Friday, May 27, 2011

Conversations with Peter Delgrosso, SVP, Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp., golfer, active VOC listener

As an innovator, avid golfer and SVP, Business Development of Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp., Peter Delgrosso proactively stays ahead of customer's needs by actively listening and diligently assessing the voice of customer channels.
This interview with Peter is part of our series about learning, games, social media, user-adoption, crowd-sourcing, and work performance.

RD> First, on behalf of the PAKRA team, we would like to thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Your company is a spin-off of the parent company D&B. What does the word “credibility” used in your company’s name mean to you?
PD> We see credibility as including credit but going beyond credit to include the more holistic attributes of integrity, reliability, trust and other factors we all take into account when doing business with a company. Credit, in the strictest sense is a financial measure – credibility speaks to character.

RD> How will you teach/communicate to a small-medium business (SMB) client that they need to care about their online reputation?
PD> We’ve all had the experience of going to a business web site you’ve never heard of and having concerns as to, “Is this a site I can trust?” or “How do I know this company is reliable?” These questions are particularly important for smaller companies that don’t have the a million dollar plus ad budget to build their brand and general awareness or a 40-year history upon which to establish their credibility. For the small companies especially – online reputation is everything. One of our products, called SelfMonitor, actually enables companies to see a visual representation through charts and graphs and other displays of their various business credit scores with the added ability for SMBs to submit relevant information on their business that is vital to determining their overall creditworthiness and ultimately their credibility.

RD> Is your product suite similar to how eBay or Amazon rates their sellers -- i.e. crowdsourced?
PD> No. Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp. occupies its own space providing business credit and credibility services that is accessed by a wide range of businesses looking to both make business decisions and determine a business’ creditworthiness and actively manage their profile. We factor statistical credit measures such as a company’s PAYDEX® and Financial Stress Score into the equation – but we also solicit feedback from partners and vendors to provide a more human picture. It’s that combination that makes us unique.

RD> We met due to a quick resolution of an issue that we were having with our Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp. account. Your CEO Jeff Stibel used his Twitter handle to address our tweeted concern from our CMO Michelle Stewart. When she tweeted, she had called customer service/sales agent using the traditional interaction channel -- phone. Using Twitter, Jeff resolved our issue within the time she was on hold. That was a remarkably fast and awesome resolution.
Where does your company use social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) the most: (1) Brand marketing (2) Lead generation (3) Closing sales (4) Customer Service (5) Customer retention and upselling
PD> The way we met is a great example of how effective social media can be, in this case Twitter, to providing real business value. Social media is an evolving space – and at any given moment it can be used for all of the things you mention. As I previously mentioned, we always want to be listening to our customers and social media is a terrific way of doing so. Twitter and Facebook are probably the two social media networks that we leverage most. I would say we use Twitter more as a conversational resource, monitoring customer comments and responding to them as quickly as possible. Facebook is more of a relationship medium, enabling us to send out updates to our connections about company events such as an ongoing speaker series we run called “Credibility Live.” Personally, I use LinkedIn as an excellent outreach vehicle for business relationships and Twitter to monitor industry news and insight.

RD> Is your social media channel management a budgeted effort?
PD> Yes. We believe strongly in its value and have dedicated resources managing the channel.

RD> How do you learn?
PD> I learn by watching, by listening – and ultimately by trial and error. Learning from mistakes is often the best way to grow.

RD> Are you a gamer? If yes, what games do you play?
PD> I grew up playing on the Atari 2600 and Commodore 64 then graduated to the PlayStation2 earlier this decade and sadly that’s where it all ended. That’s about the limit to my gaming these days given a hectic work schedule and growing family with numerous kids’ responsibilities.

RD> How do you teach your employees to leverage information and data to interact with a prospect/customer?
PD> We teach our employees to listen carefully and act quickly. It is crucial to understand our customers’ needs and leverage all the resources at our disposal to help them achieve their goals. We have several hundred Credit Advisors who provide sales and customer training support to our customers. Every one of these Credit Advisors has gone through a rigorous training process both at the point of hire and during their tenure at the company that focuses not only on good customer service, but also on the fundamentals of business credit and business credit formation. This includes a general understanding of the pros and cons of various types of corporate structures, differences between debt and equity financing and the pros and cons of each, and other general issues that a business owner should be thinking about when seeking to manage their business credit. Our staff is able to talk with people about their various business credit scores and what they can do to improve them as well as other general business issues they may have questions about.

RD> Your company and ours both sell software: What do you find are the biggest drivers for user adoption?
PD> At the end of the day it’s all about providing value to our customers and leveraging as many channels as possible to reach the business owner. Providing value rings true across all industries and the reason why customers are either loyal to your company or not, it’s that simple. I would say the key value provided by Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp. is the ability of a business to access and impact all their pertinent business credit information in a single location online with tools, tips and recommendations on how to improve them. Our value proposition is compelling, straight-forward and provides a great visual representation of concepts that may be foreign to many business owners. Business credit is an enduring theme that stays with the business throughout their life-cycle providing ongoing benefit to those businesses that are proactive and make sure they are following best practices to put their business in the best possible light. As more businesses adopt best practices and improve their business credit, the better the chances are for them to succeed and achieve the needed cash flow and credibility required to create a successful business.

RD> Thank you so much for your time, and for sharing your and your Company's vision.
PD> You are welcome! You questions were very thoughtful.