Archives for posts with tag: customer service

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Last week at Dachis Group’s annual Social Business Summit in Austin (#SBS2013), several hundred digital professionals from all over the world came together to hear about how far Social Business has come in the past year and how far it yet has to go. (Great way to kick off #SxSWi if you ask us.) Among the speakers were Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Estee Lauder‘s Marisa Thalberg, Livestrong Foundation‘s Doug Ulman, Deloitte‘s John Hagel, Oracle‘s Erika Jolly Brookes, Edelman Digital‘s Michael Brito, Altimeter Group‘s Brian Solis, and Olivier Blanchard, who has been helping us with a few things around here.

One of the central themes of the event, at least from our perspective, is that businesses cannot truly become social businesses if all they focus on is social marketing. It isn’t that social marketing isn’t important. It is. It’s very important. But as Olivier put it in his session, many businesses today may be putting too many of their social and digital eggs in one basket. There is far more to Social Business than just marketing. Customer service, community development, business development, sales, human resources are among the many business functions which could benefit from an injection of “social.”

(We also couldn’t help but notice how Tony Hsieh never once mentioned Facebook, Twitter, Social Media or even marketing in his session. Instead, he emphasized culture, community, and people coming together organically to build things worth building.) There’s a much bigger conversation there about what “social” means, but for now, let’s stick to the subject at hand: Social Business. More to the point: For businesses to realize the full potential of Social Business, they need to focus on more than just Social Marketing. Today, we want to focus squarely on Customer Service. Why? Two reasons:

1. We have seen time and time again that real-time monitoring of brand, product and keyword mentions turns up a healthy batch of opportunities to fix problems for customers in a timely, cost-effective, and even impressive fashion.

2. Since it costs 6x more to acquire a new customer than to retain one, it makes perfect business sense to spend a little time focusing your social business efforts on customer retention. In other words, when a customer complains about something, be there to do what you can to fix the problem. Don’t just let them walk away angry (unless you owe your competitors a favor or something).

Our visual aid today is a wonderful infographic by the folks at BlueWolf, who were kind enough to compile data from Gartner, Aberdeen, and International Data Corporation and put it all together in one convenient place. (Top of post.) Here is what jumped out at us:

Missed Opportunity

Only 20% of Fortune 500 companies actively engage with their customers on Facebook (real engagement, not just marketing-related).

58% of people who have tweeted about a problem have never received a response from the offending company.

In 2010, only 25% of enterprises were using social channels to respond to customer service issues. By 2020, the number will be 90%. Given that this shift is an inevitability, why wait? What is the upside of being among the last companies in the world to focus on social customer service? What is the competitive advantage of being the slowest to adopt a new technology we know is as important as email and the telephone were in their time?

87% of customers demand and expect better customer service than what is available to them today.

Small efficiency improvements in customer service can improve customer retention by a factor of 5x-10x.

The Cost of Not Being There

17% of customers will abandon your company after only one negative customer service experience.

40% of customers will abandon your company after only two negative customer service experiences.

85% of your business could be lost solely because of bad customer service.

A 1% improvement in first call response (a staggering 52% of inbound calls are not resolved in the first call) results in an average $276,000 in operational savings. (SQM benchmark.) That’s just a 1% improvement. Imagine a 5% improvement. In other words, imagine shifting just 5% of your inbound calls to social response channels; or better yet, catching just 5% of the customer service opportunities you are currently not monitoring for on social channels.

3x as many internal resources are required to acquire a new customer than to retain one. (It’s a lot easier and cheaper to retain customers than it is to replace angry ones with entirely new ones. Every customer you lose because of lousy customer service is terribly costly to replace.)

The Changing Mechanisms of Customer Service

Though social channels in customer support currently only account for 13% of interaction volume (against 40% of inbound calls, 29% in person, and 18% email), demand is outpacing capacity enough that it is expected to grow 53% in the next year alone.

Monitoring of social channels for negative mentions and opportunities to help a customer in need used to be difficult. Today, it is simply a matter of wanting to be there.

One of the main reasons why so much focus has been placed on social marketing is that most social media program owners hail from the world of Marketing, Advertising and PR. According to a 2013 study by Altimeter group, only about 1% of social media program owners came from customer service backgrounds. This imbalance has likely been the chief reason why social customer service has, until now, not received as much operational attention as it should have. It’s an easy fix though, especially when you factor in ever-improving community management tools, social CRM solutions, and multi-channel monitoring suites (like Tickr’s very own Command Center) currently on the market.

Thanks again to the folks at BlueWolf for the infographic. Great work.

Cheers,

The Tickr team

PS: Feel free to join our growing digital community on Facebook and on Twitter and tell us what you think. (We won’t spam you. We promise.)

And if you haven’t tried Tickr yet, you should. (It’s easy. Just click here.)

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At long last, we can finally unveil our new baby: Command Center. We’re super excited to finally be able to share this with you.

What can you expect? More power, more data and more screens, for starters. More search and monitoring customization too. Command Center basically takes Tickr and gives it… well, superpowers.

You know what though? We’ll get down into details of how to use it next week (we’ll also be launching a contest that will let you use Command Center to help you tell your story to the world). Right now, check out our revamped website and this quick one-minute demo of Command center‘s key features, how it works, and what it can do for you. (Click here or on the image below.)

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See? Digital monitoring and social business intelligence just got 100x simpler, slicker, and more powerful. (You’re welcome.)

Cheers,

The Tickr team

Also feel free to join our growing digital community on Facebook and on Twitter and tell us what you think. (We won’t spam you. We promise.)

How Organizations Structure Social Media Teams

Infographic by- GO-Gulf.com

Last week, we came across Go-Gulf’s social media team infographic (above) and found some of the numbers on it pretty interesting. (The infographic was based on a 2012 survey of more than 2,700 social media professionals conducted by Ragan/NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions.) Here is what jumped out at us:

1. 27% of companies surveyed still have dedicated social media teams, vs. 65% of companies having evolved towards functional social media integration.

2. In spite of the fact that 65% of companies surveyed assign social media responsibilities to employees with other duties, a whopping 82% of these companies report that less than only 1-3 people in their organization are involved with social media.

3. Only 22% of the companies surveyed are planning on hiring for social media related roles in 2013, and 25% are relying in some part on interns to manage some aspect of their social media programs.

4. Only 3% of the companies surveyed answered that a business background was a most sought-after quality in their social media hires.

5. 47% of companies consider that 1-3 years of social media experience is all their hires need.

6. The top three types of degrees most valued for social media roles were communications, PR and marketing.

7. Not surprisingly, the departments most likely to be involved with social media are Marketing, PR and corporate communications.

8. How is success measured? 86% of these organizations use likes and followers as their principal success metrics, followed by web traffic (74%) and deltas in reputation/brand sentiment (58%). Only 40% mentioned lead generation and 31% sales.

9. When asked what social media campaigns should be driving, the responses overwhelmingly pointed to increasing brand awareness (87%), followed by increasing web traffic (62%) and improving reputation (61%). Increasing sales and generating leads hovered between 40 and 45%. Improving customer service was in 6th place at 38%.

10. Almost half of the companies involved in the survey post content on social channels less than once per day.

11. When asked about major roadblocks in social media campaign measurement, 65% pointed to lack of time, 63% on inadequate manpower, 41% on lack of funding, and 39% admitted that it was not a priority. 39% also admitted that they were unsure of what tools they should use, and 23% thought that the task was “overwhelming.”

12. Only 5% of companies surveyed are highly satisfied with their social media programs. Almost 70% of companies were either somewhat satisfied or dissatisfied with their programs.

What does this tell us?

1. The goals are still wrong.

For starters, brand awareness should probably not be the primary objective of a social media campaign or program. Second, increasing sales should not occupy the 5th place. If half of companies still are not connecting the dots between social media activity and sales, there is a fundamental problem with how social media is being used by the average business. Speaking of that, if only 38% of companies are using social media to improve customer service, we still have a long road ahead. Note that market research and consumer insights did not even come up as an answer.

Tip: Focusing on the wrong goals leads to generating the wrong results.

2. There is a disconnect between what companies claim to be focusing on and what they are actually measuring.

87% of companies surveyed state that their focus is brand awareness, but the principal units of measure for it, according to this survey, are likes and followers. (Note: net changes in mentions might be a better indicator of brand awareness.) So basically, they are measuring the wrong things. That’s not good.

While 61% of companies claim to be focused on improving reputation, only 58% of them actually measure it. A similar gap exists between the 40% of companies listing increasing sales as an objective versus only 31% measuring social media’s impact on sales. This is puzzling. Why are so many companies not measuring key performance indicators?

The survey aims to answer that question, but here we run into a strange set of answers:

Not enough time: 65%

Not enough people: 63%

Not enough money: 41%

Not a priority: 39%

Unsure of what tools to use: 39%

Too hard: 23%

Let’s address those excuses one at a time:

Not enough time/not enough people comes from the fact that 82% of companies only have 1-3 employees touching social media campaigns. Only 9% have 6+ employees involved with their social media programs. (Note that 78% of these companies have no plans to hire more social media staff in 2013.) Solution: either start deploying more social media responsibilities across the rest of your organization or get help. Either hire someone or partner with an agency to fill the gaps as needed.

Not enough money should have nothing to do with an organization’s ability to measure basic KPIs. That 41% of companies checked that box is pretty puzzling.

Not a priority came in at 39%. That’s just shameful. Measuring KPIs is part of the job. It should be a priority for 100% of social media professionals.

To understand the unsure of what tools to use/too hard excuse, we have to look at the background and experience of the average social media professional touched by this survey. First, the majority of these companies preferred social media professionals with only 1-3 years of experience to those with 3-5 or more. Inexplicably, only 3% of respondents identified a business background as a sought-after quality in a social media professional’s background.

Tip: if 97% of your social media professionals don’t have business backgrounds, how do you expect them to understand business measurement?

Not to sound harsh, but when 39% of social media “professionals” either don’t see KPI measurement as a priority or don’t know what tools to use to measure the success of their campaigns, then 39% of social media professionals don’t have the basic qualifications to even be social media professionals. Either train them or replace them.

3. Only 5% of businesses are happy with their social media programs. Let’s fix that.

No kidding. Let’s consider why:

- Let’s start with 39% of social media professionals not really knowing how to show the value of their own social media programs and campaigns to their bosses (or not thinking of it as a priority). Fix: hire competent professionals.

- Speaking of hiring competent people, if your team consists only of communications, marketing and PR professionals, it is incomplete. Your social media team (dedicated or not) must also include customer service professionals, product managers, business analysts, and salespeople. Tip: the reason you aren’t selling anything is probably because no one from sales is even looking at your social media program. Fix: Change that.

Once you start focusing less on marketing and more on customer service, you will see an immediate change in engagement. Expect a positive change in online sentiment inside of a week as well. You will also see a boost in mentions and recommendations. (Measure all of that.)

Also, once you start monitoring keywords and mentions (your brand, your products, product categories, mentions of behaviors associated with purchases of your products, campaign hashtag mentions, etc.) social media channels will become three things for you: a) lead generation engines, b) customer retention engines, and c) market research engines. So take the time to test monitoring tools. Use them side by side. (Build mini digital monitoring centers). Listen with purpose and we promise that the the value of your social media program will no longer be a question mark for the people you answer to.

- Now let’s talk about goals. Does anyone really think that brand awareness is more important to a business than sales? Of course not. If you don’t agree, here’s something to chew on: what does brand awareness ultimately drive? (Answer: sales.)

Fix: forget what social media gurus have been selling you in their e-books. Social media campaigns’ goals should be aligned with your organization’s goals. What this means: If your company’s goal for 2013 is to increase sales by 11% YoY, then the primary goal of your social media program/campaign should be to help drive that 11% increase. That will be its macro objective for the year. Now let’s look at the series of micro objectives that feed into that:

    1. Net new customer acquisition
    2. Increasing customer loyalty/retention
    3. Focus on customer development
      • increase buy rate / frequency of transactions
      • increase yield (average value of transactions)

Everything that your social media team does should focus on these three areas. The awareness, word-of-mouth, engagement, likes, followers, mentions and visits are among the many vehicles your organization should use to drive these specific outcomes. Think about how to build new value for your customers. Think about how to create better customer experiences. Think about how social media channels, activity and tools will help you become a smarter business, a better business, a more useful business, a more pleasant business.

Tip: Pair a customer service representative with a digital marketing person and let them work side-by side with a handful of monitoring tools for two weeks. Do the same thing with a salesperson and your PR/crisis management person. Then bring both 2-person teams together and turn it into a 4-person team. (They don’t have to be literally side-by-side, but it helps if you can work it that way.) The value of that type of cross-functional collaboration will become evident when your social media activity begins to drive the above objectives.

 Okay, that’s it for today. We hope what we covered here will help many of you improve your social media program’s results. (Let’s get that highly satisfied stat up from that lousy 5% by January 2014, okay?) We’ll keep bringing you tips and insights, so check back with us often. (We’re also on Twitter and on Facebook, so subscribe to our no-spam feeds there.) And if you haven’t added Tickr to your digital monitoring toolkit yet, just click here and kick the tires a bit. We’re pretty sure you’ll like it.

Cheers,

The Tickr team.

Eloqua recently published the above infographic to highlight certain key elements of a study they conducted with B2B companies in regards to social media. We gloss through our share of data and infographics here at Tickr, but this one caught our eye for several reasons. The first is that it focuses on B2B, and that is always a plus in our book. Most of the studies being done on social business focus on B2C organizations, and folks who work in B2B tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to running into solid case studies and informative data about social business in B2B. So before we go any further, let’s give Eloqua a hand for doing this. (And doing it well.)

Second, the study doesn’t stick to just asking the usual questions. It manages to dig a little further than most and get to actionable insights. That’s what we like to see. (data is nice, but if you can’t really use it to do something better, faster, cheaper or smarter, what’s the point?) The first thing that caught our eye wasn’t that 34% of B2B companies STILL don’t use social media or that 83% of social media use is aimed at “increasing awareness.” (We’ll come back to that.) No, what first caught our attention was this: 26% of respondents said PR/communications owned social and 11% said the web team owned it. Remove that 37% of PR/Communications/Web, and you’re left with 63% of something else. Though the report states that only 23% of companies surveyed stated that social is being shared by departments, our hunch is that the number is far higher than that. This is good news.

Even if that 23% number is accurate, it means that the trend towards operationalizing social media usage across the organization is moving in the right direction. The days of social business really meaning “social marketing” are coming to an end. Organizations are learning and adapting to the reality of social business: Since it can be used for lead generation, business development, market research, PR, Marketing, user community management, etc., the management of the company’s social accounts has to be shared across departments. This is indicative of a natural evolution in the B2B social business space. Organizations are learning and adapting to these new channels and technologies. That is a very good sign.

The second thing that caught our eye was the fact that only 35% of organizations are currently using social media for lead/demand generation. 12% responded that they don’t know. That leaves 53% of companies not using social media for lead generation. Given the connective nature of social channels (and for B2B, we want to stress the importance of channels like LinkedIn), we found that surprising. Eloqua looked a little closer at this issue and found that 43% of B2B companies do not currently have a social media-friendly demand generation strategy in place.

43%.

33% of these same companies seemed to be unsure that social media can even be used for demand generation, and 25% responded that social media is simply not applicable to a demand generation funnel. 18% went as far as to say that they don’t have the tools.

These numbers surprised us. Why? Because 100% of B2B companies that currently use social media should be focusing their social media efforts on demand generation. And the 34% of companies that don’t should be looking into figuring out how to incorporate social channels into a demand generation model. So why is this not happening?

The clue might come from one of the first things we talked about today: 83% of the focus from B2B companies in social media is to “raise awareness” for the company or brand. In the same vein, 56% drive social sharing (to further grow that awareness). 55% focus on growing followers and likes, believing that this will increase trust in their brand.

Only 32% are using social channels as demand generation channels (although 35% responded that they are using social media for demand generation).

This tells us that when it comes to social media, B2B organizations are a) still focusing on the wrong things, and b) not leveraging social channels properly. If awareness is the focus of their activity but demand generation isn’t, they are still mostly doing marketing and PR on social channels. They are not truly engaged in building social business practices yet.

Another hint might come from the Top 3 channels part of the graphic, which tells us that 80% use Facebook and 78% use Twitter, but only 51% use LinkedIn. (Eloqua reminds us that LinkedIn has been shown to be 3x more effective at lead generation than Facebook or Twitter, so the impact of this slow adoption rate is compounded by that difference in effectiveness between channels.)

We will revisit the topic of lead/demand generation in a more “how to” format, but for now, here are a few quick takeaways:

1. If you have not yet incorporated social activity into your organization’s lead/demand generation mechanisms, you need to change that right away. Especially if you expect to be able to have a legitimate ROI discussion with the CFO or your sales managers at some point.

2. Use monitoring tools to listen for mentions of your brand, your competitors’ brands, your products, their products, and any keyword that is relevant to your category. Do this on as many social channels as possible. Listening for these mentions will open up a world of opportunities for you, ranging from market intelligence to (yes, you guessed it…) lead generation. This is how you will discover user communities, associations and discussion groups made up of people you need to be engaging with, and leave you open to product feature ideas you had not yet considered (to gain a market advantage) and possible partnerships that were not until then on your radar. (Distributors, manufacturers, service providers, OEM partners, new resellers, etc.)

3. Focus less on marketing and building awareness on social channels, and more on identifying opportunities to make meaningful connections with people and organizations whom you can have a mutually beneficial relationship with. Again, these may be new customers, sure, (though advertising and marketing may be more effective means of increasing your reach than social activity) but don’t underestimate the impact of connecting with existing distribution, manufacturing, reseller, technical and user communities. Find them and join them. Then use these communities to further connect people to each other (and your products). That is where the true value of your social activities lie, and where the seeds of true demand generation will take root.

4. Whether or not a B2B organization ends up using tools like the ones offered by Eloqua (by the way, how would you rate their use of social sharing to drive awareness and demand generation? See what they did there?), the opportunity to build a digital mission control center around a digital monitoring + brand awareness + demand generation + sales & conversion measurement practice might serve a B2B organization far better than… just having a Facebook and Twitter “awareness” strategy.

 Focus on the right things. Rethink your use of social media channels. Look beyond awareness. What is that awareness supposed to drive? Business. What kind of business? New business and existing business. Is your content driving demand? Are your interactions with people on social channels driving demand? Are your monitoring, response and engagement activities focused on driving business? If the answers to the last 3 questions aren’t “yes,” it’s time for a quick reboot of your social media program and get it back on the right track.

We’ll be back with more. In the meantime, why not check out the free version of our Tickr monitoring tool? If you weren’t yet monitoring with purpose, or if your monitoring tools left you a little confused, ours might make things easier and clearer for you. Let us know what you think.

Cheers,

The Tickr team.

In Part 1, we talked a little bit about the complexity of big data, digital/social monitoring, and the inevitable rise of mission control centers. Today, let’s talk about how to stay on track and avoid shiny object syndrome.

Why the most important question is always why?

First, let’s acknowledge that discussions between revenue generation-focused executives and budget-spending focused executives about how to measure ROI can be difficult and sometimes problematic. Command centers, in order to be worthwhile, have to demonstrate value beyond “wow, that looks cool.” Here, we run into the same types of discussions about value (and more specifically ROI) that we were having three years ago in regards to social media:

1. What is the value of having a digital mission control center? What will be the benefit(s)?

2. What will this help us do that we can’t do without it?

3. What will this help us do better?

4. Do the benefits outweigh the costs?

A quick word about value:

Next step: Defining value for the entire organization. At its most basic level, the value of building a command center is twofold:

1. Built properly, it serves a real-time funnel for market data and consumer insights.

Examples: campaign management, product launches, competitive analysis, brand sentiment, message virality,  complaints, technical questions, lead evaluation, etc.

2. Managed properly, it becomes a catalyst for operational efficiency. (Though mostly, it adds velocity to consumer-facing response functions.)

Examples: customer service, PR, reputation management, crisis management, technical support, sales, etc.

Don’t just guess at the potential value of a DMCC. Sit down with every team and/or group in your organization and ask them how a digital command center could help them do their jobs better. Start with customer service, product management, marketing, PR and sales/biz-dev. They won’t just help you map out the operational value of building a DMCC, they will also tell you exactly how it should be managed, and by whom. (This will be the topic of Part 3.)

A quick word about command centers and the marketing function:

The primary function of any marketing-related endeavor is to help grow your customer community. That translates into three areas: customer acquisition, customer development, and customer retention. One way to address this particular focus is to link a portion of the activities enabled or supported by a command center to effecting changes in customer behavior. (Hint: When customer service monitors social channels, it begins to own a big piece of the customer development and customer retention parts of the community management equation. Add word-of-mouth to the customer development and retention mechanisms, and now customer service becomes a source of lead generation.)  Having a well thought out DMCC structure and building processes around it, a company can leverage real-time monitoring and turn data into insights, insights into opportunities, then seize upon those opportunities in real time.

A not so quick word about data, market intelligence and insights:

Hundreds of millions of people talking about stuff on the internet all day isn’t just data. It’s market intelligence. Throw in some simple programming that captures certain combinations of letters and numbers, and what you have now is the ability to track and capture mentions and keywords across dozens – no, hundreds - of channels. If someone mentions the word coffee in the interwebs anywhere in the world that isn’t behind a firewall, you can capture that. You can capture how many people are talking about coffee right now versus five minutes ago or an hour ago or a month ago. You can also look into how they are using the word coffee. Are they craving it right now? Are they asking for recommendations after a bad experience turned them off a particular brand? Are they simply comparing coffee to their personal preference? (Tea, for instance.)

You can even disambiguate: maybe they were talking about a color or a candy flavor. Maybe they were referring  to a commodities report or citing economic data from Colombia. You can see where in the world they are, you can look into their wants and likes and habits, you can see what they take pictures of, what TV shows they tune into, even track their movements by observing their check-ins. You can even divine some measure of their digital influence by using tools like Klout and Kred – however controversial they may be. If you sell coffee, that sort of thing might be pretty important.

Ten years ago, companies had to pay market research firms big bucks to be able to do that, and even the most sophisticated among them couldn’t provide this degree of specificity, this breadth of data, and certainly not in real time. Today, companies can bypass market research firms altogether and create their very own in-house market intelligence operations (at least when it comes to digital). In most cases, they will spend less and get more. But even if some feel like spending exactly the same amount of money they used to, they will still capture considerably more data and insights today than they could have ever dreamed of just a short decade ago. So it’s no surprise that digital monitoring has become a thriving industry. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a software vendor that sells some sort of digital monitoring, tracking management or measurement solution. And it’s been a while since I’ve run into a PR firm or ad agency that doesn’t offer some sort of social/digital (digisocial?) intelligence, expertise or service.

This brings us back to the new wave of digital command centers being erected at pretty much every digital agency and brand headquarters in the US today.  Some are still pretty rudimentary (one or two computers with a few screens running a handful of digital monitoring and management tools), while other setups rival mission control rooms like the ones you might expect from NASA and CIA. Even though it’s still early in the game and we all understand the capabilities open to us with these new technologies, the cost efficiencies brought to market research and business intelligence, and the quantum leap in effectiveness of this type of data and insight collection, it already seems that building digital mission control centers is becoming… a fad, something new and cool to do, the next play in digital services. We haven’t even gotten into this yet, and we’ve already forgotten why we were here in the first place. That’s the danger I want to address today.

Shiny New Object Syndrome – When style erodes function:

Pre-fad, the thinking around social media was this: “This could really help us fill marketing and marketing research gaps. Let’s figure out exactly how.”

Then, when ‘Social’ became a fad, the thinking switched to this: “We need a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Oh, and a content strategy.”

See the difference?

Pre-fad, businesses looked at investments in social media and social activity in terms of opportunities and outcomes: “How do we acquire new customers? Can being here help us figure out what they like and don’t like about us and our competitors? Can we use this to improve customer service  experiences? How can this take cost out of my model? Etc.” Once ‘social’ became a fad, the questions shifted to “how many new fans, likes and followers did we get this week? What’s our Klout score? How do we get more comments on the blog? How many visitors came from Twitter last month?”

What seems more valuable and business-focused: Pre-fad or fad?

We are now confronted with a similar problem with mission control centers – at least potentially: Pre-fad, a company considering an investment in its own digital command center would look at it in terms of concrete value. The evaluation might initially be driven by a question like “how does this help us do X?” (Campaign management, reputation management, customer service, consumer targeting, market research, sentiment tracking, ROI tracking, crisis management, community management, product marketing, lead generation, etc. Good stuff that will keep your hands full all day and then some.) But when the development of digital mission control centers becomes a fad though, what we shift to is this: “Can you build us the same kind of command center company XYZ has? How many screens can we fit on this wall? Should we paint the walls black?” (I’m not joking.)

“Cool” starts to trump function. Having a DMCC becomes a badge of honor, a status symbol, a digital marketing pastiche meant to impress visitors, clients, executives, investors and even potential hires more than serve a purpose. And you know what? There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. If the purpose of a DMCC is mostly to look cool, impress clients and make everyone at corporate feel pretty good about their investment in digital and IT, that’s fine. Aesthetics matter. If anything, it’ll boost morale across the company to have a state of the art digital Batcave. In a way, it’s no different than having an impressive lobby and gorgeous receptionists. BUT, wouldn’t it make more sense to also use that investment to drive more business? To increase customer loyalty? To know exactly what product gaps to fill in the market? To spot PR crises early, before they spin out of control? Doesn’t it make more sense, then, to focus on function before style? You know the answer to that question.

I am sharing these observations with you for a few simple reasons:

  1. To warn you of a common pitfall that comes with every adoption phase: Cool new toys can and will distract you from what really matters if you let them. As my friend Tyler would say, “this is why we can’t have nice things.” My hope is that if you understand how you might screw up, (and know the signs) you will hopefully know how to stay focused.
  2. To let you know that you can have a super cool DMCC that would make the producers of Jason Bourne movies and TV shows like Strike Back and not have anything concrete to show for it.
  3. To remind you that function defines design. Build a DMCC, but never lose sight of why. The why drives the how.

Stay vigilant and keep your eye on the ball. It’s easy to get distracted.

In Part 3, we will talk in more detail about operationalizing all of this and turning your DMCC into your organization’s secret weapon of awesome. (Yep, it’s a technical term.)

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In case you haven’t added Tickr to your list of digital mission control center apps yet, give it a test drive.

You can also follow us on Twitter and hang out with us on Facebook (we’ll be your friend, even on the weekends if you want).