Inside the CSO Team!


Astute readers may have noticed a new addition to the Inside BlackBerry blog family today: the Inside BlackBerry Help blog. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re looking for great tips, tricks and how to’s to maximize your BlackBerry® smartphone experience. You’ll definitely want to check out Help Blog honcho Michelle’s introductory post, but before you do that, why don’t you read my interview with her about Help Blog and just what the CSO team does at Research In Motion® (RIM).

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Michelle and my role is Community Manager for the BlackBerry Support Community Forums. I work within a team called the Online and Social Support (OSS) Team, which falls under the Customer Support Organization (CSO) at Research In Motion. OSS focuses on support resources within and planning opportunities within social channels such as Twitter® and YouTube®. Specifically, my role is looking for and creating opportunity to build communities and find ways to support our BlackBerry smartphone customers within social channels. This isn’t done in a silo either – I have the best job because I get to work with a ton of different teams within RIM (like the blog team! – Ed.).

What is CSO’s role at RIM?

CSO stands for Customer Support Organization and within RIM it has the job to support BlackBerry customers and carriers worldwide.

Tell me about all the different ways the CSO team engages with BlackBerry smartphone users.

Our Technical Support team has traditionally supported BlackBerry smartphone users via our call centre. However, in April 2008, we launched the BlackBerry Support Community Forums, which is primarily a customer-to-customer channel – although you will see our BlackBerry Help Technical Advisors from the Social Media Support team jumping in now and again to help out where they can! Last year, in addition to the work on Forums, the Social Media Support team began tweeting, answering technical and how-to questions to our customers frequenting Twitter. You can find the team tweeting at @BlackBerryHelp and @AyudaBlackBerry for Spanish speakers.

Walk me through how you guys prepare for a new BlackBerry product launch. What’s involved? What teams do you work with?

The Social Media Support team (@BlackBerryHelp) team is usually trained on new products, and would also have access to FAQs and product documentations prior to launch. This helps them prepare for what questions might come to them via the various social channels. Upon launch, they will often tweet out links to blog posts, forum posts, FAQs or Knowledge Base articles in response to questions or as a tip to followers. They also gather any feedback from users and route it internally – which is a very important step to ensure we’re meeting the expectations of our customers! All of this requires working with groups from all over RIM including customer support, product and marketing.

What types of questions are the ones the BlackBerry Help team is most commonly asked?

Everything from “how do I change my wallpaper?” to “I have a message indicator on my home page– but I can’t find the message!” The questions can be simple a how-to or require a bit of troubleshooting. The team does their best to help in 140 characters or less! We also spend a lot of time sending tips to our followers on how to enhance their BlackBerry smartphone experience.

The @BlackBerryHelp Twitter account is pretty popular! Do you think that’s an indication of the new ways consumers are looking to engage with companies (via social networks and the Internets) about their products or do you guys just publish really good tweets?

I would have to say it is both. We publish some great tweets, of course, including my personal favorite:

People wouldn’t follow us on Twitter if we didn’t add value to their Twitterfeed. In addition to the great tips and engaging content from the awesome Social Media Support team, they really help people. Every week, the team helps thousands of customers learn cool stuff they can do on their BlackBerry smartphone and help address the problems they may have. The team gets kudos every day from our followers and non-followers alike. It is pretty cool that the team is able to help so many people in 140 characters.

Talk to me a bit about the BlackBerry Support Community Forums – what’s going on in there? What are people talking about?

The BlackBerry Support Community Forums is an amazing community of BlackBerry users. BlackBerry smartphone users of all kinds visit the forums – from Developers to IT to folks who use their BlackBerry smartphone for keeping their personal life running! But a community like this wouldn’t be anything without members who come back to help each other. Over the past two years, the BlackBerry Support Community Forums has become an incredible place due to its members. We have a number of members who give back to the community every single day by helping other BlackBerry smartphone users.

What’s the goal for the new Inside BlackBerry Help Blog? What kind of content can we expect to see?

I am really excited about the new Inside BlackBerry Help Blog. The team has been spending so much time limited to 140 characters that it will be truly exciting to see what they can do in full paragraphs! The blog will focus on questions around recently introduced products, and give users the basic steps in order to accomplish what they want to using their BlackBerry smartphone. We will take what we have discovered from the team’s experience on Twitter and post more involved content on the Inside BlackBerry Help Blog. I hope that users will find both our basic how-to and more advanced technical know-how on the blog useful! And of course, it will be a work-in-progress as we learn from the community as to what they are looking for from the BlackBerry Help team. We’re going to listen closely to what the community wants so we can deliver it.

What’s the hardest part about your job?

Keeping up! I love social media because it is fast-paced – but it can be a challenge to not want to leap into every space without first stopping to think about the best course of action. I think we’ve done a really good job of anticipating the needs of our users, while at the same time engaging and creating communities when the time was right.

About Douglas Soltys

Word Czar. Web 7.0 (in beta). Blogs and tweets and wonders.

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