I read an interesting post by Brian Solis on the Broken Link of Social Customer Service in which the old adage that the customer is always right has shifted to the customer is always right – right now with the advent of social interaction. Brian goes on to discuss how the disconnect between social media and customer service is the gap to bridge in order to achieve customer centricity on levels not attained before. According to a survey taken this year, less than half of the companies surveyed track and follow up on customer feedback in social media and 28% do not track or respond at all leaving customers in the dark completely. That’s just a customer service black hole waiting to be exploited.
When you look at how social media is supported inside the organization, you find that there’s a broken link between social media marketing and customer service. In fact, the majority of time, money and resources are invested in marketing and not in supporting customers through influential social networks.
This is where in my mind there’s a massive gap in how organisations currently treat enterprise social and social media marketing. A lot of the concepts are interwoven in how to approach customer engagement and internal structuring and collaboration and yet Marketing, IT and Business Operations are kept at arm’s length and seen as different disciplines. In the connected enterprise the whole point is to remove that silo mentality, ditch hierarchical operating models, and network both internally and externally. The whole point is connection and engagement across the entire ecosystem but again the disconnect appears in using ‘outside-in’ methods for customer centricity, that despite Brian arguing that the customer owns the process (although I agree that the customer could potentially BYOP – Bring Your Own Process – to the party) it doesn’t take into account that the ownership is a joint and collaborative effort.
As I’ve written before in the rise of the social enterprise and the social enterprise equation there are more facets to this that simply looking at it from the organisational view and customer view separately. Brian makes a very valid point in that to truly improve relationships and unlock advocacy requires that social media strategists work with customer strategists to create an integrated series of processes and defined roles and responsibilities. In the same way I argued that you can’t have a social process without a dollop of sociology it means that those completely au fait with social media need to be involved in BPM and process design from now on, that BPM methods that are just steeped in ancient tradition need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century to recognise that understanding social networking and new media is a required part of process management now, how can you have Voice of the Customer if you’re ignoring every channel available. Six Sigma, Lean, BPM and process improvement techniques must change and have input from social strategists. There is no excuse.
If you’re using tools like Tibbr, Yammer, Sparqlight, Desk, Do, Salesforce at what point are you actually designing your servicing processes with social at the core ? Companies are quick to adopt the technology but not the mindset to change the methodology in process design and approach. The technology will not make you king of customer engagement unless you understand how to change your entire business structure around the engagement itself, and that means not just from the customer viewpoint but ALL perspectives.
Right now companies view Social Media and Enterprise Social as two separate disciplines. It’s not an option to keep them divorced from each other. It’s a marriage that has to happen.