Colin Shaw: Social Customer Care? What Social Care?

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I am a technology geek. I love social media and I’m always using it, but here is the strange thing – I am 56 years of age, so I guess I am unusual, or that’s what my adult kids tell me! Why do I tell you this?

Colin Shaw @ColinShaw_CX

Founder, Beyond Philosophy, Customer Experience Consultancy | LinkedIn Top 150 Business Influencer | Best-Selling Author | Luton Town FC Supporter | Family man

When I started to look back on the evolution of Social Customer Care over the last five years the first thing that came to my mind is that most people would say, “What is Social Customer Care?” I think the reality is it’s not seen as a “real” channel or something serious yet, and as a result it’s still being ignored by the vast majority of organizations today.

Note: This is an excerpt of the white paper “Five Years of Social Customer Care: The Pig Puts on Some Lipstick and the Fish Come Out to Play!”, arranged by Guy Stephens published in cooperation with Brand Embassy. You can download the full white paper here.

I spend my life talking with “C suite” executives about how they can improve their customer experience and Social Customer Care is never raised by them. When I talk about it they look at me as if to say, “Oh, you are one of the strange geeks that I now must humor.” The problem Social Customer Care faces is most of those who run organizations are people of my age group and they don’t use social anything! Too many of them still think it’s a fad that will go away. But we all know it won’t…

When I wrote my last book “Customer Experience: Future Trends and Insights”, I made the observation that technology is not driving social media – it is the fact that people are social; the technology is just enabling the natural human behaviour. The understanding of human behaviour in most

“I made the observation that technology is not driving social media – it is the fact that people are social; the technology is just enabling the natural human behaviour.”

– Colin Shaw

organizations is not very high, thus it is not understood nor embraced and therefore again they don’t see the power of this. In the last five years it has been mainly an uphill battle to show that Social Customer Care is here to stay. It won’t go away, and it is just going to get bigger. You can decide to be like King Canute and order the tide to stop rising, but it won’t. You have to embrace it.

The big issue with embracing it means losing control, and people of my generation are scared of that. Only the other day I was listening to the “United Breaks Guitars” song and it reminded me of how slowly United responded to this. I am sure that many “C level” execs were shocked by how quickly this happened, and if they were honest realised this could have happened to them as well.

A few days ago I wrote a piece called “The Latest Social Media Gaff: What Were They Thinking,” about how the social experience can go so wrong when people of my generation start to play with things they don’t understand. The CEO of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary, created a Twitter storm with his sexist tweets and showing his naivety when it comes to this space. He did not even know what a hashtag was! This again just reinforces the CEOs wont to run and hide and hope it goes away.

In my view we will quickly get to the point where people who have a high social influence will receive better customer service than those who don’t as organizations realise that they can make a significant dent in the reputation to help promote them. I wrote about the fact that “More Social Influence equals a better Customer Experience.” We are already seeing celebrities being paid for tweets, and offering a better level of service to people with a high social influence is not new. Many organizations jump higher and faster if someone of influence wants them to do something. Social just increases the number of people that have this impact and through things like Klout can see who has influence.

Social Customer Care has just about come of age but is still in its infancy. I look forward to seeing companies embrace this more as I for one think it’s a vital channel.

“Only the other day I was listening to the ‘United Breaks Guitars’ song and it reminded me of how slowly United responded to this.”

– Colin Shaw

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