My Top 10 Favorite Posts of 2011


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Once again, it’s time to select my favorite posts of the year. And, wow, it’s getting harder every year! In 2011, CustomerThink’s 500+ active authors posted over 7,000 times, 20% more than in 2010.

While Social Business was white hot in 2010 (23% of total post views), some of the shine came off the social penny this year. Digital Marketing was our most popular topic with 17% of all post views. That’s marginally ahead of Customer Experience (15%), Social Business (14%) and Sales Performance (13%).

To narrow down the possibilities, I reviewed my weekly Editor’s Picks, Most Popular, and Most Discussed. To pick just 10 posts, a lot of wonderful content ended up on the “cutting room floor.” [sigh]

Without further ado, here are my Top 10 favorite posts of 2011. Enjoy!

  • Why do only a handful of companies excel at cultivating customer loyalty?
    Maz Iqbal’s post in September is well worth reading, and re-reading. Because he gets to the heart of what this community is about—creating loyal customer relationships. Few companies excel at this, which is precisely why it’s a great differentiator. In short: “To excel at customer-centricity, Customer Experience and customer loyalty you have travel along the road less travelled.” Will you?

  • Why “We Suck Less” is Not Enough for Customer-Centric Success
    I loved this post by loyalty expert Howard Lax because the title says it all. Of course you should fix customer service problems. But unfortunately many companies stop there, apparently thinking that not screwing up is the same as delighting customers.

  • Customer Experience: 12 little things that make a big difference
    We have a lot of great Customer Experience experts in our community, but Stan Phelps ascended to the No. 1 position by posting nearly every business day another example of “lagniappe”—a creole word meaning giving a little bit extra. You may not have time to read nearly 200 posts, but you should make time to read this one and learn how a dozen different types of lagniappe can create value for your customers.

  • The Next-Generation Voice of Customer Command Center: Tool Time for Chief Customer Officers
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You can’t be customer-centric unless you truly and fully listen to your customers. The problem is, “listening” has become a lot more complicated, especially for large enterprises supporting multi-channel interactions. In this article I lay out my vision for a “command center” approach that integrates six dimensions of customer feedback. Just don’t forget that magic 7th dimension—face-to-face meetings with your key customers.

  • Social CRM: What’s Right, What’s Wrong, What’s Next? Inside Scoop with Graham Hill
    OK, I’m cheating a little with this selection. It’s really an interview, not a blog post or article. But my discussion with Graham Hill about Social CRM is the best way to get a handle on how “social” is impacting CRM, including new communication channels, sentiment mining and co-creation.

  • Social CRM needs a CRM system, doesn’t it?
    A continued point of confusion (in my mind, at least) is whether Social CRM is a collaborative concept or an upgrade to CRM technology. Thomas Wieberneit does a nice job of discussing whether you really need a CRM system to have Social CRM. I won’t spoil it by disclosing the answer here; you really should read his post and the debate in the comments, then make up your own mind.

  • A Strategic Roadmap for Digital Marketing
    As I mentioned, Digital Marketing was our most popular topic this year. As Chair of the Founder’s Council for our DigitalMarketingOne community, Akin Arikan’s article shows how the digital marketing “puzzle pieces can be assembled into a strategy that supports your business.” It’s part of a comprehensive e-book for CMOs, available for free download if you read his article.

  • Embarassed by This Sales Article in The Economist?
    “Introspective” is one word I would use to describe the state of the B2B sales profession, in light of the impact of empowered/social customers on sales processes. Dave Kurlan sums up an impassioned discussion: “That despite the preaching, teaching, writing, training, speaking and consulting that we all do, and despite how much we ARE attempting to change things for the better, that change has been VERY slow to occur.”

  • Outsourcing Inspiration: How Customer Feedback Creates Meaning at Work
    It’s well accepted that engaged employees help drive strong customer relationships. But Kate Feather brings a fresh insight to the employee-customer relationship with this article on how customer feedback can help to rally employees to better performance. What do you know, being customer-centric can help employees be more engaged, which helps them be more customer-centric, which … well, you get the idea. A virtuous cycle.

  • How to Cast Extraordinary Service People
    And last but definitely not least, customer service guru Chip Bell outlines how to hire the best people to star in a customer service role. Like acting, great customer service requires “artful performances aligned with audience expectations.” Read Chip’s article for three casting guidelines along with questions that will help you find future the customer service stars for your organization.

Well, that’s it for my Top 10 favorite posts of 2011, just a tiny fraction of the contributions from our top authors. Thanks for reading, and please join us for more fun in 2012.


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