Like ‘chalk and cheese’ and ‘hand in glove’, social customer service and continuous improvement go together. In fact it is downright reckless to accept the implicit scrutiny of social engagement without plumbing in the capacity to get things fixed from the ‘go live’ date.
The price of ongoing failure can be deep. For a start, repeated service issues look awful when they stack up in public view. Just like uncollected rubbish in the street. The message is clear. As a brand you don’t listen or care.
Long term this becomes corrosive to sentiment and won’t set you up for much word of mouth – apart from the critical kind. When you pause to add up organisational spend on branding every year, the undermining this causes is just plain daft. Even treacherous to a military mind.
That’s not the half of it.
How many competitors do you imagine settle in each morning to watch and learn where you are screwing up? The smart ones will have campaigns out by lunch to leverage any weaknesses. How many editors, bloggers, keynote speakers will pick up on the mistakes and use you as an example of what not to keep doing?
Whatever it takes to get the organisation motivated around ‘fixing stuff’, just do it. Then organise an influential cross functional team to execute the plan. Learn to be agile. Please note that since good stuff will bubble up as well, the same team is also on the look out for innovation as much as improvement.
Once issues are fixed, think whether customers would benefit from knowing about the improvement. Get Marketing to write a backstory and let the world know how you respond to customer needs and their specific suggestions.
That’s the basic workflow. However getting all this to work optimally demands a deeper level of operational collaboration. Even with cross functional teams. I will be exploring that model of working in another set of posts on Customer Hubs.
In summary, making a mess, missing the mark, dropping a stitch is something even the best do. What social engagement does to the issue of failure is raise the bar and make it a ‘learn once-fix fast’ culture.
Remember when you are on stage, never be seen fiddling in public. It’s always showtime!
Other competencies in the framework for social customer service excellence can be accessed in ‘Related Content’.