Microsoft: The Microsoft Experience — Live from BlogWell

1:29 — Andy Sernovitz introduces Microsoft’s Community and Online Support Director, Nestor Portillo.

1:29 — Nestor talks about customer service and social media.  People having conversations outside of MSFT community without MSFT participating.

1:30 — Nestor: Driver for getting involved – it’s expected that we participate.  One of our most important segments is very active on Facebook.  Social media is used more frequently than email.

1:31 — Nestor: Most conversations taking place in social media platforms/IM/etc. – decided we needed to join this conversation under new rules.  Social media forces us to think about how we want to engage customers.  All metrics are changing.  Social media is about reach/mentions/sentiment.  We used to use surveys (for customer service assessment) – now we have to revise this.

1:33 — Nestor: MSFT has been using communities more than 15 years.  Since then, newsgroups, forums, wiki, strong presence in twitter/fbook.  Online component has always been there, but now social media is defining how we allocate resources to improve performance with customer.  Customer’s expectations are changing.

1:34 — Nestor: All these factors have made us think about opportunities to gain reach.  You’ll find a lot of customers – but they aren’t talking with you (only about you). Social media is great to increase presence of assets. It offers opportunities to increase customer reach, improve discoverability of our support assets and enhance our listening capabilities to gather feedback.

1:35 — Nestor: 1st source for insight into conversation is search engine, then FB, then Twitter.  A ton of value on the listening side. We wanted to listen – but didn’t know where to start. There are so many platforms – which ones to choose?

1:37 — Nestor: Listening Model – 3 steps. These people represent our customers – so important to listen.  Targeted (product/service quality), Structured (customer satisfaction) and Real Time (keyword based.  Mining Twitter to get insights used for pulse, customer engagement and trends).  Agents are hired to do this.  Idea is to move conversations from Twitter to forums and drive consistency so all customers get the same answers.  Allows company to understand what the issues are and figure out the solutions.

1:39 — Nestor: Listening Model.  We are now able to identify top conversations and from there, decide what kind of content we need to include in products/properties so customers get the information they need.  We are trying to drive changes to drive better customer satisfaction.

1:42 — Nestor: How do we scale listening model?  So many people – not enough resources.  Solution – Identify the influencers and engage the community.  These people already love the product; they’re willing to defend the product and share their thoughts.  Influencer model has worked very well so far.  Allows us to create strong community presence and get valuable feedback.  How do we see these influencers?  We profile them based on criteria (through the 4 C’s).  They behave in a certain way:  Connector (connect knowledge with users), Critic (tells what’s not working), Creator (answer questions/share knowledge easily) and Collector (people who drive healthy environment – moderate conversation).

1:46 — Nestor: How do we drive value to the 4 C’s so they add value to us? What do we need to do for them?  What is the impact?  Start by listening. What is their level of influence?  Who is the most active and engaged? Who is a leader and who has authority?  Find these people and give them what they need to add value to your company.

1:47 — Nestor: We reviewed the way were interacting with the influencers. Collect feedback from them and integrate it into product releases. We’ll detect the problem before product is released. It’s less expensive to fix problem beforehand. Good for damage control.


Q: Andy: How do you close a case on Twitter?

A: Nestor: We use different KPIs (time on site, etc). Now the conversation is not our conversation, it’s their conversation. We are there to provide value.

Q: Matthew (HR Block): Organizations have a discomfort level with social media. Cultural challenge to be able to participate in competitive/non-microsoft tools (like FB).  Is this a challenge?

A: Nestor: Yes – we have limited resources. We can’t go everywhere. So, we monitor through passive listening to decide when we will engage. We aren’t looking for our own ID as customer service… We want people loving our products, not customer service (so they ID with windows, xbox, etc). We monitor, then decide if we will engage in outreach.  As a community, decide how to ask.

Q: Brian : How do you use social media feedback?

A: Nestor: At MSFT – we are open to feedback. One of the challenges – how to channel in timely fashion and how to manage feedback.  In case of influencer program – we have a yearly event and organize sessions where people can communicate directly with MSFT.  1600 people from around world participated. We have social media listening team. We have triage process and review on weekly basis results from listening and call center.  This helps us decide which topics to escalate.  High security/high impact (this is the “top issues” team – gets together and analyze which is most crucial).

Q: Penelope : Brief idea of the brand side (vs. customer service)?

A: Nestor: On brand side – using co-tweet to manage conversations.  The brand has a ongoing connection with the customer. Customer service acts as a messenger for digital campaigns. We are selective and decide which messages to be proactive on.  Helping them message based on relationship. Help keep an ongoing connection. Customer service and branding work hand in hand.

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