We’ve opened the annals of Social Media stars from inception until now and compiled a list of the thought leaders, innovators and trailblazers who have had the greatest impact on Social Customer Service. What started as a platform for customers to to vent every qualm to an endless sea of fellow social users, social has now matured into a series of dedicated channels that are just as sophisticated and diverse as its users.
Some of these exceptional influencers were ringing the bell for social customer service long before it was “cool” and have seen their predictions come true time and again A few of these social #custserv stars are helping brands in every industry, from finance and health to retail and telco, connect with their customers in a meaningful way on their favorite social channels, building lasting relationships and real customer loyalty. A few of these leaders have even helped invent the technology that our social society is demanding...always on, personal, mobile and engaging.
1. Ted Coine is a self-made man. Fifteen years ago he launched his first company from his living room. A mere four years later he was the CEO of a $10 million company. His customer service experience spans the lifetime of the Digital Age and he has made it one of his lifelong pursuits to study what he has deemed The Three Legs Principle: the relationship between leadership, culture and service.
Coine is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and a Top Leadership Expert for Inc. He successfully identified the birth of the Social Age and has been calling trends in the industry ever since.
2. Gerry Moran, a seasoned 30 year marketing executive, has helped many brands reach baller status on Social Media throughout his career. Moran helped Meijer reach the 350k fan base mark on Facebook in only one year, and quickly accelerated Rita’s Italian Ice’s following by 100k in two weeks.
He is not only a Social Media master, but also a successful entrepreneur, who launched a 5- person virtual advertising agency after completing his MBA. He has led marketing teams to success from such respected brands as IKEA, HBO and more. Moran launched MarketingThink.com, a hub for marketers looking for tips and troubleshooting help and was listed among Forbes Top 40 Social Marketing Talent.
3. Ray Wang is a thought leader in Disruptive Digital Technologies and touted the future of Social CRM in his best-selling book, Disrupting Digital Business, which was published by Harvard Business Review Press. He dissects the successes and failures of some of the top Fortune 500 companies, giving very specific insights into the business models and their ability to have agile shifts.
Wang is a strategy man, who has a valuable view of the next generation of technology and now sits as a Principal Analyst and founder of Constellation Research, Inc. His enterprise software blog, “ A Software Insiders’ Point of View”, which garners viewership in the tens of millions per year, dives deeper into disruptive technologies for Enterprise.
4. Marsha Collier sits on the Board of Advisors for Buysafe, Inc. Ms. Collier previously hosted a nationally syndicated program on public TV called “Passions and Profits: Your Own Business Online, where she dove into what it takes to be a successful online business owner. She is seen as a thought leader in the world of online selling and has an eBay column in Entrepreneur Magazine.
With over 1 million copies sold, Collier has authored a whopping 48 books about social media commerce, eBay and online customer service. She was also included in Forbes Top 20 Women Social Media Influencers. Collier tours around many universities and prominent conferences speaking about the use of social media in social commerce.
5. Kate Nasser is The People Skills Coach, an experienced speaker and leader teaching about customer experience, employee engagement, leadership and teamwork. She has over 25 years of experience in business and has helped brands learn how to respond to negative feedback and focus on building trust and accountability within their organization.
With her background in business, customer service teamwork and leadership, Kate is a thought leader, helping to drive change in organizations to create an authentic, positive customer engagement plan.
6. Flavio Martins is the VP of operations at DigiCert. He is a self-proclaimed customer service disciple who focuses on building and leading teams to deliver bottom-line value through outstanding service. He partners with key decisions makers within organizations to bring the right technology solutions for the entire customer lifecycle for relationship building between brands and their customers.
Martins is listed as Huffington Post's’ top 100 Customer Experience Leaders, ICMI’s Top 50 Contact Center leaders and SAP’s Top 60 Customer Experience Influencers just to name a few of his accolades.
7. Jay Baer holds the honor of being the world's most retweeted digital marketer. He has made his place as a social strategist and has even spent time on the New York Times best-selling list. He has authored five books, advised more than 700 companies on how to “get and keep more customers,” and is a renowned keynote speaker covering the smart intersection of technology, social media and customer service.
As the founder of five multi-million dollar companies, Jay also dabbles in venture capital and is a trusted advisor when he is not managing his media company, Convince and Convert.
8. Shep Hyken is a well-known customer service and experience expert. Not only is Hyken a successful keynote speaker but he is a New York Times bestselling author of The Amazement Revolution.
Hyken is a proponent for honest, courteous brand/customer relationships and delves into staff training, best practices and technology. His self-named website Hyken.com is a customer service hub and an industry go-to.
9. Paul Greenberg is the celebrated, best-selling author of “CRM at the Speed of Light: Social CRM Strategy, Tools and Techniques for Engaging Your Customers.” He is also the President of a consulting firm that provides strategy for CRM and Social CRM.
Paul is the Executive Vice President of the CRM Association. His career has helped define best practices for CRM and Social CRM as he has liaised with many companies helping them from inception to execution with their CRM programs. It’s a no brainer that he has been honored in CRM magazine’s Hall of Fame - notable as the first non-vendor related thought leader.
10. Roy Atkinson is a leader in all things customer support and service. He is an industry analyst and writer for SupportWorld and other leading white papers. He is a member of the HDI international Certification Standards committee and the Desktop Support Advisory Board as well as a regular speaker at HDI conferences.
Atkinson has vast experience in service desk, desktop support and small-business consulting. He is a Social Media all star and Social thought leader on IT service management and #custserv. He is also the cohost of the very popular #custserv chat on Twitter.
11. Arie Goldshlager’s expertise is on the entire customer lifecycle. He is an established thought leader in customer insights, customer strategy, lifecycle management and building innovative teams. Specifically, for customer insights, Goldshlager focuses on developing innovative segmentation, targeting, analysis and measurement.
He has also been outspoken in the industry as a solutions man for call center performance improvements. He takes great care helping brands balance their company’s needs and customer needs, while keeping their frontline perspectives into account.
12. Jeannie Walters is the Chief Customer Experience Investigator and the CEO/Founder of 360Connext, a customer experience consulting firm. Walters is a fixture in the industry for being all-knowing on the entire spectrum of challenges and services relating to customer experience. With more than 15 years under her belt, giving companies the support they need to improve retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience, Walters is a sought after expert in her field.
She takes her role as a woman in leadership seriously and serves with the organizations Women Employed and Vistage International, where she was selected by her peers as Member of the Year in 2007. She also took on the role of Executive Director of ChicWIT, a 25,000+ member women’s business network and even served as an appointed member of former Illinois State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka’s Advisory Board for Women’s Issues.
13. Kate Leggett is a VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research for CRM and Customer Service. She is the voice of one of hte most trusted consultancy firms, with one finger on the pulse of market trends, while spying out leading research, impactful industry opinions, drafting best practices and championing winning technologies.
With over 10 years of industry leadership experience specifically in CRM and customer service software companies, she came up from the product marketing and management side. She is a sought after thought leader on customer relationship management (CRM) and customer service strategies, maturity, benchmarking, governance, and ROI.
14. Blake Morgan is one of the most visible thought leaders in customer experience with her Forbes column and engaging video blog. She has taken her place among the top 50 ICMI Thought Leaders of 2015 and was listed in Huffington Post’s Top 100 most Social Customer Service Pros on Twitter.
Morgan is a respected customer experience advisor, having worked with such companies as Intel, Verizon Wireless, Verizon, Newmark Knight Frank Retail, One Medical, Misfit Wearables (Shine), Pegasystems, Clarabridge and more. Stay tuned for her customer experience book to be released in the Spring of 2017 with Bibliomotion.
15. Michael Brito is a digital strategist with over 15 years of experience helping brands solve marketing challenges, teaching and writing about digital marketing and social business. He champions the viewpoint of the customer as humans with real passions and not merely marketing targets.
Brito has written two books -- Smart Business, Social Business: A Playbook for Social Media in Your Organization (2011) and Your Brand: The Next Media Company: How a Social Business Strategy Enables Better Content, Smarter Marketing, and Deeper Customer Relationships (2013). He is also a TEDx speaker and is working on his next book to be released later this year, “ Participation Marketing: Mobilizing Employees to Participate and Tell the Brand Story.”
16. Frank Eliason is referred to as "the most famous customer service manager in the US, possibly the world" by BusinessWeek. He is one of the fathers of social media customer relationships. He has been recognized by Bank Technology News as one of the Innovators of the Year and was named as one of the top 25 innovators in the Public Relations industry by the Holmes Report.
Eliason was brave enough to tackle the service and PR debacle facing Comcast with the creation of ComcastMustDie.com after a slew of bad service reports. He helped create the Twitter account @ComcastCares and interacted with more than 10,000 Comcast customers via Twitter, and managed to garner attention from Wall Street Journal , ABC News, Wired , the Washington Post, BusinessWeek , Forbes and the Philadelphia Inquirer , among other publications, and became known as "Famous Frank" inside Comcast.
17. Natalie Petouhoff has many honors to speak of for her work in the digital customer experience space. She has been named one of the top 20 Most Powerful Analysts, Top 250 Most Influential Women & Top 50 Social Media, CRM, Customer Service, Marketing, IoT and Data Analytics and Customer Experience Professionals.
Petouhoff has been helping companies select the right software and architect the right strategy for customer ROI, marketing, customer experience and social media engagement. You can see her commenting on TV and radio as well as being quoted in top publication such as the NYTimes, USAToday, Forbes, and CRM Magazine.
18. Martin Hill-Wilson is a pillar in the customer community in the UK. He is a favorite among the keynote circuit and is a respected blogger and curator of industry trends. He has also served as an experiential trainer, consultant, facilitator, director and CEO for a variety of brands.
A self-proclaimed customer engagement and “beyond silos” strategist, Hill-Wilson is also an author and is busy building his own brand, Brainfood Consulting, where he delivers a range of master classes and interventions. He is also a founding member of Beyond Silos – an expert group offering design and delivery service for next generation customer engagement.
19. Joshua March is a visionary in the new wave of customer care, where the social, mobile customer is calling the shots and redefining engagement. March is the Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Conversocial, a customer care platform for the empowered, social customer. In 2009, his vision of online communication and customer service convening with social care, encouraged businesses to invest in new processes and technologies to manage the rapidly shifting social landscape.
A leading proponent of social media, March previously founded leading social application company iPlatform, one of the world’s first Facebook Preferred Developers, which was acquired in 2012.
20. Al Hopper is a (self) diagnosed SocialPath. His company SocialPath Solutions helps brands drive social customer service and engagement through consulting services and hosted social response teams.
Hopper believes that customer service and marketing are intrinsically connected. Customer relationships can have longevity when brands focus on creating remarkable experiences for their customers. His holistic strategy to customer engagement has earned him prestigious industry awards including: ICMI Top 50 Thought Leaders of 2015, coveted title of Star Player during his stint with Citibank and one of the Top 100 Most Social Customer Service Pros on Twitter.
21. Jeff Lesser is currently a rockstar Product Marketer at Twitter.
Jeff has always been on the cutting edge of technology and marketing, even when he was selling burned CDs – Napster was in it’s infancy. Jeff will always be on the tip of what’s happening with internet marketing because it’s what he does. From social media marketing to retargeting and betas in Adwords he has been there to implement it all first.
22. Dan Moriarty was Social before it was cool. He began his digital career with Mediaedge in London, before cementing his career on the other side of the Atlantic at Resolution Media. After his stint in the agency world, Moriarty took on the role of Manager of International Digital Media & Strategy and then later as the Director of Digital Strategy at Hyatt.
Dan was a disruptive Social evangelist at Hyatt. He increased the focus on the social space by increasing the size of its team, evolving its award-winning social care platform, and continuing to support Hyatt’s efforts to differentiate its brands. Now the Digital Director for the beloved Chicago Bulls, Dan brings his social klout and astute awareness for his customer to the fast-paced world of the NBA.
23. As the head of digital experience and social media at Discover, Dan Gingiss oversaw the customer experience and VOC across all digital channels; and led the company's social media strategy and execution. He currently is the Head of Digital Marketing for a Fortune 100 Healthcare company where he champions the cause of social customer service and customer experience. Dan is an advocate for the power of good customer experiences and outstanding customer service. He is a #SocialFirst example and is extremely active on Twitter.
Dan has found his spot on prominent industry lists, such as: "Behind the Brand: 30 Influencers that Drive Social Media for the Brands We Love" by Purematter and Leadtail; "Top 100 Digital Marketing Experts" by adSpringer; "25 CX Influencers You Should Know" by TandemSeven; and "50 Social Media Marketing Influencers to Follow" by TopRank Marketing. Dan is also the co-host of the Focus on Customer Service podcast, which can be found on Social Media Today, iTunes, Stitcher, and SoundHound.
24. Michael Roy has been working for Alaska Airlines for 10 years and has been leading the Social Customer Care team since March 2014. Prior to Alaska Airlines, he owned a successful restaurant in Santa Fe, NM. He has a degree from Central Maine College in Occupational Health and Safety.
During his time leading the Social Care team at Alaska, Michael has transitioned the team from a few customer care agents assisting Alaska’s Marketing team into a 24/7 rapid response operation which is a leader across all industries in response time and customer engagement. He has also consulted with companies like Starbucks, Expedia, Emirates Air, and Icelandair. He is a father to 5 and is married to his wonderful wife Michelle.
25. Micah Solomon is a forward-thinking mainstay in the customer service/customer experience world. Through consulting, keynote speaking and his regular contributions to Forbes he gives expert insights into the full view of the customer, corporate culture and culture change. He regularly shares his insights with Entrepreneur, The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and other respected, top tier publications. You can also hear his talking points on Wall Street Journal Radio, Forbes.com, and ABC and NBC television programming.
Micah has authored two bestselling books, High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service and Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization . He was included in the prestigious Jack Covert Selection, which is chosen by the author of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time.
26. Michael Maoz has a rich career spanning over 30 years of international experience, 20 of those years focused on CRM applications, contact centers, customer engagement hubs, social CRM, field service, SaaS and the dynamics of the European Market. Maoz is currently a Research Vice President and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner Research.
His focus on customer strategies and technologies, with an emphasis on the CRM customer service disciplines, collaborative customer strategies, social media strategies, and cloud-based CRM applications and analytics has made him a pillar of insight and a trusted futurist in the service industry.
27. Augie Ray is one of Gartner’s Research Director’s specifically focused on customer experience (CX) for marketing leaders, and especially: analytics, the role of social media and word of mouth (WOM), aligning CX to organizational mission and objectives, voice of customer (VoC), customer journey mapping, and customer experience strategy.
At American Express, he handled VoC Strategy and drove major CX improvements by encouraging more customer feedback and launching a VoC Action team to dissect the standing account management processes to help build proactive strategies. During his career he has delved deep into every facet of Social Media, from social care to PR, community development and more.
28. Gadi Benmark is the President and General Manager, McKinsey Social, New York. He is the go-to man for brands seeking to strengthen their customer relationships and build their brands across Social Media channels. However, Gadi is an expert on all functions involving social media, especially customer service.
Gadi has a rich history in the social sphere, his former position as CRO at TurnTo Networks is a prime example. , a social-commerce technology company, where he led TurnTo's sales, marketing, and business-development activities.
29. David Marcus is the man of the hour with Messenger, his pet project, having just exceeded 1 billion users. Everyone had a sneaking suspicion that big things were brewing when Marcus moved from Paypal a few years ago to head up Messenger, he has since then transformed a side product into one of Facebook’s leading channels - a private, 1 to 1, messaging app that is superior in functionality and technology than many of its peers.
Marcus is a visionary and entrepreneur who has taken multiple companies to acquisition stage. Yet, what he has done for Messenger is his most impressive accomplishment to date. He has helped define the future of Social Media and therefore the future of customer service.
30. Ian Jacobs is a Senior Analyst at Forrester, who advises senior customer service executives on the technologies, processes and services that they use to win, serve and retain customers. Using a combination of great data, persuasive writing and engaging storytelling, Ian helps companies remain relevant and find competitive differentiation in the age of the customer.
Getting his start at Rutgers University, by earning a bachelor's degree in comparative literature and sociology, Ian is also an award-winning columnist, is regularly quoted in major global publications and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences.
Do you have a social media customer service star that you’d like to nominate for our top 30 list? Send us their bio, background and why you think they deserve to be listed among the 30 elite to firstname.lastname@example.org.