SOCAP International


  • 3 ways to get more value out of customer feedback

    Posted on: 09/29/2016

    StudyFor SOCAP members, the top priority is putting the customer first. We know our customers’ voices drive improvements, and we understand the power of brand advocates. But how can brands ensure authentic feedback with the content needed to provide rich insights that benefit the whole organization?

    The ConsumerAffairs research team conducted several consumer studies focused on the ways consumers perceive, engage with, and share feedback with brands. The core focuses of our research centered around incentivized reviews, review timing, and the best rating scales for accurate ratings. Each study gave us a key takeaway to help brands get even more value out of customer feedback to turn customer engagement into a major revenue driver.

    Rethink incentivization of reviews

    If you’ve purchased a product recently, you may have received a request to share your experience. But what was the call to action? Did that feedback give you a chance to win a trip? Were you offered a small gift or discount? If so, those offers may be coloring the story you share. The result? Less authenticity in customer feedback, which can prevent brands from spotting trends in customer issues to prevent systemic problems.

    Our surveyed consumers were asked to select any incentives they believed would make a review less trustworthy. The least trustworthy? Cash incentives over $100. Here’s the full breakdown:

    • Cash over $100 - 47%
    • Cash between $5 and $100 - 42%
    • A chance to win over $100 - 39%
    • An item valued at over $100 - 39%
    • An item valued between $5 and $100 - 34%
    • A chance to win between $5 and $100 - 31%
    • Cash under $5 - 29%
    • An item valued under $5 - 20%
    • A chance to win under $5 - 20%

    A study we conducted internally exploring the conversion rates from review request to review across all of our partnered brands indicated incentives didn’t impact review conversion rates. The bottom line? Your brand could stand to collect even more authentic feedback and maintain review conversion rates without incentives. An added benefit is the ability to reduce spend on incentives offered.

    Capture feedback at the right time in the buying cycle

    TimingTiming is everything, and optimized timing gives your team the best chance to collect richer insights from customers by allowing them to complete the buying cycle and rate more facets of their experience. One interesting data point revealed the impact of an overall rating versus rating several factors of customer experience. For negative ratings, the rating was even lower when a customer was asked for an overall rating. For positive ratings, the rating was higher when a customer was asked for an overall rating.

    This may sound great if your company is only seeing positive reviews, but no brand has a perfect score, and an overall rating without looking deeper into various areas of the customer experience means your team won’t be as capable of pinpointing opportunities for improvement using customer feedback. Knowing the best insights come from asking questions covering various areas of the customer experience from ordering to use of the product over time, one of the best ways to capture quality feedback is to consider incorporating additional review collection paths into your reviews management strategy.

    A third-party phone review collection service helps collect unbiased, authentic feedback from customers, focusing the questions on what matters most to your team. Within email review requests, consider providing guidance on areas you’d like to have rated and mentioned in a review. Consumers indicate they rely more on review content than ratings to make informed purchasing decisions and solve their own customer service issues, so considering this as you request customer feedback will play a large role in improved quality of feedback.

    Rating scales matter, and a shorter rating scale offering a neutral value improves accuracy

    Our study on rating scales looked at ratings of reviews as they related to a text analysis of the review’s content. We evaluated the correlation of both against rating scales from 1-3, 1-5, 1-10, and even the Wong-Baker Faces Scale. What we discovered is the five-point rating scale was least biased in driving a rating toward a particular valence, and has the strongest correlation between rating and review content.

    Rating ScaleThese results indicate an increased likelihood for brands to see more accuracy both in ratings and review content when positioned on review sites using this 1-5 rating scale, improving the value of customer feedback for brands and the consumers reading customer stories online. While there’s nothing wrong with being positioned across all review sites where your customers are already engaging, this data is a helpful guide as your teams identify additional channels to incorporate into your growing customer engagement strategy.

    Feedback gives customer service teams the information needed to resolve issues and keep customers coming back, but a smart reviews management strategy will help customer service teams deliver optimized consumer insights to product and marketing teams. We already know customer service teams are the heroes of the company, and continuing to highlight the value of customer feedback will only add to the vitality of customer service as a driver for meaningful improvements in customer experience.

    *All data from internal consumer studies conducted from December 2015 - August 2016 by Dr. Sean Guillory, Ph.D. - Data Scientist at ConsumerAffairs

    Learn more on how to develop a proactive customer engagement strategy for organic search on SOCAP's webinar, October 4 at 2pm ET.

    Zac CarmanZac Carman is CEO of ConsumerAffairs, an online platform for purchasing advice delivered through consumer reviews, news, and expert resources. The site offers a partnership, ConsumerAffairs for Brands, centered around a customer engagement SaaS platform and includes participating in the organization's accreditation program.
  • Faster, Easier, Personalized Service … With Twitter

    Posted on: 09/21/2016

    In the world of digital consumer care, Twitter rises to the top when it comes to how people reach out to and want to be reached by companies they buy from. SOCAP is pleased to have two Twitter executives present “Small Tweets. Big Impact: How to Maximize Value by Providing Customer Care on Twitter” at our Annual Conference Oct. 23-26 in Orlando. DJ Capobianco is a senior analyst who design research to measure how behavior on Twitter, Vine and Periscope shape consumer perceptions and behaviors on what to buy, who to vote for and what to watch; and Jeff Lesser is senior product marketing manager, responsible for leading the marketing of the customer service initiative.Twitter

    In anticipation of your conference session on how to maximize the value of customer care on Twitter, can you share one important takeaway for attendees (and readers!)?

    The worst response a business can give is none at all. Every customer wants to be acknowledged, and businesses create incredible value for themselves—specifically, revenue potential, customer satisfaction, recommendation—by simply responding to their customers. Every day, customers publicly reach out to businesses on Twitter. It's much better to be there, respond and capture that value than to leave your customer thinking you’ve abandoned them.

    The SOCAP conference theme is digital consumer care. What are your thoughts on the future of digital care?

    Digital promises everyone efficiency: People now expect to get help faster and easier than ever before, and with a personal touch. Finding that balance between speedy and personal—at scale—is the challenge we are designed to meet. Twitter may be 10 years old, but it was built for a future we’ve just entered: It’s mobile-first, real-time and filled with public conversations about your individual passions and interests.

    Twitter is considered one of the most innovative companies on the planet! How has it shaped the way customer care is delivered?

    Customer service was the one of the earliest behaviors on Twitter because it’s aligned with what the modern customer expects: always-on, fast, accountable and personalized service that’s frictionless and fun. Since we realized what a powerful tool Twitter can be in this space, we have led the way in building tools and product features that make the customer experience even better.

    We’re super excited about the customer service-specific tools we’ve rolled out over the past year. They allow businesses to integrate Twitter into their existing operational and reporting workflow. This integration is part of the key: Not only can businesses better track their impact, at a low cost, they can quickly provide more personalized service that generates even stronger business value moving forward.

  • Message from 2016 Board Chair - February SOCAP Scoop

    Posted on: 02/25/2016

    Good day SOCAPers,

    We are already in February, and I hope that your 2016 has been good so far! As your 2016 Board Chair, my goal is to keep you informed about the things happening at SOCAP.

    On my side, the year started with an exciting trip to Detroit where I attended a chapter event with our new President & CEO Brian Costanzo. I am very grateful for the hospitality shown from our Great Lakes Chapter members. Brian and I plan to attend as many chapter events this year as possible, and I wish to thank the chapter officers for their time and talent. I encourage chapters to notify Brian at once they have confirmed event dates. If you need us to speak, we are delighted to assist. 

    Have you registered yet for our upcoming national events? Please register for the Symposium (April 10-13) and the Executive Summit in Nashville, TN. (Please note: The Executive Summit registration also includes attendance to the Symposium. Or you can also just register for the Symposium.) The early-bird deadline is March 1 for the Symposium, so register now to save on your registration.symp16

    This year’s Symposium will continue its focus on professional learning and collaboration for customer care leaders. The Symposium will feature outstanding keynote speakers like Hello Products Founder & CEO, Craig Dubitsky, along with professional development workshops--designed to immerse you in targeted content and provide you with additional competencies that you can apply to your current work. In addition to our sessions, we are pleased to bring back our very popular Roundtable 3.0 general session which allows you to identify and drive open, unscripted conversations with your peers on topics that interest you the most. I encourage you to share information about the 2016 Symposium with your networks and be sure to follow us using our Twitter event hashtag #SOCAPsymp16.

    Along with hiring a new CEO last year, the SOCAP Board has spent a significant amount of time developing the Strategic Plan that focuses on creating member value in the following areas:

    • Developing SOCAP Communities
    • Elevating the visibility of customer care through thought leadership and the impact of our new Customer Engagement Framework
    • Professional Development
    • Member journey mapping that will enable increased value and personalization for your SOCAP membership

    Should you wish to know more about the plan, please contact me or Brian. We would welcome your feedback.

    Finally, I am pleased to inform you that our current Board members, Andy Begnoche, Director, Operations Holdcom; Ed Billmaier, Director, Customer Relations, Pier 1 Imports; and Chris Irving, Assistant Vice President, Consumer, Government & Legal Affairs Publishers Clearing House, will be joining the Executive Committee this year. For a full list of our Board Members click here. Also, for the list of our Executive Committee Members, along with our Committee and Community leaders, please click here. Be on the lookout for an email later this month seeking nominations to next year’s Board of Directors. We are always looking for new leaders to step up and contribute. 

    Thank you for your membership and renewing for another great year. Should you still need to renew your membership, please click here

    I look forward to seeing you at one of the local or national SOCAP events this year. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Brian or me with thoughts, ideas and questions.

    Have a great 2016 and thank you for your continued contribution to our profession.  

    Your Chair,

    Céline Dumais
    2016 Board Chair
    L’Oreal Americas

  • Meeting the Changing Demands of Customer Preference

    Posted on: 12/08/2015

    Take a look around you and count how many people are looking at their phones. One person is probably browsing their favorite store deciding what to buy, another is on social media, someone else is trying to figure out why their phone isn’t working and maybe one person is even talking on their phone. It’s becoming a mobile-first world for consumers and this is requiring brands to upgrade their customer experience services to meet changing consumer channel preferences. Unfortunately, there is no “one-size fits all” solution, so it’s vital for most companies to take a multichannel approach– whether it’s serving customers via phone, web chat or in-person.

    Creating a positive customer experience should be the number one priority for brands serving consumers. One poor experience on the phone with a customer service agent can spiral into a PR nightmare as more and more consumers take to social media and blogs to air their complaints. What many customers don’t realize is that often times these customer service agents helping them on the phone are outsourced employees that don’t work directly for the brand. This makes a brand’s customer experience approach even more essential, as priorities need to be aligned across multiple locations and channels.

    Last year, Firstsource Solutions conducted a survey of over 1,000 consumers to find out where customers prefer to resolve their support problems. While half (54 percent) stated that they still prefer to use the phone to resolve a customer service issue, over 67 percent think web chat will eventually become more widely used.

    Take the viral Netflix customer service conversation via web chat as a modern example of why web chat is growing as a standard customer support option. When a customer was having problems with a television show he was watching, he turned to the web chat option on the Netflix website to find out what could be done to resolve his issue. The customer service representative serving the customer in need started role-playing in Star-Trek laden language:

    Customer: I’ve got a problem to report.

    Agent: This is Cpt. Mike of the good ship Netflix, which member of the crew am I speaking with?

    Customer: Greetings, Captain Lt. Norm here. Engineering has a problem to report.

    What followed was a hilarious conversation that lasted roughly ten minutes while the customer representative figured out and resolved the customer’s problem with laughter resulting on both ends. The customer was so pleased, he posted the conversation online, allowing millions to see it. The real winner here was Netflix, which received endless positive PR of how great their customer service is – all over a silly ten minute conversation online.

    Web chat is a proven cost saving customer solution for brands, but regardless of its effectiveness, the need for human interaction will always be a requirement for most companies. Take my personal experience as an example. When I knew I had an international vacation coming up, I called my phone service provider to find out how much it would cost to add international data to my plan for the month. This wasn’t a conversation I wanted to have online since I had several questions about the process, logistics and costs. The conversation took less than ten minutes via phone and I walked away a happy customer with the ability to use Google Maps wherever I please while on vacation.

    What’s the difference between these two examples and why do we sometimes prefer online customer service and sometimes human interaction? Most of the time it comes down to the complexity of the problem the customer is looking to resolve. Trying to figure out why an episode on Netflix keeps looping sounds like a simple problem to fix that can be resolved quickly while chatting casually online. But figuring out how to manage international data that will likely come with extra costs and logistical need-to-knows sounds complicated and I’m relieved to know a person can talk me through it directly via phone quickly and efficiently.

    Another point to consider is that companies can maximize both channels for different customer journeys. Digital doesn’t have to be an alternative channel –the two can be blended together by using digital to complement voice by sending links, video and content while we’re talking to customers. Many of us do this in our everyday lives – chatting to friends while sharing a video or article link. It’s not voice or digital, it can be voice and digital – at the same time!

    From a brand perspective, having both options available for customers has multiple benefits. By seamlessly weaving human interaction with digital options, brands can deliver more positive and cost-saving customer services, allowing consumers to resolve the issues at hand and go back to what they do best: purchasing products.

    Aman_Kathy_headshotKathy Aman is Senior Vice President of Sales and Customer Relationship Management at Firstsource Solutions. She has 14+ years of experience in the Call Center Management industry with experience in Collections and Receivables Management for US domestic companies. Her strengths are in relationship management, business development and finding effective solutions to meet her client’s business needs. Kathy prides herself in honest and straight forward communication; never missing the subtle details that make the difference to her partners. Her experience with Fortune 500, multi-national companies allows her to understand the ever changing business environment her clients compete within.

  • SOCAP 2015 Chapter & Membership Awards

    Posted on: 11/03/2015
    It was a banner year for SOCAP’s Chapters and the Canada Community!


    Membership Awards

    Marie Shubin, 2015 SOCAP National Chair and Chapter Relations Committee Chair, Carlos Suarez, welcomed the following winning chapters to the stage to accept the 2015 Membership Award.  The award acknowledges the hard work of those chapters who met or exceeded their annual goals in membership acquisition and retention. The standards require that each chapter:

    • Achieve net growth of membership this year compared with 2014
    • Meet annual chapter goals for new corporate and individual membership
    • Meet an annual goal of no less than 80% corporate and individual retention

    Congratulations to the following chapters and their chapter representatives who accepted the award on behalf of the entire chapter leadership:

    • Chicago – Elizabeth Tanis (Tyson Foods)
    • Florida – Marcia Gamble (Warehouse Goods)
    • Great Lakes- Lisa Patterson (General Motors)
    • New England – Jon Cox (WellPet)
    • NY Metro – Tara Bischoff (Pinnacle Foods)
    • Ohio – Kelly Napier (Kao USA)
    • Southwest – Shelley Elkins (Dollar Shave Club)
    • Washington DC – Rhett Parsons (Astute Solutions)
    • Canada Community – Linda Grover (McCormick Spices)

    The collective efforts of chapter leadership, SOCAP continues to grow and infuse our association with new talent and industry expertise as well as hold tight to current members so that they may continue to find value in SOCAP membership year after year.



    SOCAP’s Chapter CARE awards are perhaps the most covered awards for our chapters.  This is the fifth year we’ve issued the CARE award to our winning chapters.  To be eligible for the award, chapters must track their accomplishments and activities in four major categories including: 1) Successful execution of Chapter Meetings and Events, 2) Membership acquisition and retention; 3) Effective Chapter Communications and 4) Administration and Chapter Governance.  Each chapter must accumulate a minimum of 42 points to achieve the Chapter CARE award.

    Congratulations to the following chapters and our appreciation to those who accepted the CARE award on behalf of their chapters.  The chapters who received this year’s CARE Award  includes:

    • Chicago – Elizabeth Tanis (Tyson Foods)
    • Great Lakes – Lisa Patterson (General Motors)
    • New England – Jon Cox (WellPet)
    • NY Metro – Tara Bischoff (Pinnacle Foods)
    • Northwest – Heidi Verse (Guthy-Renker)
    • Ohio – Kelly Napier (Kao USA)
    • Philadelphia – Laurel Ardle (Answernet)
    • Southwest – Shelley Elkins (Dollar Shave Club)
    • Washington DC – Rhett Parsons (Astute Solutions)
    • Wisconsin – Jennifer Schneider

    Congratulations to the 2015 CARE Award winners.



    SOCAP is honored to have strong chapter participation by dedicated customer care professionals.  Each year chapters have a chance to honor their own by nominating those who have made significant contributions, leading to the chapter’s ultimate success in 2015.

    We have 13 STAR Award winners this year. These individuals are truly considered stars by their fellow chapter members and have contributed above and beyond the call of duty in helping build membership, plan for and successfully execute great events, managing finances and finding new and creative ways to build member value and attract new organizations to the SOCAP community.

    Georgia Chapter

    Greg L’Amoreau(Alumni)

    Jay Steinworth (GM Voices)

    Kyle Krubeck (Automated Voice & Data Solutions)

    Great Lakes Chapter

    Lisa Patterson (General Motors)

    Chip Rohde (Wilke Global)

    Tim Aulph (North American Bancard)

    NY Metro

    Jennifer Gordon (GC Services)

    Northwest Chapter

    Deborah Sommers (Blue Diamond Growers)

    Justin Bagatti (Cisco)

    Ohio Chapter

    Brent Lowe (InfoCision)

    Southwest Chapter

    Darren Prine (Bright Pattern)

    Brian Giannini (RQA/Action)

    Canada Community

    Pierre Marc Jasmin (Services Triad)

    Congratulations to all the 2015 STAR winners.  We’re proud of your many accomplishments.