I recently attended a social media summit in Florida, where some of the nation’s top customer service executives presented on their social media efforts.
The presentations were informative and gave all of us an opportunity to look under the hood of their operations to see their processes, resource allocations, metrics, and learnings.
Interestingly though, I found that all of these efforts were reactive in nature. As if as service providers, each of these organizations has taken the position that social media is simply another channel of handling complaints or help desk issues.
I think that service professionals like you are missing the point. Social media offers an opportunity to create dialog within communities that use or want to use your products and services. Yes, in its infancy, social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, and blogs all need to be monitored and responded to in order to defend your brand. But aren’t we already past social media infancy in general?
Social media is the game changer that all service leaders need to really think about, as it will change your entire operation. Will we all still have telephones, chat, e-mail, and postal mail (if the US Post Office doesn’t go bankrupt)? Probably. But many research organizations are predicting that social media will far eclipse these communication channels to become the number 1 preferred channel.
I suggest that you consider repositioning your service operation into an experiential (customer experience) community development group. Exchanging ideas, sharing content, sharing case studies of other customers using your product or service, proactively asking questions of the community so that others can answer them, etc. Essentially – providing proactive service to head off the complaint.
I know – THIS IS RADICAL SERVICE!!! All of the metrics traditionally used like call abandon and a host of annoying non-customer focused data becomes irrelevant. Now, customer service teams would be evaluated using a value-add model; such as NPI or VOC tone (negative/positive/neutral).
And why would you want to do that? Because it’s already happening but without you! Customers are talking amongst themselves as humans have done since we came into existence. Why not drive the community dialog, mediate the dialog, and be the central repository or information provider of choice? Using this strategy ensures that you gain customer loyalty, you engage customers in new product ideation, you help your organization sell (softly), and you create lots of brand evangelists out in the World.
OK – so if you pass this thinking along to your CFO and he/she passes out, please let me know and I’ll send them a stress relief ball.
THINK THINK THINK – we have GOT to change the service paradigm!!!