News

What’s All the Chatter About These ICMI Chats?

June 13, 2019

EricaMarois.jpgEvery Tuesday, the great customer service minds of social media gather in the Twittersphere to participate in ICMI chats. At 1 p.m. EST on the dot, ICMI Content Manager Erica Marois unveils the week’s customer service topic followed by a series of questions jump starting an open forum on whatever is trending in customer support that week.

This is what Marois had to say about ICMI, customer service and the brilliant ICMI Twitter chats those of us in customer service look forward to every Tuesday morning.

Q. How did #ICMIchat start?

A. I’ve been working for ICMI for six years. Before that, I worked for a boutique marketing firm where I worked with health care and higher education. Leading up to our fall event six years ago, I hosted a four week Twitter chat series as a way to help people network before the event. I was blown away by the response we got so we turned it into a weekly thing. We launched #ICMIChat in February 2014 and have been doing it ever since.

Q. How do you develop your subject matter?

A. We use a variety of methods, but it’s mostly crowdsourcing. We put polls on social media so our audience can select topics. We also pay close attention the data we collect each year through our community interest survey so that we know what challenges our audience is facing. Our community members tell us what their top challenges are, and we try to find creative and engaging ways to share solutions that help address those challenges. Sometimes we do this through webinars and live events, sometimes we do this through #ICMIchat.  

Q. Who participates in these chats? 

A. We have a core group of about 60 to 75 people that participate so every week we’ve got about 20-25 people really engaged in the chat. It’s an intimate setting, a tribe of contact professionals where everyone is super supportive and willing to share what worked well for their team as well as the struggles they faced. It’s really cool and interesting to watch how community members come together to support each other even when it doesn’t relate to customer support. We had several members come together to start a GoFund me campaign for one of the participants when they fell ill. Another regular chatter launched her own cookie delivery business to support her son who is autistic and everyone rallied around the cause to support her. It’s such an inspiring and unique community to be part of.

Q. What are some of the challenges you come across with this type of forum?

A. There’s really no one size fits all approach to connecting to customers. Some people really don’t like using Twitter and that’s fine. Others would rather listen to a webinar, read an article, etc. 

The feedback that we receive on the chat is that it’s a great way for our members to build out their professional network. Because things change so quickly in the content center environment, real time conversations are a big advantage. 

Q. What topic received an overwhelming amount of feedback that you didn’t necessarily expect?

A. One of the most popular topics was customer service pet peeves. That week, people who did not even work in contact centers organically joined in. I think that chat was eye opening because everyone was sharing what they as customers find annoying about customer service. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in our day-to-day job so we develop almost a blind spot to where we could do better. That chat, in particular, was helpful, because we all got to take a step back and put ourselves in our customers shoes. We ended up creating a whole webinar series based on that one chat. 

For more information about the chats, or to participate this coming Tuesday morning, click here or here.