Are You Creating Social Media Bullsh*t?

November 23, 2009

Two incidents prompted this post, the first incident occurred directly to me, the second was a conversation with strategist and researcher Esteban Kolsky that started via twitter when he was stranded in an absolutely wild  number of airports on an attempted flight home. That conversation continued into several blog posts.  For the background to this, read Mr. Kolsky’s full article here.

Esteban’s Story;

After the twitter conversation and blogging about his trip from hell, (if you have not read that full story yet, follow that link!) some social media monitoring staffer at the airline concerned actually responded. The response included some token gesture, but no ability to go further to drive change within the organization.

My Story;

Mine was much simpler, via a social media channel, someone broadcast a request that basically stated; Hey I need this…”

I responded that; “hey, we do that…let me get one of our sales folks to give you a call ” (ok that was the shortened version, we actually connected via the phone)

In Esteban’s case, the ‘social media’ responder was powerless to do anything about the root cause of his problem, in mine, I don’t have the position to enforce a response either. So no one bothered.

Here is the thing.

What we loosely call the marketing (or reputation) side of social media can provide another channel for both raising awareness of your brand (or business) or to assist in defending that brand. (ie support / customer service)

But there is absolutely zero reason to go through this effort, if you have no intention of acting on what you have learned!

If you do a mystery call with your support or customer service team, and they state that for your particular problem, that the corporate policy is something along the lines of; we don’t give a damn. Do you think that the same response via a social media platform is going to make any difference?

Ummmm no

In Esteban’s story, the social media monitor actually offered a token gesture for his very long issue. Which in  my opinion is a company that has a t least started to try to improve. (Can you imagine how many hours the legal teams at a mega-corporation would argue about some front end staffer being able to give even the smallest token gesture?)

Now I really don’t like the word empowerment. It reminds me too much about Dilbert cartoons.

But like it or not, it fits into the theme of this post.

In their Harvard Business Press book IT Savvy authors Peter Weill and  Jeanne W. Ross state;

every employee who interacts with customers can be armed with information on the customer and the firm’s products to ensure a quality interaction.

So go ahead and talk about it

Sure, monitor it.

But if your staff can’t do anything about it – If they can’t make a change. Even if that change is simple acknowledgment that a voice has been heard and recorded,

What good is it?

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3 Responses to “Are You Creating Social Media Bullsh*t?”

  1. elliotross Says:

    Some may not complain, but they may never go back either!

    Thank you so much for your comment!

    (and sorry for delay in this response – the last 10 days have been dictated by that Murphy’s law – with everything possible going wrong)


  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Esteban Kolsky, Elliot Ross. Elliot Ross said: Tx! RT @ekolsky: RT @elliotross And where I ask if you are doing social media bullsh!t http://wp.me/paqed-Zv HT's to @ekolsky & @nfortlage […]


  3. Elliott,

    First, thanks for the mention and the kind words.

    Second, this is very well written, eloquent, and to the point. As someone who has been doing feedback for some time now, listening without acting is like — well, there is no real comparison I can talk to. It is completely worthless…

    It reminds of a story when we went to a restaurant to dinner late one night, it was near closing time. My wife wanted soup, which she ordered. What came was a disgusting glob which was clearly inedible.

    When confronted she said that she knew it was bad, but that management told them they have to serve it anyways, that some customers won’t complain.

    I am certain that I don’t have to draw the lesson here – but empowerment is what distinguishes good and bad customer service.

    Thanks for the platform…
    Esteban


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