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Richard is the Director, Global Social Media, at Dell. Richard runs a robust, active, and giving social group; in fact, many of their decks can be found on Slideshare.
Join us this Thursday at 1pm as Jason and Craig interview Richard from Dell about how a company with over 100k employees (and over 55k on LinkedIn alone!) uses social media to drive the bottom line.
Hey! It is Jason Seiden. I'm here with Craig Fisher, as always, in Beyond Social. Craig, how you're doin'?
Jason, I am great. Just back from beautiful California, I was in San Jose and Mountain View for the Recruiting Innovation Summit, really cool.
And was it innovative?
It was, I learn some really cool stuff and I am going to probably be writing a nice blog post about it and you can see it at fishdogs.com later this week.
That's great. When that goes live we will make sure that is linked from the Ajax blog as well. And Craig speaking of innovation and learning things we have a fantastic guest. We've got Richard Margetic from Dell. Director of Social Media Dell is with us today. Richard, how are you?
I'm well Jason. Good to be here.
We are excited to have you here. I had a chance a few weeks ago, just to get a real quick pick at some of the stuff that you are doing down at Dell. And from my experience and comparing what I saw there to what I've seen elsewhere, it is very clear you've got some very innovative things going on, you've got people very interested. So, before we start, I thought it would be nice to have you just take a couple minutes talk about yourself, what you do, what's happening at Dell, maybe what makes it special and then we're just gonna guide you into it and start asking you some questions.
Sure, that sounds great, Jason. I am the lead of Social Media in a team called Social Media and Community. I am responsible for social media across Dell and by that I am referring to it be cross segment and global, but specifically it is a central organization. We are the ones that helped the business use social correctly. So we come up with the definition of what the social mean to Dell? What is our strategy? How do we govern it? How do we role the training out, how do we measure the impact and we do this for every function in the company. Many companies looked at social media as specific to marketing and we actually see social media as impacting everything from product development to HR. My role is to work with each one of those people underneath the guidelines of being true to what social media means for Dell, and allowing them to leverage those platforms to help further our customers. However, they are defined by the segment as well as for the Dell's initiatives. So Jason, I am not...
So what are the things...Yup, I am sorry.
W can mention Jason that we met because we had a very close relationship with LinkedIn and we wanted to get our employees to be more aware with that and that is how Jason, I connected.
So, which is a perfect seg way to my next question. Ajax Social Media is in the business of helping companies get online, use these technologies to improve effectiveness and efficiency in their operations and we tend to focus on sales and marketing and HR, few of the areas that you mentioned. You also went beyond that to, you mentioned product price development. In your experience so far -- one of the reasons that we started the show was we wanted to help sort of demystify what's going on in the world and bring some clarity to what's real versus what type. So from what you've seen so far. Where are you staying real benefits, were you seeing social bring real benefits in to the organization, is it the same benefit throughout your organization or are you finding that the way that product development or an operation or an engineering department benefits for it is different from the way marketing or recruiting or sales might benefit?
Every function has a different impact from social and gains different benefits from it. The product group in particular is gaining information from social and feedback product development as well as existing product design and what we do is we listen which is the core of our strategy, we want to listen to what the conversations are and then we engaged in those conversations and then we act on what we are hearing and talking about in those conversations. So the product group is listening between what's actually happening out in the blog or social media as well as the comments and our ratings and reviews and in our own IdeaStorm platform, which is a suggestion box for Dell and they are taking that information in to the next product development cycle. So there was a direct impact between what people are saying in social media about Dell products and our development of products. We also bring people into the company itself to get further insight into what it is that they are saying in the social atmosphere and dig a little deeper into their feedback, then each of the other functions marketing is one of the obvious one because it amplifies the message and it allows for extended reach and efficiency and anything that is going up in the marketing world, but our communications company also benefit straightly from it in that brand because what we are using social for is to help other people grow and thrive so we don't use it to prosthelytize about our brand per se, we use it to show what are brand actually does which is to reach out to people who have issues, to engage them in conversations, answer their questions. Support is another area, where we have had huge success with our customers and that we actively listen to people who are saying that they are having problems with Dell, whether it be a technology issue or a service issue or delivery issue, we have a dedicated team that goes out and engages those people who having trouble in escalates those issues in a way that we've never been able to do before.
Richard, this is Craig and I think it's fascinating how Dell approaches product development with input from social media. And so I've got a question around that. How do you filter the suggestions that come in? I mean we know that consumers have ideas, can they all be trusted and if not, how do we filter that?
That's a great question because the blind acceptance or assumption that you answer or agree to everything the customers say, you know the customer is always right type of attitude. If that's done blindly then you end up with a product that, it's afar, we bring our own expertise to the table and we know that there are things that people who have product desires don't necessarily know all of the capabilities that a product can have nor trade offs that might have to happen based upon what the request is. So we give the customer voices at the table and product development, but our own engineers and designers and developers are the ones who've actually bring their expertise in order to shape what the customers was saying. So for instance on IdeaStorm, we've had thousands upon thousands of suggestions there. Some of which that we followed would be our business, alright because if they ask customers what they want, they want everything for nothing and there are certain limitations that we have to do there. But we had implemented over 400 of those ideas that came in directly from IdeaStorm into our product line. So there is still an element of collaboration that happens with our customer they were the ones that still have to make the decision as to what will continue to sustain the company and what other customers really asking for.
One of the other things that you mentioned in -- many of the things you mentioned was that you don't prosthelytize but if there is an opportunity to amplify the brand message and I am wondering if the type of engagement that you are describing bringing the customers into the conversation and simply being at the table with them. Do you find that process itself enables you to amplify your message without being pushy or are there other techniques and other tools elsewhere that you have to employ?
Well, there are others but what you are saying is the primary method because our idea is Dell's brand, we want to help other people use technology to help them grow. So, if we are not actively engaging you in helping to use that technology our brand actually would suffer, because then it would just a tagline and not something that we live. By sitting down with people by engaging with people by interacting and listening to social media and letting people know that we listened to social media. We are doing two things, we are getting our brand name author because we are involving conversation, but we are also walking the walk, and just by doing that we are confirming our brand. So we definitely have the ability to further the brand message just by doing the engagement because engaging and listening is part of our brand message in helping. Now the other thing that we do is that we do kinda of a reverse amplification of messaging inside the company. So we've created dashboards for every segment of our company that means that our entire company is now listening to the conversation. So we bring external voice into the desktops of people throughout the organization so they understand exactly what customers are saying. We have daily weekly and monthly dashboards about conversations for of all of our segments, which means that their voice has been amplified internally which increases the likelihood of us actually responding to the customers and helping the customers grow which ends up getting big back into the business and ultimately the products and the product speak for themselves when they go to market.
I love this idea that you are so intimate with the customers in this way and then social media helps you be that way and that it really filters product and you have been working with Dell on IdeaStorm and several other products that helped you do that since 2005?
How are you getting all this?
Well, I've got into it at the same way Dell got into it and that is get a customer who was having problems and we initially minimized what the customer was saying then take it seriously and we realized belatedly this is the end of 2005, beginning of 2006 that's contrary to what our brand actually is all about and our brand is always been a direct mile, directly connected with the customers and getting customers what is it that they looking for. So I was involved in those early discussions from a technology and strategy point of view and help launched the first direct to Dell blog, our corporate blog that allowed us to converse with the customers which was originally called One-to-One, which is what the idea that's behind Dell getting in to the space at all and that is we want to create one-to-one relationships along with the one and many to many relation and encourage many to many, but the primary focus was to create a one-to-one relationship. That became the direct to Dell blog after getting that off the ground we started thinking about, okay how can we encourage more conversations from the customers and how can we listen and that we stumbled upon a little company that was doing basically a corporate suggestion box and we immediately gravitated to that idea Michael absolutely loved it when he first saw it and IdeaStorm was born. Between seeing the platform and launch and probably less than two months, that is how quickly we are moving at that time, then we continue just building on that idea. We kept looking for different ways of getting messages out about, I really should say different ways of listening and connecting and coordinating with the people who are talking about us and started building solutions around that and getting involve where the people were.
So the origins for this some pretty organic. What were you doing, how were you getting this information before social table on? How much of the challenge to convince people that customer data needed to be on their desktops. What was the change like, what kind of resistance have you had as you and Dell have made this journey?
Well resistance, we have quite a bit of resistance but, I didn't start working at Dell till 2005 so I was really here at the inceptions of social having impact. So we had a few people in the company who really understood from the very beginning what social was going to mean. Not only what it meant back in 2005 but what it was going to mean and those people have been flag bearers for doing the right thing by our customers. Dell obviously has a long history of working with customers and might be a little spotted in some areas but the heart was always true. We are trying to make sure that we are listening to our customers and giving them what they want, but when the social came on we had a group of people who really drove that idea back into the business, so there was a number of places that we hit pockets of resistance where people did not see the direct benefit of being so close in that media, they though there was a lot of risk involved in it and the potential downside was greater than the potential upside. So it took us quite a while to convince people, one of the biggest benefits we have is that Michael believe in tremendously from early 2006 on, but we still had the people who also believe that it still have to make it work for the rest of the company and I will give you a friend and say I want to try to bring the voice of the customers with ratings and reviews and back from 2006, we had a lot of people saying that how could we allow people to say that things about our product on our side and them makes sense for Amazon. It does not matter which camera you buy on Amazon. Amazon still makes the sale. For us it has a more direct impact and what we actually trained the majority of the company to realize is that transparency in conversation is what gives credibility to the positive statements as well as gives the ability for people to trust the information that they are coming that they are getting. So as we integrate with social media that is really a very, very core tenet of our interactions and that is transparency and trust, so we engaged gingerly and we trained people at Dell to engage correctly on those tenets. Our brand tenets would have - in social media policy tenets we have our five very specific steps to go forward and everybody in the company was being trained on them today. We have over a 100,000 people at Dell. We have currently trained over 11,000 of them in social media and have 2,000 of them actually certified to converse in social media. In other words, they have been trained to the point where you feel comfortable with them engaging with customers in social.
You talked about the concepts of transparency and trust, these are not - these are easy words to talk about. What is that training looked like? That is gonna be - first you are talking about behavior-based training in some respect secondly, there are some people who - every organization if you have some people who more naturally are gonna be comfortable and transparent conversations than others and there is some people, and there will great people. They keep their things close to their vest. They're just not comfortable sharing. How do you screen people? What is the training looked like? What is this process that you put people to get them comfortable with these concepts?
Well the training itself is about eight hours worth of training social media policies, guidelines, tone of voice, requirements, knowledge of what actually impacts social media and then the ability to engage, we train them for specific platform that they are trying to engage on so whether be Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook or slideshow we do a deep dive about platform and talk specifically about how best is that platform and converse in those areas. We then have a governance process that make sure that people are indeed adhering to the guidelines that we put out and then are listening tools by themselves. It is not that we listen in to those specific conversations but we listen to all conversations about Dell so when our employees are talking about Dell, we are aware of it. We know what is happening and we definitely flag anything that is off brand on transparent or incredible if you will. I got to tell you though as of now I cannot think of more than - actually nothing comes to mind we were actually had to go out and pull somebody in or retrain anybody who is going to our governance process.
Now (crosstalk) before they launch or if they have launched without going to our governance process because we aren't quite so long. There are people who go to market in social media that hasn't gone through the training. Those people, we have to pull in but the people who have gone through governance, we haven't any problem.
It is interesting to me and a couple of all those, before I get in to social media, I spent a number of years doing executive coaching and teambuilding and there is significant fair process. It has been around for a little while and it is the idea that people are generally okay with any outcome as long as they believe it was achieved to a fair process and there is data from all - all fashions of life including business life where - workers have been unhappy with wonderful terms they were handed down for management specifically because they were handed down and in other choices of employees walking through walls for their employers even in really though times because the employers open the box and showed them like, look this is what we are dealing at. I will do anything I can to help you guys but we have to stay with these realities here, so it's interesting to me that in some respect we're learning an old lesson one more time with social but what's particular interesting about your approach with Dell seems to be you seemed to be had put in yourself in a path as an organization. You do not have to learn this lesson again. You know, you've taken this data. You've made it a part of people's daily lives, you've created the dashboards, and you've created a certification program where people are being conditioned to understand that luck. If you want to speak on behalf of the company, you've gotta go to the training and clearly when you train people on guidelines and best practices and policy and then take them through the specifics and you coupled all the listening you're doing in the back end and I wonder if what you are doing is far deeper than just an exercise of social media but if you in some very profound respect hasn't become an engine for cultural change at Dell.
I think there is no question that there is cultural change that is happening here if you compare to where we were in 2005 and 2006 versus where we are today. The impact that we have had on Dell culture and by the entire group of people who understands social media down or driving for those tenets, we really have converted the company to realize the way to use social and the benefits of using social and during the training and why we make the decisions that we do around the governance process, I think makes people start thinking that way. They start understanding, okay wait a minute the reason why we have to be transparent and credible is then they were trusts us when we say things if we ruin that trust then nothing we say will actually be communicated. Well that's a pretty good lesson for that. Remember we are a global company, different cultures have different use on transparency and credibility and trust but this is something that we have made systemic to anybody who is engaging in social media. This is the way we interact and there is the specific reason for and it furthers our relationship to our customers as well as furthering Dell's business. When put that way, it is a different framework for the mind to work in and we find that we are getting tremendous acceptance after our training classes. The amount of positive feedback we get after training and the amount of people who want to take the training because they have heard so much about it. It is really quite surprising. You wouldn't think that somebody wants to say hey I wanna take eight hours of training in a course in the cultural.
We have got people all over the globe but we are so- the team is so swamped on getting training rolled out because there is so much appetite for it and our response is, it's just great.
We can go back to- I am sorry Jason but I really wanna to make sure that I have said this when we brought new LinkedIn and to be trained we had 200 openings for your training. That training was sold out in 15 minutes.
Yeah that training was sold out in 15 minutes you guys add another section.
That is right. That's the appetite here. We've got people believing.
Is it translating in to results?
Yeah, in to measurable results actually. Now, this is one of the things that another education that we are finding that we have to do to our company and that is where are you looking to measure result? Alright. Most companies they used the three-letter acronym that...
Yeah, so everybody, they are saying what is the outline, what is the outline, so we are changing that conversation in the company and we thought some work to do on specifics around there but we are not talking outline even though there is a measurable engagement in social media but we are talking about business impact so we can measure, we see measurable impact on Dell in many areas by engaging in social media and what we are doing is we are working on creating very specific lead dashboards if you will rather than the traditional outline, traditional metric dashboard. We'll create a new dashboard to tell a different story about longevity about customer's loyalty, about impact on different segments and different parts of the company and brand lift Net Promoter Scores. Something that we've been monitoring for the last couple of years very, very closely and we show social media impact on Net Promoter Scores in that advocacy so we are showing impact but it is not the traditional. It is not exclusive to do traditional ROI conversation.
How importantly Michael Dell's championship with this endeavor?
Probably immeasurable. If Michael did not believe in this we would not made any attraction from the very beginning and he was bothering from the very beginning he was - it has been great having Michael behind us.
That is right. We have a couple of minutes left so you know I mean I have many questions rolling to my head you know ,where is the biggest impact there and where have been the surprises most rewarding aspects so far. The next challenge is what happens when the rest of the world catches up with you - so I will leave any question to you, you have got a couple of minutes what do you think the most important lesson you've gotten out of your experience so far at Dell with social internet that should be shared with the world that other folks will really need to understand for them to start to have the kind of success that you had?
Well it is really customer first. It is really in my mind to a very large degree of social media has given us the ability to have a corporation become like a Mom and Pop Store and by that I mean we now can create personal relationships with people all over the globe with people all over the company and that type of relationship was not possibly before social media so we have subject matter experts who can go out in to the conversation pulling social media and start creating relationships with people answering their questions, asking them what they want, creating true deep relationships and these are the typical lightweight relationships but there is also some deep type that we're also creating as we forge those relationships. It is something we would not been able to do without social media. It is really is a complete transition and we know that we are only at the beginning of the potential here. We know that we have the significant amount of opportunities to build even more so especially as we get all in the accompany involved and we know that this is just going to further the ability for us to help customers get what it is that they want out of technology.
Richard Margetic from Dell the director of the social media fantastic information we've much appreciate it. Craig and I both very much appreciate you're taking the time to talk with us on Beyond Social today and sharing some of your insights from what's been happening at Dell for the last several years. It is you who brought this company really to a new place. Thank you for joining us.
Thank you for having me.
And for everybody who is listening in, you've listening to Beyond Social, production of HX Social Media - with the new guest take care everybody.
Hello guys look who was here Richard thank you very much. It has been an absolute pleasure. I am gonna hang up. I would end the show in a moment and I'll give you a call just to follow up on a couple of matters here but that was fantastic and it's truly impressive to hear what you guys have been doing because it has been clearly such a well orchestrated all side out and comprehensive approach to social as oppose to something that has been bolted on to marketing where you just take four people put them in a corner and having them do something and so it's so you had a way in which you answered the questions and the facts that went into the breath that was there was great to hear.
Jason, thank you again with the opportunity very much appreciate it.
Yeah. Anytime, I am ending the show take care everybody.
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It's good to talk.