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Verizon: The Power of the Crowd — Live from BlogWell

Coverage of this session by Andre Bourque. Connect with him by checking out his blog and by following him on Twitter.

3:50 —’s Kurt Vanderah introduces Verizon‘s Telecom/Business Portfolio Leader, Laurie Shook.

3:51 — How you combine social media with product marketing to get fan engagement? Idea Exchange product allows customers to log-in and talk about things you’d like to see in Verizon products. Vote ideas up and down. Users set-up an account, by you can remain semi-anonymous.  This becomes a great funnel for new product development ideas.

3:51 — The forums are split into wired and wireless. Most feedback is related to products and programming. Top input includes:

  • Option to automatically view HD version of shows
  • Ability to hide channels we don’t want — This was implemented by Verizon
  • What shows and networks to add

3:53 — Of forum submitted product ideas, the results are: 1,706 ideas submitted. 917 net view / resorted. 283 accepted. 39 launched.

3:55 — Case study – The Interactive Media Guide. Involved 100 customers as test panel. Delivered these new product features:

  • Extended HD channel guide to include a view of more channels.
  • Hid unsubscribed channels.
  • Created a lighter user interface

Results were met with mixed reviews.

3:56 — What do you do when you have public feedback like this in a forum?

  1. We don’t respond to the initial comment. We wait until we find out if it’s a lasting opinion.
  2. Respond within the medium. Response within the user forum, not Twitter, etc.
  3. Personalize your response
  4. Address testing effort, and perception vs. reality differences
  5. Mention positive feedback without being defensive

4:04 — Why the disparity between what we thought customers wanted vs. what was delivered?

  • Community bias – Participants in the forum are more early adopters.
  • Testing conditions were not optimal—tested in a lab, not in a living room.

Advice: Understand that feedback may not reflect the sentiment of your entire audience.

4:06 — Impact of social on product development

  1. Faster customer feedback
  2. See nuances of customer opinion
  3. More focus on customer priorities vs. internal priorities
  4. Customer expectation: “Internet time”


Q: How were you able to get your product team to understand, value, and act-on the feedback from social media?

A: The people who run the forum are responsible for reporting to the product groups. Get an internal champion to push the subject. Challenge is to get the forum more systematically more integrated into the product life cycle.

Q: Are you able or have you considered allowing forum input directly from a users phone?

A: Still undecided.

Q: How do you ensure critical product updates are not released prematurely?

A: We’d like to see more regular updates that do not reveal what is to be kept in –house. We’ve been able to manage that.

Q: Does Verizon use an outside customer experience board? Does it meld with this work?

A: We have advisory boards, but this effort is more end user focused.

Q: How did you promote and cultivate Idea Exchange?

A: We were able to attract participation organically. Forum users were already engaged in other areas of the website.

Q: Did you use a reputation engine to collect / measure input? Was there a team in place to handle the input?

A: Forum is based on Jive, which allows for certain measurement.

Q: Any legal hurdles?

A: T&C’s states that ideas collected become the property of Verizon.

March 27, 2012 0 comments

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