There are others with more followers, others with more Klout, others that tweet more, others that have written a book. Others that are more popular, others with more buzz, others that run bigger communities and others with larger networks.
But none that have a multi-channel, multi-category social dominance like Tristan Bishop. If you only followed Tristan Bishop, then you’d have a deep appreciation of Social Business . If you only followed the rest of the Social Business crowd, then Bishop will be a pleasant, refreshing surprise. Nothing about him feels fake. He is as genuine as he is considerate.
Being social is easy. Remaining social day after arduous day is difficult. Keeping followers entertained and educated is even more difficult. Building a new department from scratch to support a social initiative is perhaps the most difficult of all. Bishop is one of those rare social persons who manage to do all four.
But what sets him apart from everyone else is that he does it from behind the walls of one of the most secure companies in the world.
Symantec’s Social Business
“As one of the top security companies in the world, we’re a huge target for hackers. So our culture has definitely been conservative from the regard of protecting our employees, our networks and our users from unauthorized access. So that almost conflicts with the Social conventions of sharing everything and being totally open,” explains Bishop.
Bishop gives his boss, co-workers and Symantec CEO Enrique Salem full credit for allowing him the opportunity to create a social listening and response team. “We needed to find a way to listen to our customers, be attentive, respond to their concerns, use their suggestions to drive customer experience improvement, and build their loyalty while still safeguarding what’s necessary. And the way we do that is through Social CRM. It’s through the correlation of the Social media IDs that exist out there with the backend records of our customers,” Bishop clarified.
Symantec’s Social Business Stats
|18,000 employees||Salesforce.com for CRM|
|Less than 200 active employees on Twitter||Chatter for Microblogging & internal communication|
|Over 200 commercial products||Radian 6 for social media monitoring|
|60 million customers||Omniture for web analytics|
|16,000 Facebook Fans||Vasont to create XML-authored content|
|14,700 Twitter followers||Acrolinx IQ Suite for text analytics|
|1087 YouTube Subscribers||Inquira for knowledge management externally on the web|
When I asked Bishop about his team’s mission within Symantec, he quickly responded, “Our mission is to improve customer experience however we can. So it’s to be as helpful as possible. I can boil it down to four words: ‘Be helpful’ and ‘Be Kind’. I haven’t really written it down yet.”
On Becoming a Social Business
Bishop has just started in his new role. So I asked him about some of the challenges ahead, he responded: “Right now we are probably perceived as an inattentive brand. I haven’t calculated it yet. We do a decent job monitoring our brand to channels. But we don’t respond to off brand mentions. If someone complains about us but it’s not directly to us…If you complain to us we will answer you. But if you complain about us, we won’t. And that’s going to change.”
I also asked him how he was able to fund his new team: “So tying social media monitoring to customer loyalty and net promoter is the way that I was able to demonstrate the value of pursuing this approach,” Bishop responded, “and so I began with my own management level and the layer of people above me and showed them what was possible. Then we demonstrated the value to our senior directors and our vice presidents and eventually to the chief technology officer, who I work under. At that point, it was a no-brainer for him once we showed what was possible.”
Remember, Bishop is creating a social listening and response team within one of the most secure organizations on the planet. If he is able to justify the creation of the team, it must certainly be easier for everyone else.
Best Practices and Lessons Learned
One thing you’ll find about Bishop is that he’s easily quotable. Take this Druckerian explanation of how he views Symantec customers: “I tend to see the business world in two buckets: the customer and the company. So I look at the customer and I look at Symantec and what can we do to help them? I don’t think in terms of silos or functions or departments. Just that’s the customer, they need us, we’re here to protect them, we’re here to defend them, we’re here to support them. Whatever we can do, we need to do.”
I expanded on his philosophy of serving the customer and asked him for some best practices. The following are some of his best ideas:
- Identify your company’s corporate goals and align your social media programs to those objectives.
- Partner up with people across multiple functions, multiple business units regardless of reporting structure and who are passionate about helping customers.
- Gauge the effectiveness of you social media programs by changes in the organizations Net Promoter score. “There’s financial value associated with customer loyalty,” says Bishop.
- Connect your social conversations with your back end corporate data. Some people call it Social CRM or customer relationship management with a Social context.
On Measuring Social Business Success
The corporate naysayers of social business are increasingly less cynical, but still there is doubt when it comes to funding a social initiative. Some are still looking for a direct link from a social conversation to a signed contract. And while those connections are being made today, there are additional benefits that Symantec has uncovered.
“We’re measuring share of voice within the industry for each product. We’re measuring volume versus our competitors. We’re measuring sentiment over time. We are tracking the amount of product suggestions and we’re looking at opportunities for social customer service that may help provide higher service levels at lower price points,” claims Bishop.
Bishop goes on to explain how important it is to monitor customer loyalty, “if you happen to track net promoter scores as we do, and observe how it positively impacts customer loyalty through social means, you’ve got a case that almost makes itself.”
I then asked him how he monitored the overall social program, “At the end of every day, we will use the summary dashboard to report out metrics and share these reports based on sentiment trends by product, influencers and engagement. We’re also looking at data to answer the questions, ‘so what’s the share demographically by gender for each product? What is the geography distribution of Social media mentions in English?’ And once we add multiple languages, we’ll be able to get deeper.”
Why Tristan Bishop is One of the Most Social Men in Social Business
Like tuning a radio station only to find the same broadcaster, Bishop is always there. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, he’s a veritable social jukebox but with infinite content. Most surprising, he produces a lot of the content on the fly. Better, he does not just reference inspirational quotes, he creates them.
|Top 25 most influential Social Business Lists||2 different categories|
And while Robert Scoble comes to mind whenever a discussion around social media and business is mentioned, Scoble isn’t running a social media command center for 18,000 employees. Nor is he working for an organization whose natural impulse is to lock things up and secure all communications.
So we all know content alone does not a social person make, his engagement levels are off the chart.
Search for a Digital Strategist on LinkedIn and Bishop’s name is at the top. Ask the SCRM, Social Customer Service and Technical Communicator crowds who they rank near the top of their most influential lists and Bishop is sure to be mentioned. Need a quick, one-liner response to an angry customer, just ask him. Who gives away more Klout than he receives? Tristan Bishop.
Bishop’s a many trick, social pony with a colored background. A background that includes being a lead singer in a boy’s band, a black belt in Mixed Martial Arts, a stint with Mancow Muller during the infamous bay bridge, Bill Clinton haircut fiasco, and a DreamWorks impersonator.
What can one learn from Symantec’s Tristan Bishop?
The aim of Social Business is to create and strengthen customer relationships. The aim of Social Business is to empower employees to act on the company’s behalf through social channels. These are not abstractions. They are the commitments through which a Social Business program must carry out.
Bishop understands these commitments. Lives by them. So after years of preaching about social leadership , he has achieved it.
Wise brands don’t “extract” value FROM customers: They “exchange” value WITH them. -(Tristan Bishop)