Any casual observer can see the impact social media has had on the way we as consumers create, retrieve, and share information in our day-to-day lives. Companies enthusiastically jumped into social media to use it as a marketing channel while consumers have just as enthusiastically engaged those same companies (and legions of fellow consumers) to make known product or service issues or questions they want addressed.
For example, look at a recent U.K. study of social media customer service published last month by Sitel and TNS. It found that more and more consumers are using social media to get information or resolve issues with companies. The study shows changing behavior as people are adopting a “tweet first” approach when looking to get information from — or resolve an issue with — a company. In fact, 17 percent of the Gen Y segment responded by saying companies should improve response time when a query is posed on Twitter.
Predictably, service-minded organizations are turning to common ground by building or expanding their presence on social outlets like Twitter and Facebook. Initially, these moves were more reactive than proactive as a way to stem negative, brand-damaging posts from going viral. But as customer engagement begins to deepen on social platforms, companies are seeing the benefits of a proactive social-service model. They are adapting a more collaborative approach, allowing their customers to play a part in shaping and managing their own customer-company relationship.
Just employing social CRM is not what makes a social business, however. Weaving social ideas and practices into every part of a company’s operations internally as well as externally is what classifies a business as truly social.
From customer service agents to IT to finance and beyond, every person within an organization is an integral part of making a business social and, for that matter, making a business successful. Removing the silos and replacing them with an enterprise philosophy that promotes collaboration will bring all that is good about social CRM home to the (social) enterprise. This collaboration-powered enterprise allows for expertise and knowledge to be shared and socialized across any and all departments – all of which ultimately translates to an enriched customer experience. It also means delivering much sought-after answers to those consumers’ questions and issues we talked about earlier. So, we have come full circle here.
All of this reinforces our view of next generation customer contact – that is, always looking for ways to bring people (within and outside the enterprise) and information together to improve the customer experience in ways not previously possible. It removes communication and workflow bottlenecks and produces smarter, more efficient business processes and ultimately, more profitable customer interactions. If you’d like more insight on competing in the social media saturated marketplace, we recommend: 5 Ways to Optimize Your Workforce for Customer Contact in a Social Marketplace.