Bank of America was called out recently for their cut-and-paste response to people commenting on Twitter. (See the story). It’s a great example of how the dinosaur-brain baby boomers who are still in control of most businesses just really don’t get the whole social media thing. They are trying to enhance customer experience, which is a good thing – but they are still unwilling to accept the realities of social media.
What the dinosaur-brains in business want to believe, is that it’s business as usual. They want to treat social media simply as an extension of their existing marketing and communication efforts. We have a contact centre for dealing with phone calls and emails, they think, so why not just have extend it to include social media?
The answer is simple, of course, but the dino-brains don’t want to hear it because they don’t want to deal with the fundamental shift itmeans to the way they do business.The simple answer is that social media is different. It’s not a different media -it’s a social shift. It’s a way of communicating. It’s a new, very public, voice. Contact centres work for phone calls and emails, because in those situations, the customer has called you looking for a specific solution to a specific challenge. They want to talk to you. In social media, the customer wants to talk to everyone. He (she) wants the world to know what’s going on. It’s an electronic pulpit where they can vent, preach, complain and share. It’s a conversation.
When there is a negative Tweet about your company, it’s not just because you have a service failure, it’s because the customer believes you just don’t care. They feel that you think of them as being too insignificant to warrant anything more than a cut-and-paste, rubber-stamp response. So when a perceived drone from the contact centre Tweets back, “Sorry you had a problem, what can we do?” it simply reinforces their belief. Because they know that the drone has no more interest or authority than the last person they dealt with.
Here’s an interesting question: Imagine someone has a complaint, and chooses to buy $10,000 worth of airtime to broadcast that complaint over the radio for a week or month. Would you still be relegating your response to someone on your call-centre team?