Welcome to an on-going series of interviews with the people behind the technologies in Social Business. The interviews provide insightful points of view from a customer, industry, and vendor perspective. A full list of interviewees can be found here.
Charlie Isaacs, eServices and Social Media Engineering, Alcatel Lucent
Charlie Isaacs has a track record of R&D leadership, starting with GTE (eventually became Verizon), where he served as Vice President of Engineering and headed a group of over 200 engineers working on Government and commercial applications. Following GTE, Mr. Isaacs held R&D leadership positions at Answer Systems (acquired by Computer Associates), and served as Chief Technology Officer at Broad Daylight (sold to Primus) and at Primus Knowledge Systems until Primus’ acquisition by ATG. Charlie served as Chief Technology Officer and Chief Customer Officer at Kana Software, Inc. Mr. Isaacs holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an MBA from California Lutheran University. When Charlie left KANA in 2009 and prior to joining Alcatel-Lucent, he developed and delivered a Social Media strategy for two different companies. Charlie has over 15 years of CRM experience.
1. Tell me in 2 minutes or less why Social Computing is changing the world for your customers?
Charlie Isaacs (CI): Our customers are recognizing that their customers are extremely well-armed with information required to get the best deal possible, and to make the best buying decision based on accurate and trusted sources–their friends, influencers, and trusted advisors. Our customers are recognizing that they have to need to possess the same information that their customers are using, which includes information about their competition. They also know that their customers have zero tolerance for a bad customer experience and will go elsewhere if they can’t get instant help on a problem that arises, or if anything in the buying process becomes difficult. Our know that they need to use every channel and every vehicle possible to respond to their customers needs because each demographic relies on a different social communication mechanism, and some demographics might jump from channel to channel and social outlet to social outlet. At the same time we are finding that we (Alcatel-Lucent Genesys) have an unfair competitive advantage because when the customers have a huge issue they just want to talk to a human immediately, and few companies offer every channel and every social capability combined with instant voice communication.
2.What makes social computing disruptive?
(CI): Social Computing is disruptive because it is a huge equalizer. Companies selling products and services no longer have the upper hand. If they are selling a crappy product or service the word will get out immediately. Talk about transparency–companies become transparent whether they want to or not. This is disrupting the way companies do business, they way consumers shop, and the way customers are supported.
3. What is the next big thing in Social Business software?
(CI): The next big thing is product-orient social. (I call it object-oriented social, but I have been accused of being a nerd for doing so.) With product-oriented social technology the product is aware of who you are, why you are standing in front of it, and what you are trying to do with it–and the “product” will help you accomplish your goal. For example, if you are standing in front of a TV set at Walmart and you can’t find a store clerk to help you, you should be able to wave your mobile phone across the TV and have it deliver a custom menu that provides you with answers to your questions. The menu should allow you to find an expert instantly (anywhere in the world.) It should help you buy the TV and have it delivered to your house. This “next big thing app” should provide you with comparison shopping and if it finds a cheaper TV down the street at Best Buy, you should be offered a coupon by Walmart to keep you in the store. The coupon should allow you to price match, give you loyalty points for buying the TV, or whatever the analytics indicate that the offer should provide to you at that moment. The next big thing app should automatically scan your friends network for others who have bought this TV (depending on privacy settings) and you should be able to reach out to that friend for a review or for help understanding how it works. And finally, after you have bought the TV, if it breaks a year later you should be able to scan that TV with your smartphone again and it should give you troubleshooting steps or information about your warranty or service.
4. What are you doing that’s disruptive for Social Computing?