How Social Observers Can Evolve into Social Contenders

— September 11, 2017

Of all companies on the Social Maturity Index, Observers have the longest way to go. They are those brands who haven’t yet begun their journey, either because they haven’t identified the social media imperative or they aren’t sure of how to proceed. Their service organization may offer limited social media support, but it is haphazard or perhaps run by marketing. Many companies fall into this category and the first step for them is to learn more about their options for innovation and investment.

You may be an Observer if:

  • Social is seen primarily as a content marketing tool internally
  • You place more emphasis on monitoring than responding
  • Industry regulations create barriers for social activity
  • Your responses, if made at all, are ad-hoc, rigid and robotic

How Social Observers Can Evolve into Social ContendersO

bservers adopt a position of social silence, with social media and social engagement remaining firmly rooted with the marketing team. Marketers control the budget and the keys to social media tools. When Observers do provide support, which is ad-hoc and sparse, it is robotic and toneless. Lack of even basic control keeps Observers from directing their own social maturity journey.

How can Observers move up the Social Maturity Index? How to move from passive to active?

The good news for Observers is that there’s nowhere to go but up. Teams should take baby steps in whichever realm poses the least resistance: investment or innovation. These brands should:

Audit Your Team: The more information you gather, the stronger you can build your strategy. Set up meetings and speak to all of the stakeholders across your business. Understand what their needs are, how Social Customer Care can benefit them and what level of involvement they can commit to and what is needed to make it happen. Is it likely that you’ll face stringent process or bureaucracy for the initiative? Figure that out now and create a plan to overcome it.

Assess Current Social Customer Experience: Take an assessment of the kind of inquiries you are currently getting on social channels. Also, what currently happens when a customer reaches out on social? Are there too many hoops (rechanneling, waiting time, effort required) for your customers in order to get a in-channel resolution?

Discover Your Champions: Just like any new endeavor you may tackle in your company, you need buy-in from your colleagues and superiors. Specifically recruit your social advocates internally and get them aboard the #SocialFirst agenda. Be strategic, and find a candidate who can bring the right attention to your cause and this initiative.

Build Your Case: The bottom line is still what will help your case internally. Start looking at the key metrics/KPIs of your customer care such as Average Handling Time (AHT), First Response Time, Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT) and Very Satisfied Customer Scores (VSAT). Can this be applied to social?

Create a Vision: Get inspiration from other companies that are both resolving their customer issues in-channel and creating positive brand sentiment. Even if it’s a brand outside your industry, it can help tremendously. Create a quarterly and a year end vision for your company and then create a step-by-step plan for execution. Define the following:

  • What tone of voice best mirrors your brand identity?
  • How do you align your marketing and customer care?
  • How do you attain first contact resolution?

You should also consider a tool built for purpose, that purpose being delivering social care at scale. The challenge with marketing-owned tools is greater than a matter of ownership: most marketing social media software is purpose-built to broadcast messages one-to-many and to track reach and engagement. Social care, on the other hand, requires a one-to-one relationship between many agents and many consumers and the ability to track customer care related metrics such as average-handling-time and first-response-time. Observer companies should evaluate and invest tools designed specifically for social customer care.

With increased innovation and investment, Observers can advance in the Social Maturity Index to either Conservative or Contender, where the challenges change, the benefits skyrocket, and the journey continues.

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