Jacqueline Shields recently interviewed Pete Williams in a local profile for The Fetch. During question time, she also discovered his thoughts on who is leading social’s edge within Australia.

pete-feature

Pete Williams, Chief Edge Officer at Deloitte’s Centre for the Edge Australia, helps senior executives understand emerging opportunities on the edge of business and technology for corporate growth. Here, he shares with us his thoughts on companies and industry sectors succeeding at social – those that are adopting different business models in rapidly-changing landscapes.

To offer great customer service there are a few options open to companies. One is to employ more customer service people at a high cost. Another is to off-shore it at a lower cost even though you know that your customers aren’t going to be satisfied. The smartest way is to get the people who know most about your products, the people who use it every day, to help each other. Both Telstra and the Commonwealth Bank do this well.

Examples

  • Telstra’s CrowdSupport Help & Support Community Forum

Rather than Telstra manage all their customer service activities, they have their customers support customers. This model incorporates cloud, social, mobile, crowdsourcing and gamification and it’s been a spectacular success. There are around 60,000 enquires a week dealt through that channel alone and this has resulted in them being very successful in customer support.

  • Commonwealth Bank Pi

The Commonwealth Bank has just launched a platform called Pi. It’s a next generation tablet payments system like a next generation EFTPOST machine. What they have done is opened that up for developers to get involved and create apps. Again instead of the organisation saying, “We will come up with every idea and build it and launch it”, they are acknowledging that there is a smarter model.

This model taps into an explosion of innovation, leveraging clouds and seeing themselves as a platform provider as opposed to needing to be responsible for everything they do. We’ve been seeing that for many years with the web titans – the Amazons, the eBays, the YouTubes and it being popularised through Apple’s and Google’s App Stores.

Theory

Both these examples show how business can look at what is going on at the edges and explore how they could use a crowd or how the gaming world applies to them. It’s not so much building games but using aspects of gaming such as levelling up, reward and recognition, badges, achievements, leader boards, and kudos, and bringing them into the process to encourage your customers to do what you want to do with them.

It’s a bit like an open-source community where you have support forums and that’s an edge that we have been seeing for many years of how these communities share knowledge and knowledge flows at a user-to-user level. Two such communities are the high end World of Warcraft guild and the top end Angry Birds community where you need to be monitoring what new ideas and new strategies you have got. Also what are you learning from your personal dashboards, because the community keeps learning and learning so you have to be able to analyse all that information, then quickly synthesise it in the terms of the way you operate.

These online learning communities with elite people all have one thing in common – a propensity to share, using leaderboards, dashboards and social features. This means that the community drives other users to a new level. So adopting gaming techniques can be very effective for organisations. Although as a Telstra user, I do at times question why I am doing customer support for them! But by the same token if I have a problem it tends to be something exotic so the community has also helped me when I have needed assistance.

What about the politicians?

If we look at who has embraced Facebook as an effective communication tool, it tends to be celebrities, sports people and sports clubs. Interestingly enough, politicians have taken the bull by the horns too. No matter what people say about politicians are smart enough to realise when they can connect and reach a large audience. So they are a very interesting crowd who have adopted it while I don’t see the government agencies that they are theoretically running have adopted it any were near as much.

Malcolm Turnbull is particularly good with social media. So is Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd. Kevin did a tweet recently of a pic of a leak of an orange pen on his shirt. He tweeted that he’d put it in his pocket with predictable results. He tweets what he doing and what he is seeing but he also tweets personal stuff.

Obama set the tone with the 2008 election and it continued on. That was when politicians realised how much of an effect it could have. There is a group that is seen as potentially conservative but who are smart enough to work out what to do with it.

Retailers

Retailers have enormous numbers of people on Facebook. Coles have a massive following. Supre has always been a standout. And were one of the early starters. They got in early. They tried stuff. They experimented. They got a core audience and now it’s just massive. They do A/B testing i.e. Which skirt do you like? This one or this one? They engage people with simple, easy non-dinky bullshit campaign stuff not just because someone wants a prize. They incorporate it into part of their long-term business strategy.

The luxury brands are massive like Tiffanys, BMW, Mercedes. Those luxury brands that people aspire to tend to have mass followings.

If we look at who is doing Facebook well in the banking sector, the Commonwealth Bank sort of does okay. Ubank does pretty well. But what we see in a lot of those traditional business to consumer relationships is that some organisations think they are above it. But as I say, if you are above it then you are above your customers and employees so probably not a great place to be.

Hall & Wilcox the mid-size legal firm across the road use it well. But we haven’t seen the legal profession really understand how to adopt social media.

Recruitment

We are starting to see mining companies use social media for recruitment.

In terms of the business to business side we tend to see organisations using LinkedIn. Someone who does that really well is Deloite Globally. We’ve done fantastically. We’ve also done really well with Facebook largely in the area of recruitment. The first thing we did with Facebook was not to build a Facebook page but to build a Facebook app for our employees in 2008 called ‘Join me at Deloitte’. ‘Your future at Deloitte’ is the Facebook page. But before we had the Facebook page we had the Facebook app where employees could put it on their Facebook page and people could say they were interested in a job at Deloitte. So again leveraging the networks of our people at a time when we didn’t have a Facebook network ourselves. We use Twitter particularly well for pushing information out there.

The use of enterprise social networking is growing in people to people knowledge type organisations Deloitte won the 2011Forrester Groundswell Award award for Best Collaboration System (Management) through our use of Yammer. Capgemini is a big Yammer user and they use it very well as do NAB and Suncorp Group. So we are seeing organisations who have large bodies of people that want to get better innovation, better collaboration and better learning using enterprise social networking technologies.

But there is a long way to go for most organisations and the key thing to understand is that it isn’t going away even if you want to ignore it.

About our Ambassador // Jacqueline Shields. Luckily Jacqueline is not a cat. She’d be on her ninth life. Her inquisitive nature sees her say yes to pretty much anything – a  Tough Mudder, an African Safari, sailing down the Nile in a felucca and even a HTML workshop. And each and everything she tries, she takes great joy in writing about. You can connect with Jacqueline on Twitter @hillrepeats.