I will admit: I’m biased on this topic. I find McKinsey’s recent article “Why the COO should lead social-media customer service” by Gadi BenMark to be ‘spot on’ from my personal experience. While marketers focus on promoting a product or service’s features and benefits, they are less in tune to the customer; such has been my personal and corporate directive over the last decade. Every complaint or concern is an opportunity to shine as a company, truly caring for the customer’s needs and bringing the brand to life through meeting those needs. This is a part of a company’s responsibility day-to-day – handling each issue in a personalized approach, or in the mass market in an approach that feels personalized.
Marketing, as a whole, does not have the infrastructure or resources to chase down the operational requirements to satisfy each and every customer – that role has delegated to customer service and operations. Yet it is every employee’s responsibility to be well versed in the brand promise to cross-sell and upsell products and services or just the brand in general as a natural extension of conversations.
Since I’ve worked as a CMO as well as having ownership for the P&L, I know too well that social media needs to be a collaborative, team endeavor to have its greatest impact. Social customer engagement is one of the most cost-effective strategies to increase organizational profitability – as long as the customer service team has the knowledge, access and authority to engage with customer directly addressing their inquiries and concerns. Some highly-regulated industries do have additional restrictions in terms of what types of information can be shared (i.e. financial services), but well-trained CSRs should have no problem being aware of, and managing, those communication considerations. Sharing can include linking to the correct page on a website where information resides, sharing a YouTube video, or an email address of the direct contact where the inquirer should expand the conversation.
Social conversations can be tracked for CSR performance, appropriate response, efficiency, reach, and sentiment. Crisis communications strategies can be triggered immediately if sentiment registers in a negative direction. While there is a great deal of analytical and operational consideration given to the system and process, I like to focus on the value of caring. And, I look forward to the next generation of measuring content deployment and impact.