Why should your organization embrace social media? When organizations underestimate the power of social media, they put themselves at risk. They also miss out on a much more efficient way of supporting their users and customers.
Social media offers a way for an organization to better understand their customers and competitors. Social media is a great way for companies to communicate with their employees. IT Support and company email are services that should be evaluated to see how social media can enhance those offerings.
How Social Media Worked for Me
My kids came out to visit me for Christmas last year. When I dropped them off at the airport, I paid for all their bag fees. Unfortunately for me, they decided to fly one of two airlines that charge for “carry-on” luggage. My daughter logically put her iPAD with its case inside her larger carry-on roller bag so that we would not be charged for two bags.
While at the gate waiting for her connecting flight in Denver, my daughter pulled out her iPad and used it. When the flight began to board, the gate attendant demanded $100.00 from my daughter because she accused her of hiding her bag inside another bag to avoid bag fees. Because she didn’t have the money in her account, they left her in Denver. Yes, they left her. Then, they offered her a hotel in Denver and put her on the first flight the very next day without charging her any additional fees.
I sent an email to the CEO because I was sure that he would not approve. Her responded within an hour. To my surprise, he not only approved of what his airline did, he threatened to put my daughter on the “no-fly” list. I then turned to social media and here are the results of my actions:
- USA Today printed the story.
- The story has been re-shared 2314 times on Facebook
- The story has been re-tweeted 157 times on Twitter
- The story has been re-posted 6 times on LINKEDIN
- The comments posted about the story on the social media sites were overwhelmingly against the airline
The world we live in today empowers the individual as never before. Social Media is the world’s soap box and anyone can listen. Organizations that offer services to customers have to monitor sites where users go and provide feedback to the whole world about their experience. One bad complaint can cost your organization a lot of money if it gets out of control. How much money did it cost the airline? More than the value of a ticket I imagine.
CUSTOMER SUPPORT should embrace Social Media
Organizations can embrace social media by extending customer support responsibilities to monitor social media sites. When negative comments are posted in open forums on social media, customer support should respond with empathy and a willingness to make things right. Although I was not impressed with the airline, I was impressed with how quick they responded to tweets that were posted at #”The airline referred to in USA Today” on Twitter and on their Facebook page.
INTERNAL EMAIL should push some TYPES of communication to Social Media
Organizations need to start thinking about pushing certain types of internal communication to internal social media. For example, you know those emails that are sent to the entire company. The email usually says something like “Where can I find…”, “Has anyone had this happen….”, “Can someone send me…”
Organizations should expand their ITSM solutions to include Social Media
Organizations need to expand IT Support to internal social media forums. There is so much to learn from user comments. For example, a user may post “my laptop crashed again today” or “is anyone having trouble accessing the internet”, or “Why is email running so slow”.
Users make observations which don’t always equate to opening an incident but when you observe, you may find there really is a problem. For example, you might see a comment by several different users regarding a perceived pause or slowness to email and the internet. Upon further observation, you may realize these comments are posted between 8:00AM and 9:00AM. With this knowledge, you may find there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Observing comments is also a good way to evaluate the tools you have provided to your employees. They may not like the new laptops your are providing compared to the old laptops, and their comments will tell you why.
Social Media is commonly looked at as a distraction or anti-productive app used by employees while on the clock. I believe to counter this, companies need to figure out a way to be a part of the user’s social media experience. To start, if your organization offers customer support, you need to monitor social media posts that mention your company. Also, I think organizations should begin to explore how their ITSM tools can be extended to Social Media. When ITSM social media solutions are worked out, organizations should then consider categorizing their email communication and where it makes sense, move certain types of communication to an internal social media page.
-follow me on Twitter @marcelshaw