Many companies, AT&T included, launched B2C campaigns fairly early in the social media era. But when it comes to social media efforts aimed at the enterprise, the rollout rates pale in comparison to the number of B2C efforts. “There’s no one from the standpoint of enterprise care to say, ‘That’s the road ahead,’” explains Chris Norton, Program Manager, Social Media and eCare, AT&T. So AT&T and Norton are charting a course for the company.
In a pre-Web 2.0 world, the aim of customer relationship management (CRM) was to control and manage customer relationships. But with the advent of social media, CRM has morphed into something akin to CRE—customer relationship engagement, says Norton. “Things have shifted dramatically,” he adds. One of Norton’s tasks is to integrate AT&T’s existing enterprise customer relationship tools with an ever-evolving slate of social media tools—chat, community forums, email, social media sites, blogs, and so forth. “If we’re not influencing the conversation, learning from it and reacting to it to provide better products and services, we’re missing the boat,” says Norton.
Enterprise customers can still call AT&T directly when problems arise, but more and more business customers are utilizing search engines and community forums to find answers. Norton’s goal is for AT&T to be proactive: if business customers search the Internet for answers, they should find AT&T-produced content with useful, up-to-date information about products and services. If done well, the end result will be efficiency gains for enterprise customers and AT&T alike. In one instance, AT&T added eCare avatars to a customer portal. Doing so increased customer response rates and led to a 20 percent boost in customer satisfaction.
A Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Norton is a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve and a Bronze Star Medal recipient. One of the many things Norton has learned from his time in the military is that “not all tasks are created equally”—that the ability to prioritize is key in terms of engaging and motivating a team.
In his spare time, Norton, who lives in New Jersey with his wife and young daughter, helps out with his wife’s jewelry business. “I have a garage full of rocks,” he says. In addition to his roles at AT&T and in the U.S. Army Reserve, Norton is a lapidary—an artisan who cuts and polishes gemstones for setting in his wife’s pieces.
Internet traffic growth is slowing, but video is growing more than 80% annually. These findings and others were made by Alexandre Gerber and Robert Doverspike after analyzing Internet traffic over AT&T Networks....
I’m becoming more and more convinced that over the next several years we will see shifts, albeit small at first, towards providing customer care in channels where we previously did not have a presence....