Did you know that your employees are likely spending 28 hours every week just trying to get work done? For a company with 5,000 knowledge workers at $30 an hour, that’s over $4 million in payroll alone. In this interactive “white board session” webcast, you’ll discover exactly what a social intranet is and how it should be used to virtually eliminate this problem—for real business value.
You’ll see how to:
* Verified by a top 3 consulting firm.
With clients’ expecting "real-time" responses to RFPs, marketing agencies have to act fast to find experts and develop innovative solutions that win new business. But with agency teams distributed globally, it is increasingly difficult to coordinate a comprehensive response that incorporates relevant case studies, employee backgrounds, and 'elegant solutions' for each opportunity within a few days.
Wednesday, May 29th at 11am PT join us for a webcast to hear from Jackie Bartolotta \from Millward Brown and elizabeth.brigham from Jive Software about how Millward Brown is generating new business by using social business technology to find internal experts, collaborate on proposals, and reduce the time it takes to respond to RFPs.
Attendees will learn how high-performing marketing agency teams use social business tools for:
Reserve your seat here.
Social Business isn't just about connecting employees and customers to "collaborate better" wherever they are, from whatever device. It's about delivering real value to businesses, to the tune of $1.3 trillion annually, according to McKinsey Global Institute.
Tuesday, April 30th at 10am PT join us for a webcast to hear how Thomson Reuters rolled out a social intranet to its 60,000 employees for driving innovation, aligning everyone to the company strategy and generating a more collaborative working environment across the 100 countries they operate in. You will get to hear from Tim Wike, Director of Intranet Strategy and Operations at Thomson Reuters, and gialyons Director of Product Marketing at Jive Software.
Some key takeaways include information about how to:
Register for this webcast here.
How would you like to see double-digit growth in your workforce productivity? Attend this webcast to learn how your organization can increase productivity by up to 15% by becoming a collaborative socially enabled workforce.
Wednesday, April 3 at 9am PT join us for a webcast to hear from Ted Shelton Managing Director of PwC’s social enterprise management consulting organization, and Christopher Morace, Chief Strategy Officer from Jive Software, who will discuss and share examples on how to:
The secret to cracking the social business code is to (1) identify the right use cases that that impact company performance, (2) plan the right strategy for introducing social business collaboration tools into your company and (3) ensure you have the right technology that integrates with the way your company works.
It’s that time of year again when the technology, film and music industries collide at the South by Southwest Conference & Festival in Austin, Texas. SXSW Interactive kicks off the conference on March 8 and over five days hosts interactive panels, events and meet-ups for seasoned and emerging professionals.
SXSWi is your chance to learn from industry thought leaders on a wide variety of topics including social business. Social business software, like ours, helps people connect and collaborate to get more work done and improve execution in critical business functions. This technology is shifting how people communicate and work internally and externally in business.
As the world’s most powerful social collaboration platform we know social business. Therefore, we’ve combed through the SXSW schedule for the best panels to attend if you’re interested in learning more about social business. Click here for our recommendations:
What are your favorite sessions? Comment below!
Your employees waste on average 28 hours per week just trying to get work done. Instead of driving growth and innovation, they're searching for information, slogging through email, and reinventing the wheel. We've invited three social business experts from Gartner, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Jive Software to examine this problem and share proven tactics from the trenches for increasing productivity and strategic alignment.
Join us in an interactive webcast to hear a success story from Simon Levene at PricewaterhouseCoopers on how his team implemented a social business platform that accelerates employees' ability to collaborate with each other and bolster employee productivity. Plus, Gartner analyst Larry Cannell will share insights on the evolution of social business platforms and the impact on the market.
Due to popular demand, we're hosting this webcast twice (with Q&A at both):
Wednesday, February 27 at 11am PT / 2pm ET
Thursday, March 7 at 10am GMT
Curtis Gross is the Senior Technology Marketing Manager at Jive Software. In this piece, Curtis explains the what, why, and how of implementing Gamification in your organization.
Previously, I gave a primer on Gamificaiton here. In this post, I want to share one great way that Gamification can impact an organization: encourage behavior that impacts the bottom line. While analytics has become very popular for upper level management within organizations as a way to rank the effectiveness of 'anything,' there is also a great opportunity to allow that information to be presented to everyone within an organization, not just management. Gamification can be used to provide everyone insight into their performance, their team's performance, and the company's performance.
For more detail on how Gamification and social business impacts your bottom line, download the McKinsey report.
Without analytical information, Gamification cannot exist, and without a level of accessibility for everyone, analytical information loses it's value to influence the actions end users.
Users want to know how they are doing at work in comparison to others, and this is where Gamification fits in perfectly. When an individual wants to know how they are doing, performance wise, they would track how many likes, reads, points and what rewards they have earned. They can then use this information as a baseline on how their performance. If you then toss in a bit of openness (a.k.a., being able to compare your baseline to someone else) a new employee will be able to see what sorts of activities a 'high performer' does to be successful.
What can companies do to improve?
There are a number of analytics tools available for the enterprise. Often times, once those tools are deployed within a company the data is only accessed by either a few specific people or dedicated teams. There is a great opportunity to open up traditional analytics data to let employees understand how they compare to each other. Now, there is such a thing as 'too much information' so the amount of detail passed to users / employees would of course need to be presented in a digestible format. Social context can be used to limit who a user can compare their performance to, which means limiting who users can compare themselves to based on job role or interests. My advice would be to either leverage Gamification to gather information on what employees are doing on a daily basis, or open up your current analytics process to better include all employees within a company.
There is no question that there is a wealth of knowledge within every company's analytics storage of choice, and there can be considerable benefit in just opening up that information to a wider audience. BUT - the key piece to understand is that this Gamification/analytical information being presented to the end user must be tied to something that is proven to provide value to the company. Don't just show a user they are the best at something, show them that they are the best at something that is saving the company money, increasing sales, or generating ideas. That is where data becomes valuable.
What user-analytics do your employees have access to? Is this used to influence employee behavior?
There have been a lot of predictions about the future of social in 2013. And who better to hear from than the Jive Champions? So, I posed a question in the Jive Champions Group to get their opinions on the trends to expect in 2013. Here is what they said:
Mike Calderon, President, Social Business Strategy Consultant, Greenfield Interactive
Based on my impressions of JiveWorld12, the community tracks were heavily populated and I'd bet there will be stronger calls for adoption strategies, use cases and metrics. I think getting up and running is a major process but the next stages of growing your community and understanding whether or not business value is being created is the next toughest challenge to overcome.
Vu Doan, Group Manager, Community & Post Sales, National Instruments
As more industries (financial, legal, medical, etc) are getting serious about social, and as social business becomes embedded into more departments similar to Jeremiah Owyang's hub and spoke model, hard numbers from social analytics will become crucial. We can no longer divert the issue of ROI or 'return on engagement'. More importantly we will be using these analytics to determine our most influential users, highlight social intelligence, and understand our competition that much more - all of which until now have been to some extent serendipitously discovered. I also hope to see more concrete correlations between social data and the effects of gamification so we can better understand user motivation to drive long-term engagement.
Amanda Shenon, Director, Collaborative Product Operations, Pegasystems
I have a hard time coming up with just one trend. I think context, execution, and metrics will all be tremendously important. I'm very happy to see Jive working in all of these areas. The more social grows, the more important it is to have context for conversation and work and to distinguish chatter from decisions and "official", final content. I think execution will be incredibly important as we get a bit saturated with social and gamification across every application from all different vendors. Somehow that has to all come together in a clean, cohesive, and useful way that doesn't make us crazy, annoyed, or disinterested. Think of the difference between web searches in the 90's and now. Social has to make the same evolution from "here's a ton of stuff that may be relevant" to "here is the most relevant and useful stuff in the context of what you are doing/looking for". Lastly, metrics are always important. I think the slack is running out for using anecdotes and manually pulled together data on how processes have sped up. We're all going to be pressed to show data that represents the value of working in an open, social, and non-siloed environment.
Now that you have heard from our Champions, check out the prediction from our CEO Tony Zingale here.
What do you think is one social trend we can expect in 2013? Comment below!
In sales, information is power. It's vital to arm the sales team with competitive analysis, the latest product updates, and powerful customer statistics. However, leading analysts say that today only 50% of reps reach their quota, and more information doesn't necessarily make a sales team more effective. The most effective sellers assemble the right people for a deal, leverage best practices / processes learned over time, and gain access to the most relevant information, wherever they are.
In this webcast, Jarrett O'Brien from Jive Software will share industry trends and case study examples from Toshiba, SAP, and Devoteam on how successful sales organizations are onboarding new reps faster, enabling reps in executing new initiatives growing deal sizes, and driving more effective deal collaboration to shorten sales cycles.
Thursday, January 24 at 12pm PT for a webcast on how these companies and many others use social tools to:
Reserve your seat here.
Elizabeth Brigham is a Product Marketing Manager at Jive Software, overseeing the Social Marketing and Sales Solution. Her passion lies in providing fellow marketers and sales practitioners a better way to get work done, beat the competition to market and close sales faster. Prior to Jive, Elizabeth was a Manager of Product Management at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online where she managed content and commerce strategy for the Parks and Resorts portfolio of brands. She began her career at McMaster-Carr Supply Company managing call center teams, domestic and international sales operations, supply chain logistics, and sales software development. Elizabeth earned her BA in English Literature from Davidson College and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. In this piece, Elizabeth explains how build your marketing story:
There’s been much discussion lately about the importance of storytelling in good marketing and how we marketers need to embrace it; however, not much has been written about how to properly architect a story for maximum impact. Admittedly, I’m a recovering English major who spent much of my academic life trying to master the short story, so I geek out on story architecture. I also spent 3 years working for Disney where masterful storytelling is the lifeblood of the organization.
As you think about new product launches for 2013 and developing content for your community, I’d love to hear if you follow a similar process to what I’ve outlined below or something different.
1. Know your audience
In marketing, one of the first things we need to nail strategically is our target audience. We need to know what they care about, where they hang out and how we can drive awareness that compels them to act.
I use Jive at this stage to help crowd-source ideas from my marketing team and ensure that we’re on the same page strategically. Similarly, I search for previous campaigns to determine what worked and how I can leverage those learnings for the new campaign I’m developing.
We need the audience to be the core character in our story. To that end, I like to develop a specific persona that I’m trying to address. I will create a storyboard with a picture and key facts – e.g. Terry is the VP of Product Marketing, lives by her Outlook calendar and iPhone, has to hire 5 new people in 2 weeks and on-board them, is planning sales kickoff, and needs 3 more hours in the day.
By bringing the audience to life, I can more definitively craft my story to drive relevancy and resonance. You might be thinking that the above is too specific, but I’m sure that each of you can think of someone who resembles many of these characteristics and can extrapolate accordingly. The point is not to be too specific so as to significantly limit your audience, but to provide enough detail that the audience can come to life and guide the rest of your story development.
2. Develop your characters
Once you know to whom you’re speaking, you’ll need appropriate actors to carry out your story. Note that the focus of story architecture and the story itself is foremost on the characters. If you can’t articulate who they are and what they care about, then you won’t be able to put them into a specific situation and have them react. The characters in your story must be relatable to the audience in the context of your product or service. If you sell technology, for example, you’ll want to think about how Terry might be looking to for advice and how those characters could challenge her current perceptions, swaying her toward interest in your products. Similarly, you need to think about how to make your characters more aspirational for Terry, yet still relevant enough that she would believe whatever these characters are doing is achievable. How can you stretch their personas to drive Terry to think in new ways about your product?
For this step, I typically look for relevant customer stories in our social intranet that I can leverage to flesh out the story. By searching for recent closed business and customer success stories in our Sales space, I can quickly get inspired and reach out to the account manager to ask questions.
3. Insert conflict into your characters’ lives
It always sounds more negative than it really is. Without a conflict – which could be as simple as a decision that needs to be made – you don’t have a story. You just have a list of characters and a non-existent audience. For marketers, the conflict must eventually resolve to the characters choosing our products and services. While that piece of the story is formulaic, how you get there doesn’t have to be. In fact, the strongest conflict and story lines are bred from creating issues that the audience didn’t know they had.
Take the “best in class” ads for Old Spice as an example. The target buyer is a younger male, but the main character is speaking directly to all the ladies out there (noting that they may be doing some of the shopping as well). Prior to these ads, I don’t think there were thousands of women complaining about which body wash their significant others were choosing. Nonetheless, when the ad creates conflict in these women’s minds that they could be doing better in the partner department, a sense of urgency is created to purchase the product. Again, driving that aspirational response is a key to successful storytelling.
4. Resolve conflict through epiphany
Not to wax total English major here, but one of my favorite tenets of story architecture is the character epiphany. Here it’s a more emphatic way of talking about resolving the character conflicts and taking the story home. In our marketing stories, the key is for the audience to experience that epiphany along with the characters – ultimately leading to a purchase decision, if we’re lucky, but we’ll take purchase consideration and call it a win. The best stories will challenge the audience to think about the product or service in a new way. Think about the original ads for iPods. We were all stuck carrying around bulky Sony Discmans and suddenly we have 1000 songs in our pockets?! We should aspire to be so simply elegant in our stories.
Elegant solutions don’t normally appear on the first story pass. I engage my team in our social intranet to get feedback and refine the ‘epiphany’ across several iterations. As we prepare for sales kickoff, this process is integral to taking the best products and positioning to market, expediently.
5. Know how the story will end
Knowing how the story will end is a bit of a trick step. Ultimately your goal for every brand story is to drive a new opportunity or purchase consideration. Once you’ve set the story into the wild, however, your audience owns it. There are ways to cultivate your story and encourage its growth – through engagement on a customer community, for example – but you no longer own it. While I’ll save distribution channels and their importance for another post, cultivating your brand story across and within channels in creative ways ensures its survival. However, without a solid and elegant brand story first, it won’t matter which medium you use. First focus on your audience, characters, and conflict; figure out later where they will be hashing everything out.
When people at your company are geographically dispersed, it becomes increasingly important to develop and communicate the brand story. Watch this webcast to see how Yum! worked to create and share their brand stories.
How are you leveraging your communities to develop and communicate your brand stories for 2013?
2013 is the year that social media marketers can finally focus the majority of their efforts on strategy, regardless of budget or team size. I have held a number of jobs in social marketing, including social media intern, social media specialist, social media strategist, community manager, and social media manager. If you've worked in similar positions, you are well aware that the majority of your efforts have been spent in the trenches. You’ve been busy providing front line support, frantically shooting off emails to find out what is new, and recording results in a monster of an Excel spreadsheet. Social marketers can now rejoice because tools are allowing us to lift our eyes from the ground to the horizon and formulate effective social strategies for the long run. So take a few seconds to let out a big sigh of relief. Feel better? Good. It is worth noting that simply having these powerful new tools does not automatically make our jobs easier, it requires setting the stage for success. The following tips will help you pave the way:
Stop Asking, Start Reading
In a perfect world, the social team would be the first to know when a press release or product release is in the works. Unfortunately, informing the social team about product releases, press releases, and other offerings tends to be an afterthought. This made it impossible to plan a cohesive content strategy. With a social intranet, social marketers are able to stay in the know about all company news:
Stop Being Support, Start Being Social
In the past, the only option was to email support and wait for an answer to give to customers. Given the real-time nature of social media and high expectations on the part of consumers, social marketers are left spending hours trying to answer customer questions and stall while waiting for support. Let's pause for a moment: this is not the fault of customer support, they have procedures to follow and a queue. Thanks to enterprise social networks, support and social marketer are no longer synonymous. To prepare for customer questions, I recommend you:
Stop Guessing, Start Measuring
Today, we are being asked to connect the dots between the dollars spent on social media marketing and hard ROI. Thanks to software like Spredfast, it is possible to create custom social reports with a few clicks and measure what matters. Just a few years ago, I remember manually adding up the number of likes, retweets, and followers. Happily, those days are gone. When it comes to social media measurement, you will want to:
There you have my list of stops and starts. How are you using enterprise social networks to set yourself up for success in the new year?
Mathew Ladd works at Jive Software in the Account Support Department. A bit about Mathew: "I have my undergraduate degree in communications, specializing in marketing and sales, and have a ton of experience writing content for startup companies around Portland. I'm a philanthropist through and through, and tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. You can count on me to be honest, forward, and not afraid to speak my mind. I gather a lot of inspiration from the world around me, and like to share that positivity through my writing."
Working in Jive Support has given me a unique opportunity for exposure to common Support issues, and means of resolving them. Here are some ways of improving your experience as a Jive user, and how to improve Support for your own company as well!
1. Crowd Sourcing: A lot of ideas tend to fly around Support and how to be more efficient with it. As a first step to organizing your social support efforts, try crowd sourcing as a means of getting relevant information to communicate to your customer base. For example, I used our social intranet here at Jive to ask the entire Support team what they feel are the most common cases and frequently asked questions to develop this blog post. Creating a discussion in Jive, I complied a strong list of items that can be used to reduce wait time on cases.
2. Check List: By following this checklist or providing a checklist like this to your customers, you can improve the speed and efficiency of Support interactions. Having more information up front about a scenario will help any team get up to speed more quickly about what a case has been filed for and how to resolve it. As an example, here is the checklist that I created based on feedback from our Support team about what customers should include in a case submission:
Customer Case Checklist:
3. Communication Avenues: Do your best to train your Support team to engage with customers across different social platforms, realizing that customers will not always know to go to your Support community first. When engaging with customers on the different platforms, have your check list readily available so you can provide them with the information they need to find a resolution. Be prepared to answer questions from multiple platforms preemptively to create a strong Support foundation. The top social platforms include:
Regardless of what platform you are providing support though, you'll want to have that checklist readily available to share with your customer. Your customers will appreciate the organization, and it will make responding easier on yourself at the same time.
What do you find most frustrating in your interaction with support?
Earlier this week I explored how to get employees primed to make the switch to a social intranet: building confidence and answering the question "What's in it for me?" Whether you are in the beginning of your journey in adoption or well on your way, external motivation is also critical to sustaining the behavior as new employees join.
Continuing my analogy from thelast post, we can think of external motivation as a group dance class. You've learned the basic steps, a few spins and dips. Now, it is time to put those individual skills to use in a group setting. External motivators are not a "one-size fit all" approach. You must utilize a variety of tactics to provide that extra push and motivation.
1. Get executives to engage. If I don't keep an eight count when demonstrating the footwork for salsa dancing, how can I expect my students to? Getting executives to lead by example is essential to show commitment. Not all your executives must be active all the time, but a few must. Start with the executives that are already engaging in social outside of work. I shared six steps to getting executives engaging in social media in a previous post and the same tactics can be applied to get executives to engage on a social intranet.
2. Find ways to feature employees. Public recognition accomplishes two things: (1) encourages the person being acknowledged to continue and (2) gives others something to work towards. Highlight active participants in your community. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as a simple status update (@mention the user), adding an "Ask the Expert" widget to groups or spaces, changing the monthly Featured User on the community homepage, a monthly blog post featuring a top participant, or installing the Jive props app (which is free and allows you to give predetermined "props" to employees), to name just a few. I recommend working with a director in each department to pick his or her top participant for the individual's departmental Space (with larger companies, you'll want to recognize more than one person a month).
3. Create opportunities to compete. In a group setting, an effective teaching mechanism is competition. I might demonstrate a complicated set of moves to see who could accurately emulate them. People like to compete, especially in a work setting. Extrinsic motivators like contests are effective at causing a spike in participation. Heather Burks, on Jive's Professional Team, recommends using contests to "highlight a specific feature of the community or to develop content that can be used to help community members." For details on how and when to use contests, check out her post on improving engagement with contests. If you're looking to incentivize participation or sustain specific behaviors, you may want to consider adding Gamification elements to your community. Curtis Gross, Senior Technology Marketing Manager at Jive, explains in his post How to Bring Gamificatin to the Enterprise that Gamification can be applied to work and social communities to increase adoption, training, employee connections, and maintaining community engagement.
4. Integrate with existing programs. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel (or an existing dance move!). Integrating with existing recognition programs makes it easy to reward employees without requesting funds and personnel to set up a new acknowledgment system. It is best to start by working with your human resources department to determine what the reward programs are in place and how you can leverage them.
5. Elicit and share success stories. I always ask "Have you had a chance to put this to use? How did it go?" Sharing success stories of people who are equally new to dance is a great way to motivate others. This principle holds true for a work setting. Make a conscious effort to seek out success stories and find creative ways to share them within your community. You might consider doing written Q&As, video interviews, or screen captures that include stats or quotes on how productivity was improved using the social intranet . All of these assets also make great content to feature in a blog or on the community homepage.
6. Encourage effort to be part of performance reviews. Setting goals in dance and assessing progress helps improve performance. This same lesson can be carried over to the workplace, where encouraging managers to set goals for employees around participation, such as weekly internal blog posts on project status, can payoff in productivity gains. In addition, progress in reaching goals should be reviewed to inspire improvement. These goals should be reasonable and purposeful; otherwise, you can end up with an employee posting blogs about trivia or finding herself simply too overwhelmed to perform well. As with dance, establishing goals that are achievable, desirable, and measurable will result in an optimal outcome for your dancing and social endeavors.
What external motivators do you utilize to energize your community?
If you have worked with our professional services team, you know that the first thing they will tell you about employee adoption of a social intranet is that you should "rely on intrinsic motivators by helping people understand the benefits their involvement gives & gets." However, external motivators are not to be overlooked. Changing behavior in the workplace can seem like an insurmountable challenge as a community manager, trainer, or even executive. I find that the best way to explain the process for overcoming this challenge is through a comparison. Since I've never trained a pet, I'll avoid the potentially unflattering comparison of employees to dogs. I'll go with something that is more familiar to me: teaching someone to salsa dance.
Once you experienced a successful social intranet, it is hard to understand how others do not see inherent value. As someone who has been salsa dancing for years, I sometimes find it difficult to empathize with the plight of someone with two left feet. Before I dive into teaching people to salsa, I want them to be confident in their ability to learn and understand the value of being able to move confidently on a dance floor. While some employees may be confident in their use of social, not everyone has the confidence and understanding of how it will benefit them.
Building confidence of someone new to social or salsa requires simplification and comparison. Attempting to teach an entire salsa routine to a person with no experience would be a disaster (--there is too much to remember). Similarly, you wouldn't teach someone how to use every feature of the social intranet out of the gate. Simplification is necessary to build confidence. Have employees start by completing their profiles, following people they know, and starting discussions. Don't expect them to have their streams perfectly configured and using applications the first day.
When teaching the basic steps for salsa dancing, I start by telling the student to take two steps forward and two steps back, instead of teaching an eight count. Providing points of reference makes it feel much more accessible. You could compare the @mention feature to the CC option in email, explaining how if you really want to ensure an individual sees a conversation, simply @mention and it will appear in their Inbox.
"What's in it for me?"
Answering the question of "What's in it for me?" will make or break your ability to convince people of the value. With salsa dancing, once I see a person is confident enough in the basic step, it is time to introduce the eight count for the footwork and explain the advantages. Going back to the example of @mention and CC, after you've made the comparison it is essential to explain the payoff of the switch. In this instance, you'll want to explain the benefits of creating a discussion as opposed to shooting off an email. Sharing a question in the community versus email has a number of benefits, such as the ability to (1) crowd-source (2) reach experts (3) share the correct answer, and (4) save time for people searching for the same answer.
Second, provide meaning and context. This dances between being an intrinsic or extrinsic motivator (pun intended). Once they learn the basic step, spins, and a few dips, I explain how they will feel comfortable going to salsa clubs and potentially competing at a local level. What does this look like in context of a social intranet? Illustrate how it can help them in their day-to-day work and performance reviews.For the latter to be true, managers will need to make participation part of their employees' performance review.
Additionally, remember that a little pat on the back goes a long way. Learning the basic step in salsa is much easier than dips. If the people I'm working with have really got the footwork down - this is important for me to acknowledge. Although employees may not be active in groups outside of their department, they may be consistently answering questions in a particular group. You can highlight their effort in that particular group by making them a Featured User. Long term, you will want to focus on more systematic and serious recognition efforts.
Let's say you've prepared a blog post or document that builds the confidence of new users and answers the question of "What's in it for me?" Communicating this document is the next step. It is best to use existing communication methods to direct people to your post in the community. As an example, you could create this document in the community and send a company-wide email with a link to the document for more information. Using the existing communication method ensures your message reaches your desired audience and subtly reinforces behavior that you want to encourage (i.e., people looking to the community for information).
Building the confidence and answering the question of "What's in it for me?" for your employees is critical to giving them internal motivation and increasing the adoption of your social intranet.
In my next blog post, I'll discuss other external motivation tactics, but before I write it, I would love to hear from you. What tactics have you found effective in getting people to engage?
mathew.ladd works at Jive Software in the Account Support Department. A bit about Mathew: "I have my undergraduate degree in communications, specializing in marketing and sales, and have a ton of experience writing content for startup companies around Portland. I'm a philanthropist through and through, and tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. You can count on me to be honest, forward, and not afraid to speak my mind. I gather a lot of inspiration from the world around me, and like to share that positivity through my writing."
A little over a week ago I introduced the idea of combining Social and Support to engaging clients online in Riding the Social Support Wave: Social Support Part 1. This week I want to focus on what that Support team is, and how to create a smooth flow of information through those members. I did briefly cover the basics of the how to do this, but want to make sure and address the team dynamic aspect, and setting up standard responses that will save everyone precious man-hours and effort. So, let's dig right in!
Develop clear structure for your team dynamic. Let's do a little recapping here first. Initially, you should set up your response team in charge of getting back to those social questions. There are several directions that might suite you best, but two that I want to touch on are wonderful for getting your support team going. Option 1: Centralize to just one to three responders who function as the company voice on social. Organize these creative responders, and have them writing original content for getting back to inquirers. Consider them the gatekeepers of your social world. This helps keep a consistent voice in all support responses and allows for a few people to hold the good flow of communications internally and externally.
Option 2: Use your whole team, your entire staff as responders. Have a couple of people help guide staff with their responses as the filter. This allows for direct customers to employees who know the most about that topic. A full communication tree of amazing responders who handle the inquiries directly is the ultimate goal here. Have a solid plan for not letting any communications slip through the cracks.
Work to be polite and efficient. My first few rules include being thankful, thoughtful, and show your clients you appreciate them. You should also develop and maintain standard responses to questions that come up frequently. You will want to have thoughtful wording for quick and easy responding no matter what platform you are providing support through. It is important to have short and long responses to the same question due to the character limits of certain platforms (e.g., Twitter, which only allows 140 characters). For those inevitably tough questions you don't know the answer to, let your customer know: (1) you are actively working on it, (2) you'll get back to them soon, and (3) that you appreciate their patience. Keep building to your scenario lists as more and unique circumstances arrise. Keep good record of how the situation was resolved, bring the support issue to a close quickly.
Don't limit any program you set up. Keep trying new things, growing your capabilities, and learning what's the most effective through trial and error. Realize it is not always going to be perfect and avoid getting discouraged early on when learning from mistakes. Curious how other companies are doing this? Watch this webcast on how T-Mobile has provided social support.
How is your support team structured for handling customer questions through social?