Live from School of WOM in Chicago!


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WOMMA kicked off their annual Spring event, the School of WOM, on Mon May 9 at the Swissotel in Chicago. This is the second annual School of WOM that I have attended, and I am as impressed as always with the caliber of the speakers at every event–it is always a tremendous opportunity to stay on the cutting-edge of the industry as well as network with some serious thought leaders.

Educational content aside, the highlight of the event for me thus far, I must admit, is the release of WOMMA’s “Best Practice Guidebook–WOM in the Customer Contact Center“, which is a detailed look into examples of integrating word of mouth (WOM) principles and social media into the discipline of customer service. This is a project that VIPdesk has been very involved with for over a year and it is absolutely wonderful to see it come to fruition. I am the Chairperson of WOMMA’s Customer Service Subcommittee, which has spent the past year conducting the research upon which this Guidebook is based. Through key findings and a series of case studies, the Guidebook is meant to provide practitioners with a solid basis to either structure a new customer service program that integrates WOM and social media or iterate upon existing models. I will be honest that when I arrived at the conference and received my own published copy of the Guidebook (which is being distributed to all conference attendees), as well as when WOMMA President Rod Brooks announced the release of the Guidebook during his opening remarks, I felt like a parent whose child just made honor roll.

The first keynote address of the day was given by Brian Solis, author of “Engage: Build Connections, Cultivate Relationships, and Measure Brand Success in Today’s Social Commerce World“. Brian is a regular speaker at WOMMA events, and never ceases to provide me with food for thought. Today, the food for thought was the disconnect between what brands think their customers want from them and what customers really expect to receive from a brand with which they “follow” on social media channels.

Following Brian Solis’ keynote, I attended a breakout session presented by the Gap on Using Influencers to Spark Word of Mouth. This was a very interesting case study showcasing how the Gap reached out to speakers at the BlogHer 2010 conference with an offer for two free outfits each (if the speakers don’t look good, they won’t feel as confident during their session). The result was incredible word of mouth buzz for the Gap’s new “Black Magic” line. As a side note: I have been 6 feet tall since high school, and as such have a challenge finding jeans/pants/any kind of clothing that is long enough for me. The Gap was the first brand to make long and extra long length jeans, which have been the only brand of jeans I have owned ever since–give a tall girl a pair of pants that isn’t a high-water and you have a loyal customer for life. Needless to say, I was super excited to receive a coupon for a free pair of jeans at the end of this session.

The final session of the day that I attended was a workshop presented by Neil Beam with AT&T on Integrated WOM and Social Measurement Across the Enterprise–Foundational/Framework. As always, Neil presented a very informational session with some much-needed insight into social measurement.

Sadly, a bad cold kept me away from the evening’s speed networking event–I made the executive decision that no one wants to speed network with a girl who coughs and/or sneezes after every other sentence. However I think that holding a speed networking event was a great way to break the ice during the first night of the conference and think that more organizations should implement a speed networking hour during their annual meetings! I am looking forward to the remaining networking events during the conference, including tonight’s “Sausage Fest”. I love pork products of any kind, and combining the fun of a WOMMA event with pork is guaranteed to be a success. Another side note: I know I can’t be the only person reminded by the name of the event of Ferris Bueller as “Abe Froman, Sausage King of Chicago“.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Linda Dickerhoof
I am very happy to be working for VIPdesk as the company's Director of Marketing and Public Relations. I live in Arlington, VA and am one of a small few who can claim to be an almost-native of the Washington D.C. metro area–my family moved to the area when I was 5 years old, and I never left. I love living in the Nation's Capital and taking advantage of everything that the city has to offer.


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