When companies come to us asking us to manage their social media they often have not thought through what this might mean. Especially for organisations which deal with large volumes of customers. If you are an organisation which has identified the need for a traditional call centre as part of your service delivery or customer care plan then you need to give very careful consideration to how you manage your social media profiles.
Many organisations have not fully got to grips with the concept that social media is person to person / two way and immediate. No company should expect to push out content only. One of the main purposes of social media is to increase engagement in your brand. When this engagement happens you shouldn’t then be surprised.
A number of companies were ahead of the game in recognising this. For example KLM “the airline that kickstarted the modern customer support via social media revolution” initially used their social media primarily for customer support, dealing with flight delays lost luggage etc. This still remains one of their social media core functions BUT it has also evolved into the primary mechanism for taking bookings. For me this is one of the most exciting things about social media – through no other medium can you so immediately identify customers’ changing needs or so quickly adapt your approach to meet those needs.
As proven by KLM your social media platforms are at least as important as your telephone number or email – KLM may argue even more so. Customers and potential customers expect to be able to achieve as much as they could by contacting you via a social media platform as they do over the phone or via email. I would go so far as to say they expect even more. Your response must be faster and more complete because your current and future customers are also watching and the people sending you the enquiry know this!
If you accept this as true we would argue that you should think very carefully before outsourcing your community management unless that agency has access to the very same information, training and resources as your call centre staff. Delays in responding to enquires e.g. message received at 5.30pm on a Friday not responded to until 9.00am on a Monday has the potential to snowball into a customer relations / public relations disaster before anyone has even noticed it is happening.
Content and campaign development and scheduling can be managed by an external agency but community management in 90% of cases I believe should be managed in house.
Author: Sam Crosthwaite – Mboya