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HP’s Potts on Using Content for Customer Support [INTERVIEW]

This post is part of the Content Q&A Series, featuring interviews with top content strategists and bloggers about their work and insights about the industry.

Overseeing the content of one of the world’s largest technology companies, Hewlett Packard’s Brent Potts has a unique perspective into the digital strategy that blends marketing with consumer support.

In an interview with The Content Strategist, Potts, HP’s vice president of global digital support, breaks down the company’s goals, explains how it got to the top of the tech world in the first place and offers a glimpse in the company’s future.

Spoiler alert: It’s all about good story-telling.

The Content Strategist: Since joining Hewlett Packard in 1989, you’ve seen the industry change by leaps and bounds. What was that like to witness as an insider at one of the world’s most influential technology companies?

Brent Potts: In my 23 years at HP, I have seen the industry go through many evolutions. It has definitely been an exciting ride and working at HP I have seen so many innovations coming directly from my colleagues on a daily basis.

One of the most exciting opportunities I have been a part of is the efforts I have been leading to move HP into the digital customer service and support arena. For the past few years, HP has been dedicated to building out one of the best digital customer service and support infrastructures in the world.

TCS: Currently, your teams are responsible for all elements of online support and service as well as digital content development and delivery. Can you explain how content, especially Twitter, is used to assist your customers?

Potts: The ability to actively observe online conversations in real-time gives us better insight into the types of information that might be helpful to customers. We’re better able to gear our forums, blogs and Twitter content to topics that are of immediate interest.

Our Expert Day program is a great example of our content strategy in action. Several times yearly, we gather more than 200 volunteer and internal experts together to fill the forums with information relevant to our customers’ needs. They answer questions, provide tips and tricks, and at the end of the day, our customers have an immense wealth of solutions and resources to tap.

Additionally, we’re implementing new technology solutions that allow us to proactively reach out to individuals and solve their issues even before they actively engage customer support. Just this week we noticed a young woman on Twitter who needed assistance with her printer. We reached out and helped her address her problem.

Twitter is also a medium that provides us with a huge volume of customer insight. We’re then able to harvest all that insight and tie back into our product design, quality and sales teams to deliver better products and services for our customers.

TCS: How has that content strategy changed in the past five years?

Potts: The biggest change in our digital strategy over the past five years has been the move from passive to active content. In the past, we created content for HP.com, and relied on our customers to seek it out.

In today’s digital world, content can be found everywhere, is aggregated to all different kinds of sites, and is shared broadly and quickly via social media. Most importantly, the days of static Web content are gone. We need to make our information much more active and available across a wide array of channels.

Today, you need video, audio, live chat and content that is updated very regularly. If we can’t have a resolution posted in 5 minutes, the customer is likely to go elsewhere for help.

The goal of the HP Global Digital Support team is to give our customers the best support content on the Web, across the channels and mediums most convenient for them. We strive to keep it fresh, dynamic and updated with the latest content to ensure each and every customer has the best experience with HP. Every single customer experience matters.

 TCS: From a content perspective, where do you think the technology service industry is heading?

Potts: More content, more digital channels, more people seeking solutions through those digital channels. And more satisfied customers at the end of the day.

TCS: Any advice for aspiring content creators?

Potts: There are so many people out there creating content daily and much of the content is starting to become redundant and similar. Personally I have trouble finding unique content that inspires me these days.

So my advice to aspiring content creators is:

  • Know your audience
  • Be timely
  • Be original
  • Have a unique perspective that attracts people’s attention
  • Tell a story

In this day and age of fast-paced mobile lifestyles, we all have to be better story-tellers, whether that is in an individual piece of content or how we tie all our content together in themes or big picture stories.

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