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Who owns social media?

February 17, 2012 3 comments
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Organisations across the world are now embracing social media, realising that it provides an immensely powerful, completely new customer channel. However social media has some big differences to many traditional channels – it is an open conversation that can spread news and comments incredibly quickly to a huge number of people around the world.

But who within an organisation is responsible for social media? Given the channel can be used for marketing, public relations, customer service and even sales the debate on which department should take the lead in this area is ongoing, and often heated.

In the early stages of social media it was often individuals within a company who responded to queries via social media. However while tales of CEOs sorting out customer service problems or airline pilots giving advice on where to sit on a flight for the best view are heartwarming, they obviously don’t scale cost-effectively when you are answering hundreds of tweets a day.

Marketing, and in particular PR teams, were also early adopters of social media, and while they understood the importance of communicating messages about their brand, they don’t have the training or resources to deal with customer service queries, which are best handled by agents within the contact centre.

Clearly companies need a blended approach that brings together all relevant stakeholders to best manage social media. In a way it is similar to the advent of websites – companies quickly realised that everyone needed to contribute rather than adopting a silo-based approach to the new channel. To ensure this collaboration works smoothly in the real-time world of social media the right technology is vital, in four key areas:

  • Monitoring, to see what is being said about your brand on social media
  • Meaning-based software to analyse comments for content and context
  • Powerful workflow that can then forward the query to the best person to deal with it, whether that is customer service, marketing, sales or product management
  • Analytics and reporting to ensure service levels are being met and that comments are being taken on board

In the era of social media customers don’t care who answers their query, they just want a fast, accurate response, so it is up to companies to put in place the structure to do this successfully if they want to thrive.

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