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Pre-Commerce and the Consumerization of IT

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Follow up (very much suggested reading):
Social media based global product management [Sept 13, 2011]

IDC 2011 Video: Closing the Consumerization Gap[July 12, 2011]

In this recording, Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst of IDC, discusses the results of recent Unisys-sponsored iWorker and business research on the “consumerization gap” and what it means for the enterprise.

Then in the second video below, Paul-Henri Ferrand, CMO of the Consumer & Small and Medium Business Division of Dell is talking about a major trend with potential to transform the whole IT industry.

There is a new wave of consumer innovation to businesses. Three factors are driving the consumerization of  IT:

  1. Social media (on which Dell is spending 50% of resources, unlike the typical 100% business related spending on transactions)
  2. Product range
  3. Work and home

This is referred as the coming of “virtual era” inside Dell.

There are 3 well recognized megatrends:

  1. Cloud computing
  2. Social media
  3. Consumerization of IT (which is – according to gartner – is the most influential trend in this decade)

The latter is due to the social media, the proliferation of digital devices, and to the blurring of the boundary between home and work (flexible work arrangements, seamless always on connections to social media and their content).

In the last 3 years consumerization of IT is in the center of everything they do in Dell (in 2009: decision to go to social media allowed for all employees).

Now let’s see the video: “Consumerization of IT” – Keynote von Paul-Henri Ferrand auf der CeBIT 2011 [March 17, 2011]

Keynote von Paul-Henri Ferrand, CMO der Consumer & Small and Medium Business Division bei Dell, zum Thema “Consumerization of IT” im Rahmen der CeBIT Global Conferences am 3. März 2011.

It is important to see from the below point in time an excerpt from the keynote in transcribed form as well:

[21:31] But I realized one thing. Your brand is not something you control. It’s controlled by your customers. And your customers are now today in blogs, in forums, in websites … They are just talking about your company, And if you decide not to be there, guess what. Yoi can even not know their site, you cannot even influence what they are doing.

Actually McKinsey came up with a study that says that 20 to 50% of the purchasing decisions are being made today by the word of mouth on the Internet and social websites. And on the other side 56% of corporations today are preventing their workers to access social websites. That’s staggering.

I would make the proposition that you have to decide today whether or not you want to embrace consumerization of IT. But if you don’t want to I think your customers will choose to go to other companies. [22:52]

Now it is easy to talk about social media and what we are doing. I will tell you, it is hard.

Actually in Dell we’ve set up a Social Media Ground Control Center. You can see a picture [of it here]. I wanted to show you a video [of it but] I couldn’t get a video on this one.

We are entertaining 22 thousand global conversations a day. And if you go to the center what you’ll see is just quite staggering. We can find out whenever we are launching a product, whatever we are doing … we could find out around the world what is being said. We can analyze it, we can figure out in which continent, in what country, who is talking about us. And then when we know they are talking about us we can get back to them.

Actually we have 3.5 million interactions with customers daily. I think this really what’s the heart of social media. You don’t do social media in a controlled fashion. You do social media because you want to use it. It’s hard. You have to invest, you have to train your people, you have to setup the policies, and you have to ensure that you have a strategy around it. [24:10]

See also:
Dell at CeBIT 2011 [March 4, 2011]
Consumer Driven Innovation by Paul-Henri Ferrand [Dec 10, 2010]

The brain behind these changes in Dell has been a distinct person.
See now another video with him:
Pre-Commerce: A New Book by Bob Pearson [March 1, 2011]

Chief Technology & Media Officer, Bob Pearson, introduces the context for his new book “Pre-Commerce.”

WCG Announces Publication of Pre-Commerce, New Book By Chief Media and Technology Officer Bob Pearson [March 9, 2011]

The book explains how the exploding use of social and online media has fundamentally changed the way customers make purchasing decisions, how they educate themselves, and why they choose to support certain brands above others.  Pearson demonstrates that the shift from an e-commerce world to one that focuses on pre-commerce means that C-suite executives and marketers must listen to and engage directly with customers and influencers to shape their brand and marketplace success.

“We spend less than one percent of our time online involved in a transaction,” said Pearson.  “On the other hand, 99 percent of our time online is spent learning, browsing, socializing and seeking support.  Companies that develop excellence in pre-commerce will be the ones to drive e-commerce success in the years ahead.”

In writing the book, Pearson drew on his extensive experience providing social media and communication counsel to C-suite executives and interviews with more than 25 Fortune 500 executives and other business leaders from a variety of industries. These include Ray Kerins, VP of Global Communications, Pfizer; David Witt, Director, Global Brand Public Relations and Consumer Engagement, The Hershey Company; Lukas Cudrigh, Senior Director, Digital Solutions, Microsoft; Paul Von Autenreid, CIO, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Yann Gourvennac, Head of Social Media and Web, Orange.

“Tomorrow’s leaders will learn how to become a “relevant peer” in the communities of their customers,” added Pearson.  “Those who embrace pre-commerce will learn new ways to market, recruit and retain employees, shape the reputation of brands and much more.  In many respects, we’re all just getting started in our journey to redefine how we all work together.”

Inside WCG – Bob Pearson And Paulo Simas Discuss The New Book Pre-Commerce [Jan 17, 2011]

Chief Technology & Media Officer, Bob Pearson, and Chief Creative Officer, Paulo Simas, discuss Pearson’s new book, Pre-Commerce, the context for it, how the ideas took shape, and the basic framework behind it.

Bob Pearson’s Experience [LinkedIn]

Key Models: i.e. The 4A’s and The 4L’s (of the Pre-Commerce book)4As
One of the most important core concepts
of the book, namely the 4 A’s (which replace the 4 P’s) are providing ways for businesses to create greater awareness, assessment, action and ultimately ambassadorship for their products and services.

As just one example, if you have recently run a satellite symposium at a congress (which in today’s increasingly challenging environment is a significant drain on the annual budget) then ask yourself:

  • Did you really think about when, where and how your target audience will become awareof your symposium (either as a stand-alone entity, or in the context of your ongoing brand activities)?
  • Did you monitorhow word of your event spread among your target audience, and what was said about it? More to the point, did you actively promote / gain advocates for your meeting at all?
  • What real commitment to actionto you get from the people who attended?
  • Did you monitor and facilitatethe post-meeting discussion of the event (beyond the hastily filled-in questionnaires from the few people in the room who weren’t from your competitors)?
  • Did anyone of your audience go back to their practice and become an advocate for your brand as a result of what they saw? Would you even know if they had?

In summary, our approach is that you need to be pro-actively communicating with your audience all of the time – not just whenever you have some data to present or an issue to manage. If you or your advocates don’t make the first impression, someone else will do it for you, and you may well not like the long-term outcome…

Excerpted from: First impressions count: why you must do more to manage your medical communications [June 14, 2011]

Inside WCG – Bob Pearson and Paulo Simas Talk About The 4 A’s [Jan 14, 2011]

Chief Technology & Media Officer, Bob Pearson, and Chief Creative Officer, Paulo Simas, discuss the new customer driven model called, The 4 A’s, whereby companies will have new ways to understand and engage in what their customers are doing and what is motivation them.

Key Models: i.e. The 4A’s and The 4L’s (of the Pre-Commerce book)4Ls

In today’s environment, the customer drives the success of a brand. WCG’s model  for how we listen, learn, and interact with customers starts with the 4 A’s: the framework for a continuum of communication and decision making that span across all points of engagement.

Hand in hand with the 4 A’s are the 4 L’s: a process that enables us to influence decisions regarding the customer’s relationship with our brand. Collectively, the 4 A’s and the 4 L’s add up to become The Engagement Span(ES).

In this WCG ThoughtLeader podcast, Paulo Simas, Chief Creative Officer at WCG, explains what The Engagement Span is, describes the 4 A’s and 4 L’s and how each element fits together to form The Engagement Span to achieve an impact for clients.

Paulo argues that ES is a dynamic framework for engaging current and future customers. He believes that by merging behavior with insight, we create an effective blueprint for powerful communication.

Finally, he offers advice to companies on what they need to do to prepare and be ready for The Engagement Span.

Excerpted from: WCG ThoughtLeader Interview: Paulo Simas, WCG, on The Engagement Span [Feb 15, 2011]

Inside WCG – Bob Pearson & Paulo Simas Talk About The 4 L’s[Jan 14, 2011]

Chief Technology & Media Officer, Bob Pearson, and Chief Creative Officer, Paulo Simas, discuss taking the philosophy of the customer driven model, The 4 A’s, and making it a reality with The 4 L’s.

WeissComm Group Acquires Common Sense Media Group, Appoints Founder Bob Pearson Chief Technology and Media Officer to Help Clients Evaluate and Optimize Social Media [May 27, 2009]

Before starting Common Sense Media Group, Pearson was vice president of communities and conversations at Dell, where he and his team were responsible for developing an industry-leading approach to social media. His team at Dell built and maintained 25 blogs, forums and community sites in seven languages worldwide with over 200 million page views of annual interaction. Pearson’s team built Ideastorm, the first external idea community for a Fortune 500 company, as well as similar sites for healthcare customers and for employees. He also oversaw the company’s approach to Twitter, Facebook and other major social media sites. His team’s efforts, which have been featured in numerous books, such as Groundswell and Crowdsurfing, were highly targeted and successful at improving customer service and satisfaction online, increasing brand value, empowering customers to solve technical issues, rate and review products and, ultimately, help drive e-commerce.

Before joining Dell, Pearson was head of global corporate and pharma communications at Novartis in Basel serving on the company’s Pharma Executive Committee. Prior to Novartis, he built the global healthcare practice for GCI Public Relations, ultimately becoming president of the Americas for GCI.

Pearson is a frequent speaker on social media, ranging from Salesforce.com’s DreamForce to Inc. 500 to Microsoft’s Software Architects Forum to the upcoming Twtrcon this weekend. Pearson is Vice-Chair of the Emerging Technology Committee for the State of Texas and serves on P&G’s Digital Advisory Board and the advisory board of Uservoice. He is also President of the Blog Council, the only organization for social media leaders in the Fortune 1000to share best practices in a private forum.

Bob is an industry leader and visionary whose 25 years of marketing and communications experience, particularly the last three at Dell, will provide immediate value to our clients, many of whom are looking to us to help them understand and successfully navigate the changing media landscape to impact their business,” said Jim Weiss, Chairman, CEO and Founder of WeissComm Group. “We are committed to consistently innovating and renewing our capabilities and services to ensure we deliver A+ work and results to our clients in real time. Our investment in social media is based on our belief that it will become the centrifugal force of the marketing and communications mix enabling clients to target, learn from, access and connect with customers and key influencers in a cost-effective, impactful way that ultimately improves the way they do business.”

Blog Council Announces Dell’s Bob Pearson to Join as President [April 7, 2009]

The Blog Council, the world’s leading forum for large companies to share best practices in social media, announced that Bob Pearson has left Dell to become its new President. Pearson was previously Vice President of Communities and Conversations at Dell, where he oversaw the company’s social media efforts worldwide.

Social media represents a disruptive set of technologies and techniques that will transform a company’s business practices, improve conversational capabilities with customers and empower employees to learn and share their knowledge in real time,” said Pearson. “In the years ahead, we will see social media evolve into a discipline that companies use throughout their organization — from marketing to technical support to human resources.”

Pearson is widely known as the leader of one of the first major social media programs at a global enterprise. His work at Dell is considered the model for how big businesses should work with blogs, communities, and other social media.

From Idea To Innovation [April 1, 2009]

Companies are using online voting tools and prediction markets to conceive new products. So why are most of them still in testing mode?

… Dell looked to an even broader market for new product ideas, using Salesforce.com’s online voting service called Ideas and launching Dell IdeaStorm, where anyone can submit and vote on new features and options for Dell products. Perhaps best known of these ideas is a Linux-based laptop Dell introduced in May 2007.  …

Dell remains a believer in the community’s intelligence after more than a year of using the voting technology and thinks that of the 200 or so ideas it has implemented out of the process, 4% are “potential game changers,” says Bob Pearson, Dell’s VP of communities and conversations.

Dell’s launch of IdeaStorm about 18 months agowas one of several steps the company took to shake its image of not innovating and not understanding fast-changing consumer markets. With IdeaStorm, people submit and vote on new features and options for Dell products in an online forum, and as ideas gain popularity, a moderator forwards them to product managers for consideration. The company has received more than 10,000 ideas, implementing about 200 of them.

Besides the Linux laptop, those ideas include Dell’s decision to continue offering Windows XP when Vista was launched and to do a Dell-sponsored small-business makeover show, launched last week on the A&E TV network. Six features in the Latitude Series came through IdeaStorm, including business laptops in different colors, battery life up to 19 hours, and a backlit keyboard. “All were on the radar, but from the 130 ideas these were the ones that resonated the most,” Pearson says.

Michael Dell – 2020 shaping Ideas [Sept 27, 2010]

As teenagers, Dell Inc. founder and CEO Michael Dell and his computer-minded friends spent all their time on an electronic bulletin board – sharing information, collaborating and exchanging ideas. Since then, their ideals has been adopted by a whole generation. And when you collaborate, anything is possible.

Lessons from Michael Dell on Continual Innovation and Collaboration [by Bob Pearson, Aug 30, 2011]

In my view, Michael Dell is one of the best “continual innovators” in business today.  He is a real expert in understanding and enabling collaboration that is meaningful to a business.  I had the opportunity to see his skills in action when I worked at Dell, which I talk about in Pre-Commerce.

In this post, I would like to share key learning’s that have value to all of us in business today.  Here’s my top 10, based on my experience working with Michael.

#1 – Every customer is important, regardless of size – whether the customer is a teacher in Iowa or a CIO in Paris, we must listen to all of our customers to understand what they are saying, collectively.  We get smarter when we listen well.  IdeaStormwas a great example.

#2 — Innovation is incremental and continual– it never stops.  It is daily.  Most innovation occurs step by step.  It is rarely about the big idea.  Every meeting and interaction counts when you think like this.

#3 – Innovators are their own market research departments– you must become a student of your industry and our world.  With Michael, you can provide some data or insights and he can figure out what is next because he is fully aware of the marketplace.  We all need to  read about China regularly or search trends or smart phones in Latin America so that our “gut”is always ready.

#4 – Collaboration leads to the best ideas– if you ask your customers or employees to tell you what is important, you learn how to make the right trade-offs.    Don’t ask a few.  Ask them all.

#5 – Customers want to help their peers– the most powerful driver of human behavior online is to help your peers.  When companies see themselves as peers, they serve their customers well.

#6 – Don’t decide alone for your customer— participants’ ideas will help guide decisions you have to make about product features and trade-offs.

#7 – Participation is powerful— people get a sense of empowerment when you allow them to participate and recognize their contribution.  Employees can be unlocked in ways we’ve never imagined via technology and good old fashioned effort.  Let go and let yourself become surprised.

#8 – Follow through is the middle name of collaboration— the real action occurs after the idea is received. Reach a conclusion.   Don’t think about it forever.

#9 – Become your own incubator— leaders who nurture ideas create opportunities.  Let go, allow your team to try new ideas, fail occasionally and end up with a great batting average.

#10 – Realize that innovation and collaboration are cousins– you do better when you have a mindset to innovate and a desire to share and learn with others.

The most innovative firms in the future will also be the most collaborative.  I’m convinced.  To hear more from Michael, you can read about his thoughts on the topic  in Pre-Commerce.

In the World of Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, Dell’s Social DNA Serves Its Brand Well [Forbes, May 6, 2011]

You don’t have to be a parent to understand that there’s a difference between just hearing and actually listening. This comment, at the beginning of the recent conversation I had with Karen Quintos, senior vice president and CMO at Dell Inc. summed up our shared opinion that a company can think it’s being customer-centric when, in actuality, it’s not. I had called Karen to talk to her about how social media has changed the way companies interactwith customers and whether Dell, being a quintessentially customer-oriented brand from the get-go (as in, tell us how you want your computer built) had evolved, as a result. What follows is a snippet of our very interesting dialog:

Allen Adamson: Dell, as in Michael Dell, came up with the idea of involving customers in the building of their personal computers and, in doing so, built a differentiated brand name, customer-centric from the start – “customer-centric” being a buzz word, but an appropriate description nonetheless. How has Dell kept up with this concept given the advent and exponential growth of social media since your company was launched in 1984?

Karen Quintos: First of all, customer-centricity is and always has been part of the Dell DNA. It’s not something we think about. It’s the way we do business. It’s like the difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is passive. You can hear someone say something, but it doesn’t prompt any reaction. Listening, on the other hand, is active. You have a passion for the message and you take accountability to respond to what customers need. Listening is what we do at Dell and social media has made it that much more effective and efficient.

AA: I remember back to my “Mad Men” days in advertising when it was the research department that had the primary responsibility to look and listen and report back. It seems listening is the way Dell operates across the board.

KQ: Absolutely. We have taken listening to a whole new level and we use it in every aspect of the business—from product and solutions development to services to sales to customer support to marketing. A great example of this is IdeaStorm, which we launched in 2007. IdeaStorm is a social community that allows customers to suggest new product and services ideas, and then we refine and prioritize those ideas within our organization. As another example, we have a very active group of storage technology enthusiasts. We leverage their knowledge to help us with new solutions and technical specifications.

AA: With social media, there is almost no option but to get things done in real time. The transparency dynamic prompted by digital technology has really brought to life the notion that “a brand is as a brand does.”

KQ: Without a doubt. That’s why we pay close attention to the conversations we have with our customers. We have what we call our Listening Command Center which monitors conversations taking place about Dell on Twitter, Facebook, across all social media communities. The folks on this team can immediately triage a situation. They’re able to trend data that shows us what issues people are latching onto, positive or negative, and then our teams deal with them accordingly. One of the ways we respond to these conversations is through a program called Dell Cares (@dellcares on Twitter). Dell Cares is overseen by an enthusiastic group of customer support and technology people. Instead of just making note and letting issues fester, this team is on top of addressing problems or questions promptly.

AA: Do you think Dell has a particular advantage over other companies because you started out as a brand with an inherent listening culture?

KQ: Yes and no. There is nothing new or novel about the notion of listening as a way of providing customers with what they want and need. It’s so simple and so basic. But if you don’t do it, you can’t act on it. Listening enables superior customer outcomes. All of us at Dell, including Michael, start every staff meeting with a customer story, and then we talk about how we could have made the customer experience even better. If you fundamentally believe that being customer-centric is the right thing to do, opportunities will follow. But you have to believe in it.

Dell’s CMO on the brand transformation and new campaign [Forbes video, Jan 13, 2011]

Introducing Dell’s Social Media Command Center [Dec 8, 2010]

Michael Dell and Karen Quintos join others for the launch of Dell’s new global social media command center.

Dell opens its Social Media Command Center [Dec 16, 2010]

What’s the big idea

Taking a step back, there are three main reasons for a business to leverage social media (the following is based on a conversation I had with the VAR guy who in turn wrote my ramblings upinto something coherent):

  1. Monitor & Respond:You need to protect your brand. By monitoring FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs (through Google Alerts), you can defend your brand, answer questions and stop misinformation about your company before it goes viral across the web.
  2. Educate and Inform: This is where you take the time to tell customers more about your services, expertise or unique selling proposition. Generally speaking, this involves speaking to established customers or speaking to customers who have needs for your services.
  3. Establish Thought Leadership: This is how you pull new people into the sales funnel. Perhaps a local business owner didn’t realize (A) they had a pain point and (B) you have the skills to solve that pain point. Through pro-active communications, you’re able to describe your expertise and create sales opportunities that otherwise may not have materialized.

While Dell participates in all three of the buckets above, the command center is primarliy focused on bucket 1.

Monitoring and Responding

As reported today in Mashable,  “The center will track on average more than 22,000 daily topic posts related to Dell, as well as mentions of Dell on Twitter. The information can be sliced and diced based on topics and subjects of conversation, sentiment, share of voice, geography and trends.”

VP of Social Media Manish Mehta explained the center’s purpose back in October in a comment on a blog post by Altimeter’s Industry Analyst Jeremiah Owyang:

“Our new ‘Ground Control’ is about tracking the largest number [of] possible conversations across the web and making sure we ‘internalize’ that feedback — good and bad…

“Dell’s Ground Control is also about getting that information to the right people wherever they are in the Dell organization, globally and functionally. It’s also about tracking what you might call the ‘long tail’… those smaller matters that might not bubble to the surface today, but are out there… and deserve to be heard. We want to ‘hear’ them too — contrary to the scenarios about ’squeaky wheels getting grease.’”

Dell The 5 years of social media yourney -- Aug-2011
From Customer Centered Marketing: The Social Media Journey [by Allison Dew, Aug 25, 2011]

Allison Dew is Dell’s Executive Director for Social Media and Community. She is responsible for establishing Dell’s strategies, global programs, best practices, policies and measurement of social media across the company.

In addition to leading Dell’s social media and community efforts, Allison is also responsible for Global Insights based on customer research and analytics. She combines this primary research and marketing analytics function with Dell’s social media listening and engagement initiatives to further maximize how Dell uses customer insights and feedback to deliver business value. At Dell’s recent Worldwide Leadership Meeting she was recognized with the “Inspired Leader” award—one of only 16 leaders across all of Dell to be honored with this recognition by the Dell Executive team.

Before Dell, she worked for Microsoft where she led marketing for MSN, ran brand and advertising for Windows, and worked on Microsoft.com and Windows community efforts. She has spent five years working in Japan with a local advertising firm.

Allison has an undergraduate degree in French and Japanese from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Wharton School.

From: Austin AMA Power Luncheon Series: B2B Social Marketing

Social Media Boot Camp: Best Practices from the Front Lines of Dell [Karen Quintos, May, 2011]

Listening is the first step to any solid relationship. Fortunately for Dell, listening has been embedded in everything we do since Michael Dell started the company more than 27 years ago. Back in those days, he would include a “Tell Michael” card with every system shipped, review the feedback when the cards came back, and then assign action items to his team.

Fast forward to 2010, when Dell established the Social Media Listening Command Center, our global operational hub for monitoring some 26,000 online mentions about Dell that customers post every day. We sort what people say about Dell based on topics, sentiment, share of voice, geography, and trends. We strive to understand the largest possible number of conversations—good and bad—all across the web. From there, we work to ensure that the right teams follow up on these conversations and act on them.

At Dell, we have implemented a model based on a centralized social media team that acts as a hub of best practices, tools, and processes that we incubate and then embed within our business units. It’s these business unit teams that execute social media strategies to align with their specific business goals. These same teams participate in our cross-functional council to keep us all on the same page.

Given the dynamic nature of social media, we also leverage it internally to keep information flowing. One of the tools Dell uses is Chatterfrom Salesforce.com, which gives all 103,000 team members the opportunity to connect, build communities within Dell, and solve problems in real time.

How do we measure the business value of social media? What are the right metrics to use based on business needs? How do you use them to guide investment decisions and optimize social media initiatives?

The key is to start with a measurement platform that aligns with business goals, beyond just social media. For Dell, the measurement platform is Net Promoter Score(NPS), which measures customer loyalty: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” We look at the impact of social media and the word of mouth it fuels as being directly tied to NPS.

How Dell Really Listens to its Customers [July 22, 2011]

On Tuesday, July 19, I attended Dell’s second annual Customer Advisory Panel (CAP) meeting, split this year between the Westin Hotel at the Domain (a swanky, high-end, high-density shopping, dining, and condominium mecca in North Austin) and Dell Headquarters in Round Rock, TX. Though the name of this even doesn’t mention social media, the entire focus of the meeting was to explore, explain and discuss how Dell can provide better sales and technical support, education, and information to its customers using social media.

To that end, invitees included some very well-known social media mavens who focus on the computer scene, including Paul Mooney, Allen Mirales, Connie Bensen, Dave Gartner, Haley Quarles, and Travis Bailey, along with a slew of Dell employees at all levels, including a half-hour encounter with Michael Dell himself.

When the first CAP meeting was held last year, Dell had 10 employees who monitored and deal with social media in a single language — namely, English. Today, Dell’s Social Media organization includes a Social Media Ground Control and Command Center, and there are 70 employees monitoring and dealing with social media in 11 languages (English, plus Japanese, Chinese, Portugese, Spanish, French, German, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, and Korean). Dell’s Radian 6 based monitoring and management tools record about 25,000 social media events for the company each day, and they make a serious point of engaging with and responding to those things as quickly as possible. I was informed that most tweets, Facebook postings or other social media messages that request or merit a Dell response receive an acknowledgement or answer of some kind in no more than 24 hours, and that many are handled much more quickly than that.

More information:
Dell’s Story of Listening [July 10, 2011]
CMO 2.0 Conversation with Karen Quintos, CMO at Dell [June 18, 2011]
Listen Up! Dell Lends Its Ear To Social Media [Feb 23, 2011]
Dell’s Next Step: The Social Media Listening Command Center [Dell, Dec 8, 2010]
Social Media Engagement That Works [Dell, Oct 8, 2010]

Dell’s social media support team, a group of 26 employees in the U.S., China and Latin America, now listens to customers across Twitter, Facebook, Renren and other online communities and forums across the Web. Through these interactions, we’ve built relationships with our customers and help solve their problems where it’s most convenient for them. Here are a couple of my favorite listening stories that make me proud to go to work and be part of this fabulous team.

How Social Media Is Changing Customer Service [July 14, 2011]

For Dell, social media has emerged as a critical tool for repairing a brand image that suffered considerably in the wake of some highly publicized product quality and support issues. Now the company has even begun to classify certain social media influencers into people who are Dell “ravers” or “ranters” with an eye of turning those ranters into ravers by providing levels of customer service that exceed anything that was possible before the advent of social media made communicating with customers in real time possible.

In fact, a recent survey of 200 companies conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Dell found that while only 20 percent use social media as part of their marketing strategies, a full 72 percent have plans in place to increase their social media investments. Obviously, most of those investments are going to be tied to lead-generation activities, but many of them are going to discover the critical role social media now plays in customer support.

Supporting Customers in Facebook and via @DellCares in Twitter [Dell, July 23, 2010]

People who have been following Dell’s progression in social media know that we are in the midst of transitioning from a centralized team that carried out all social media efforts to a more decentralized hub and spoke model. It’s really about scaling social media. For us to scale our efforts, we need to make social media a core part of Dell’s business functions. In Dell’s case, it’s clear that providing support for our customers in the digital realm is one of the most vital aspects of our overall social media strategy.

Dell Social Media Ground Control

The image above is one that I’ve discussed for a while. The Customer Service piece (highlighted in blue) is the part I want to focus on today. We are in the midst of growing that team, which is part of members from our Technical Support and Customer Care organizations. Overall, they are responsible for replying to requests for service in a variety of places, from our own sites like the community forumand Direct2Dell. But they also respond to third-party forums and blogs, and help support customers in specific social networks. Two of the most prevalent social networks we’re actively engaging with customers in are in Facebook and Twitter. That’s where I’ll focus the rest of this post.

More information: Importance of Social Media For Customer Service [Aug 22, 2011]

The Evolution of Corporate Social Listening: Adobe, Comcast, Domino’s & Walmart [July 15, 2011]

At Dell, social media is a key pillar of communication and an integral part of Dell’s launch of the new “The power to do more” brand campaign. Here, social media experts talk about how the emergence of social media plays an increasingly important role in the day to day business of their companies.

Dell-Commissioned Study Reveals Companies That Listen Realize Business Results [July 13, 2011]

While making strong progress, businesses are still lagging behind their customers, 80 percent of whom use social media:

  • 50 percent of companies surveyed say their social media efforts are serious but not a core function
  • 16 percent reward customers whose ideas they use
  • Only 6 percent claim that their companies’ listening and engagement initiatives are very integrated

But companies’ investment in listening is on the rise and the benefits are tangible:

  • 64 percent of respondents are incorporating customer feedback into products or services
  • 76 percent distribute customer feedback internally
  • 31 percent are enhancing sales by offering incentive programs for customers who engage online, including deals and discounts

The publication of the “Listening and Engaging in the Digital Marketing Age” study coincides with the US introduction of Dell’s corporate brand platform, “The power to do more.” Dell began as a direct provider of great PC hardware and has long played a key role in pioneering online commerce. In recent years, Dell has been recognized as a social media innovator, using online networks to connect even more deeply with customers. “The Power to Do More” is a fully-integrated marketing campaign focused on helping businesses and technology professionals achieve more in their daily work. In the coming months, Dell business segments will communicate their solutions under this overarching platform. For example, Dell’s consumer business recently previewed its new advertising campaign entitled “More You.”



  1. […] Experiencing the Cloud fueled by 3.5G/3.9G, SoC & reflectivity Skip to content HomeAboutBlogroll 2010HydisMobile Internet (Aug’11)Statistics ← Pre-Commerce and the Consumerization of IT […]

  2. […] of IT” which I already covered from an overall leading vendor point of view in the Pre-Commerce and the Consumerization of IT [Sept 10, 201] post on this site. Please read that before looking at the current trends discussed […]

  3. […] the company again, as described in the details sections of this post, as well as earlier in the Pre-Commerce and the Consumerization of IT [Sept 10, 2011] and Thin/Zero Client and Virtual Desktop Futures [May 30, 2012] posts on this same […]

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