Freitag, November 06, 2009

Clustered human intelligence as the megapower for the social service web

Companies own a tremendous asset that will become the megapower of the social service web in the future: Human brains and social intelligence in their service organizations! However a shift in the corporate strategy and in the mindset of employees is necessary to leverage its full potential.

In todays world call-center agents and their responsible managers often strive for more efficiency, higher levels of automation and an ever growing output of solved cases per hour... The social web and the customer dialogues of tomorrow require a different skillset and create new disciplines to compete by:
  1. Social intelligence in order to communicate publicly in the best interest of the company.
  2. Long-term perspective: Since the internet is not a black box like an IVR or hotline system all social media dialogues create a long-term image, service and SEO effect for the company.
  3. Multimedia and cross-platform communication in order to meet the customer on the web exactly where he/she is in real time.
  4. Content awareness, especially for relevant FAQs and search engine relevant Q&As.
  5. A great portion of honesty that should be directly linked to the corporate believes and image.
  6. High-level of service orientation for individual problems out in the open, so that the whole internet world can see, that even small issues get solved or at least receive an honest answer.
In other words: If companies manage to create a corporate climate where it is allowed for employees of all ranks and hierarchic levels to do their job to serve the customers on the social web as good and honest as they can, this will bring a tremendous social web power to the company. Not only in terms of more respect of the internet community or a better google raking, because of more relevant content, but also in terms of the flexiblity the employees themselves need to cope with the ever increasing changes and earth-shaking technological trends. Companies where employees participate in the social web will be better prepared for the future, will be more innovative and flexible and they will be able to improve products in a much more efficient way, which will again improve the financial results and profitability, as the latest studies by Gartner, Forrester or IDC show.

Call Centers can become the community centers of the future. Therefore call-center operators should not fear the social web, but they should rather prepare the agents for what`s happening on the web right now. They should motivate their employees to become active on Facebook or Twitter privately and business wise and to learn the new way of social communication. In addition they should create new rules and values to guide the employees through the process and to minimize the risks involved. Agents should be aware of confidential information of course that should not find its way to the social web. They should be trained about the PR risks, but should also be motivated to be bold. Smaller mistakes on the social web or miscommunications should not be punished, but should rather be taken as excamples of how individual employees could react openly, honestly, and how one can admit mistakes even in the name of the company and how to avoid such problems in the future. In the end, even these mistakes will bring customers closer to the company, if handled correctly, since it brings back the human touch to customer service.

Companies that open up publicly for critism will be able to create a closer bond with their customers and especially with the super users or super customers. These valuable multipliers will not be driven away into forums or external social communities where they shout out their critism or where they live up to their positive fascination with the companies products or services. They should rather get a forum directly on the corporate website - a VIP area for feedback, critism and praise; a service-community where each individual becomes a respected spokes person, a part of the team and a valued and respected customer.

In case you are interested in further thoughts of mine, a moderated team workshop about the social web or one of our self-service community solutions, please contact me via Twitter.

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