza stores in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The first UK store opened in Luton in 1985 and the first Irish store opened in 1991.
As at 26 September 2010, there were 643 stores in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Of these, 508 stores are in England (including our first on the Isle of Wight), 47 are in Scotland, 25 are in Wales, 15 are in Northern Ireland, one is on the Isle of Man, 46 are in the Republic of Ireland and one is a mobile unit.
Founded in 1960, Domino’s Pizza is one of the world’s leading pizza delivery brands. Through its primarily franchised system, Domino’s Pizza operates a global network of more than 9,000 Domino’s Pizza stores in over 65 countries. Domino’s Pizza has a singular focus – the home delivery of pizza, freshly made to order with high quality ingredients.
Customers in the UK can order online at and customers in the Republic of Ireland can order online at


Quick Response Codes

Five ways journalists can use QR Codes
October 25th, 2010
by Lauren M. Rabaino

Today there has been a lot of buzz on Twitter about Amy Webb’s Ultimate QR Code Game that will be ongoing during the Online News Association Conference, which got me thinking about how else journalists can use QR Codes.

So maybe we should back up a second — QR (Quick Response) codes, according to Wikipedia:

A matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by QR scanners, mobile phones with a camera, and smartphones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.

A simpler explanation from WebbMedia’s QR Tipsheet:

Two-dimensional barcodes can be encoded with various data (phone numbers, text, photos, URLs, etc.) and “scanned” using the camera on a mobile phone. Think of them as print hyperlinks.

So anyone with a smart phone at ONA10 can extract data from these codes placed around the conference and win prizes. That’s all fun and dandy, but beyond games and prizes, how can journalists take it a step further to share information and tell stories? These are a few of my ideas.

1. Location-relevant information
A lot of news organizations (The Wall Street Journal, for example) are using Foursquare as a way of conveying location-based information. It’s simple. Check in somewhere, get tips via Foursquare. QR codes can serve the same purpose if placed on or near popular structures, monuments, works of art, etc. — kind of like Easter eggs within communities. The QR Code model would work a little differently, though. Instead of checking in and getting information delivered to you, you would seek out information based on a particular spot or item.

What if scanning a QR Code at the airport launched a site on your phone that gave you realtime, curated tweets, blog posts and news coverage on what’s going on at your airport? What if scanning a QR code at the courthouse gave you a news org’s curated coverage of latest issues at the courthouse?

2. On your business card.
Sure, you’ve heard this one before and probably even seen it in action. But as a journalist interacting with people in your community on a regular basis, being open and transparent with readers about how to get ahold of you is vital. By allowing them to scan a QR code in, you can make yourself more conveniently accessible to your readers.

3. City-guided tours
This one is especially relevant in tourist-heavy cities or to publications on college campuses. When I was in Boston in July, I played the Boston Globe Trek through SCVNGR which allowed me to scan QR Codes on various newsstands throughout the city to get information about that location. As a first-time visitor to the city, I was able to hit popular spots and complete tasks to win points using nothing but my iPhone.

My criticism of the hunt was that it wasn’t particular useful for helping me learn about the city (although, because I’m a geek, it was still fun). If a news organization used SCVNGR or a self-created app to host their own tours of the city with interesting, engaging information, there’s also a potential underlying revenue opportunity whereby partnerships with local businesses can serve as incentivization for completing the tour.

4. Submitting news tips
Imagine putting QR code on every major intersection in your town. Then, people casually walking around who want to submit news tips can scan a QR code, which opens up the email address and phone number on a “Submit News Tip” form. That form is sent directly to the reporter for that beat.

For example, if you’re at your kids’ elementary school, the contact info from the QR code is sent to the education beat reporter. Sports bloggers could put up their own QR codes at local high school football stadiums and community golf courses for users to submit their kids’ scores and photos to the blog. For each submission via QR Code, there could also be a list of recently-submitted tips from that code, so you can see who else was there and what they cared about.

5. Information-oriented scavenger hunts.
Much like the city-guided tours, this one isn’t new either. In fact, I’ve seen this as the biggest use case for QR Codes at conferences and tech events, but not in the context of storytelling. So let’s add the context of storytelling: Imagine if you could create an educational, interactive experience for your readers by taking them through a timeline of a historical event in their community? Participants could guess answers to questions and be lead to the next spot, where they would learn a new fact before heading to the next location. Those who complete the scavenger hunt could be featured in a community section on the website or get a prize from a local business (another potential revenue opportunity).

Resources for gettin’ it done
SCVNGR: “A game about doing challenges at places.” The Boston Globe Trek referenced earlier in this post used this app for their city tour challenge.

Kaywa: A QR Code generator that allows you to associate a URL, text, phone number or SMS message with your code.

WebbMedia’s QR Code Tipsheet: What’s a QR code? WebbMedia explains all.

QR Reader apps:

iPhone QR Reader
i-nigma reader
List of other readers
There are use cases for both big metro papers, small community papers and niche bloggers. The drawback here, of course, is that this might be too high-tech for a lot of readers. Not everyone is as geeky as us. But as QR codes become more commonplace, providers of news have a huge ability in leading the way with this cool tool.

Amy Webb’s QR contest at ONA will hopefully get journalists thinking more about potential uses. If you haven’t signed up to play it, do so on the WebbMedia site by scanning one of the barcodes on the top right.


Mapping Content to the Sales Funnel AND Buyer types

by Paul Dunay

You often hear about the concept of mapping content to the sales funnel (especially in B2B Marketing) but it’s not so common in practice. I will self confess that I have ignored this one for a while. The other version of this is the mapping of content to your buyer types and this too is one I have ignored for a while … until now!

Ok so I took a look at my sales funnel and started to take the content my team produces and map it against the funnel – for simplicity sake I like to use Awareness to Consideration to Purchase as my 3 major stages of the sales funnel.

For Awareness I like to use broadly appealing content that can be shareable (the new KISS as I like to call it – Keep it Shareable Stupid). This would include eBooks, Research, White papers, etc. Not all of these have hooks for gathering download information (that’s just not acceptable these days). We use 2 distinctions – Premium content and Non Premium content – the latter being free and the former being behind a registration page.

For Consideration I like to use more in depth tools like webinars and live/virtual events – derived from the lists of folks who downloaded and have been interacting with us on a particular topic. These are typically better than the broad brush webinars because we can have a real consideration discussion that includes such things as use cases, ROI modeling and even self funding ideas.

And then for Purchase I like to use case studies, customer references, press releases on new wins etc. This gets to the final decision makers desk and helps out the sales force immensely since they can never seem to have enough of these in their toolkit.

So then I flipped to another chart where we started to map the content we create to the buyer types and for simplicity sake I like to use End User, Influencer, and Buyer/Executive as my 3 major buyer types.

What we realized pretty quickly was the content we were using to attract Awareness – was the same content we would use to attract End Users (now I always hope to get an influencer or a buyer in there) but in reality when we look at the leads we are nurturing we are seeing more end users which is ok since we have a ton of end users in the 200,000 customers we have!

For the Influencers – we like to use the same content we have for the consideration stage – webinars, live events, virtual events and so on. Here is where we see more influencers show up to get the detailed info that they need to make a recommendation for a major technology purchase.

And finally for Buyers/Executives – we see we need the same type of content we need for the purchase end of the funnel – since they have the recommendation from the end user and influencer but they need evidence that this is going to work and that they are not the first person to buy which is why case studies, customer references and new win stories really help speed the sales process.

What’s been your experience with mapping content to the sales funnel or buyer types? I would love to know.


Employee “Buy-In” is crucial to social media success

Today’s Tip
Get Your Employees on the Social Media Bandwagon
Posted by: Today’s Tip Contributor on November 10, 2010

A recent online survey found that when companies look to ramp up social media initiatives, many turn in-house first. This is even more likely for small businesses with limited resources. For those companies currently looking to build out or maintain their social media presence—whether it be a corporate blog, Facebook page, and/or Twitter feed—employee buy-in is vital to ensure success. Following are tips for small businesses looking to entice their employees to embrace the benefits of social media:

1. Hold training/information sessions. Explain to employees why social media engagement is important. Give examples of the value it brings to the company in terms of return on investment. Explain search engine optimization (SEO), brand awareness, and the leads that can be generated.

2. Seed topic ideas. Hold brainstorming sessions. Circulate questions about topics to facilitate new suggestions. Share links to recent industry news. Encourage employees to develop ideas for content, based on personal interests and professional experience. It shouldn’t always be about the company. Online content can be used as a way to provide leadership on industry issues, as well to communicate company culture and personality.

3. Identify “champions” or assign a group of individuals to a social media task force. Their job may be to assist in getting other employees to contribute, setting objectives/metrics, defining SEO keywords, and developing a schedule and ideas for content.

4. Leverage existing opportunities. Content is everywhere; employees should think critically about what they already have available to them, including training presentations, customer stories, meeting notes, research, and statistics.

5. Help employees feel invested. For small businesses that are struggling to spark employee interest, making contributions part of their job objectives and even tying them to bonuses can help. A photo and name attached to individual contributions will give employees visibility—and the exposure will motivate them to contribute more frequently and with greater quality.

Kirsten Watson
Director of Corporate Marketing

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November 2010