Archives for March 2012

What’s Your Customer Experience Wordle?

The other day friend Russel Lolacher tweeted a recent installment of a customer service all star roster called “50 Brands Named Customer Service Champions“. 

Then yesterday, for whatever reason, I was experimenting with some text on Wordle.

Put these two things together inside my brain.  Stir.  Marinate for twenty four hours.  And out came this post.  I thought it would be interesting to take a look at word clouds from some of the company websites listed as customer service champions.

Wordle customer servicehttp://static.slidesharecdn.com/swf/ssplayer2.swf?doc=wordlecustomerservice-120323161135-phpapp02&stripped_title=wordle-customer-service&userName=bsdalton
View more presentations from Barry Dalton.

Two observations jumped out at me while I was going though this exercise

1. Very few of these companies have an RSS or Atom for Wordle to access the site’s content.  These companies are not necessarily leveraging social tools or content marketing to engage with their customers online in that manner.  And apparently, that has little effect on their ability to create engaging customer experiences and deliver superior customer service.  As a process note, I attempted to run Wordle on those site where social engagement would align with their business.  For example, Wegmans rather than Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative.

2.  Those companies for which I was able to generate a word cloud, they really seem to be all over the map in terms of their “Customer Service Champion” messaging.  With some, like Indigo Hotels, the words jump off the page.  Words such as “Service”, “Trust”, “Individual”, “Inspired”, “Helpful” and “Community”.  With others like Apple and Saks Fifth Avenue, the messaging is focused on the products.

I wonder.  Should this be reason to pause in the declaration that social web engagement is a key to excellent customer engagement and experience?  And, is it also safe to say that the companies that provide exceptional customer experience invest more time and resources in doing it than in talking about it?

Or are my conclusions way off?

Its All Fun & Games

Or at least it should be.

I’ve come to the realization that I’m bordering on the obsessed when it comes to the applications of gamification as a business strategy.

I read a very creative post last week by Lauren Carlson on the potential for gamification of help desk support.  The conversation in the comment honed in on the question – why limit it to help desk?  Other enterprise functions could benefit from leveraging the methods and psychology of gamification.  The benefits include greater engagement, productivity, innovation, employee and customer satisfaction and financial performance.

As long as the rewards and incentives are aligned with your strategy, the possibilities are endless to create engaging experiences all across your business ecosystem.

Thinking back to the dinosaur days of my early career, I realized these really aren’t new concepts.  Are they?  I started my career in sales.  Everything we did was a competition that leveraged a host of rewards and recognition, both personal and among groups and colleagues.  Understanding gamification goes beyond simple competition and recognition, but these really are the basic elements. 

So, like the moment when The Grinch felt his heart grow three sizes, I’m overcome!  Could it be!?!  Perhaps this is a sign of the return of competition.  A return to the days when not everyone made the team; not everyone got a trophy.

Game on!