Sunday, 11 December 2016

Big Mouth Strikes Again

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @HousingITguy or LinkedIn here

Who could have missed 'The Donalds' use of Twitter, to enact international diplomacy last week?

Now it's a different way of dealing with the Chinese and many others around the world. a little perplexing, particularly as Twitter is banned in that country. How do you deal with that, if that actual news is blocked?

We might be in the new era of megaphone diplomacy, and social media is increasingly becoming that conduit for it.

There cannot be many people who have not tried to complain on Twitter, I know I have with various degrees of success. Of course, many people use the wrong channels at the wrong time and Twitter can be one of them. There is a lesson there for us all, particularly if there are many more things you could have tried prior. You know, like maybe talking to someone or logging a fault. Also, in case you have not noticed, a Twitter account with 25 followers, will always receive far less of a rapid response, than someone with 12,500 followers.

Now, as you maybe aware at @HousingITguy, I have getting on for 17,000 followers. So you can guess on the sparingly infrequent occasions, when I have vented my spleen, I have had a fairly quick response. Spooky eh? A single tweet of mine can easily have several thousand interactions in well under an hour. As Winston Churchill once said, " A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on". Twitter and Facebook are becoming places where 'post truth' news (or half news) is taking hold. we are in strange times.

Some people are looking to have a full conversation on Twitter or social media, replacing a more conventional phone call or other interaction. Here's one I came across, just today


Now the above is perhaps what we could call, 'product or service queries'. However, It can be quite disconcerting and damaging, if our customers are expressing opinions, true or not so, about us online. How can we manage that?

Its often fallen to the 'Comms Team' to be in charge of social media, sending coherent messages out. But what of incoming ones? The first challenge is detecting these customer interactions, complaints, rants etc. Maybe your comms team are capable of picking these up a few times a day. I would suggest it might have to be your customer services team, who really need to develop the tools to deal with these interactions.

If a customer, resident, tenant etc has a socialmedia account, we need to have a place to record this accurately, in our CRM systems. Tweets and Facebook posts need to be easily captured just like any other customer interaction. Tackling it quickly like that, we can monitor its progress, how we fix that problem, if indeed it's a problem at all. The first step is to direct message the complainant, to turn the social media interaction into something more conventional.

Problems need to be chased down and resolved. Customers need to be reminded what the usual channels of communication are for the issue flagged up. A rash of social media interactions, point to failures in your usual channels and processes. If it were really easy to ask that question or express that opinion in other ways, such as your self-service portal, they would be doing it.

Ask yourself if your IT systems, particularly from your CRM and Housing Management System providers are up to the task. While I hear social media tracking mentioned a lot on 'future roadmaps', I see little of it reaching users. maybe it's time to challenge some suppliers, or find alternative paths to what we need.

Feel free to get in touch, if this is one issue you are seeing more of, or your organisation has put something in place to manage your customers and social media, or not, and how it works for you.   
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Related Post: Silo Thinking - Is it always a bad thing? 


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The Smiths - Bigmouth Strikes AgainThe Smiths - Bigmouth Strikes Again.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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