Business using social media to connect with customers

Another article on businesses using social media  was published in The Dominion Post today (you should be able to click on the image below to read the whole thing in the Library Press Display viewer). Some interesting bits: 

  • Telecom’s Twitter account has been live for 2 years and now has more than 6000 followers – “it is not a controlled marketing stream” but features tweets from a team of technology enthusiasts. It has however been used to deal with customer queries during the XT outages
  • Telecom: “From a business point of view, there’s a brand benefit, better communication with customers”.
  • Pro-Twitter Telecom staffers did face cynicism from those in the company who “didn’t get it” – but they have had an “oops, sorry” response when the benefits of Twitter as a way to connect with customers became obvious
  • Air New Zealand sees social media as a “channel to gain valuable customer feedback and as a channel to share brand messages”
  • Air NZ have dedicated staff working on their social media accounts including @flyairnz and @airpointsfairy
  • Air NZ see the biggest benefit of social media as the speed of customer feedback. It will be a massive growth area in the next 2 years for them “especially in the way we do customer surveys and gather insights”

It appears that Air NZ at least isn’t nervous about making quick decisions about utilising social media and getting on with it – the @airpointsfairy account was “set up after an idea from the internal team that went live the same day”. Quick work! 


 

The Dominion Post
16 Apr 2010
 

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Web2.0 and technology strategy planning – it’s all about the customer

On Wednesday I went to a workshop technology strategy planning workshop – organised by LIANZA and presented by Richard Hulser. This would be a very useful course for those writing a technology strategy – either those who hadn’t done one before, or those wanting a refresher on what a good model would be. Sometimes courses like this don’t tell you anything new, but they the remind you/clarify your own thinking/confirm what you already know. It would have been useful in that context for me in previous jobs I’ve had, not so much the one I have now.

 I was probably expecting a bit more of web 2.0 focus – and although this was mentioned it really wasn’t the central focus of this workshop. Having said that the workshop did remind me that while there is a lot of appeal in leaping in and giving things a go (particularly to help you learn about something), when it comes to utilising social networking technologies in customer services, this is probably better done in response to meeting a customer need/identified service delivery requirement, in the context of the overall organisational strategy.

The key thing for me is how we assess those needs. I think librarians still have a way to go to get good at this – we need to get better at  at gathering information about our customer needs, and analysing the information we already gather via surveys, feedback forms etc. 

 Further to this – Why Web2.0 projects fail

 As I have typed up my report for work I came across a very interesting blog post by Meredith Farkas who talks about why 2.0 initiatives fail – which gives some good food for thought about what you need to consider to make them succeed. 

I’ve summarised some points here, as they are quite relevant to technology strategy planning as it relates to web2.0:

  •  social software implementations need to be tied to institutional goals – the library’s strategic plan
  •  web2.0 technologies need to be planned for in a strategic way
  •  first need to understand the needs of your population (patrons or staff) and then implement whatever technology and/or service will best meet those needs
  •  need to have clear goals in mind from the outset so that you can later assess if its successful or not
  •  social software can be a pet project for an individual staff member, it is important that cross-training takes place so that if that person leaves or gets too busy, the initiative continues
  •  web2.0 technologies are easy to start but keeping them going takes time and effort. You need to plan how you will maintain the technology e.g. adding content, updating the software. “Libraries need to plan for the implementation and continued maintenance of 2.0 tech in the same way they plan for the technologies they pay a small fortune for.”
  •  Library staff can end up abandoning web2.0 projects because they aren’t given enough time to work on then
  •  Before a project is abandoned try to figure out why it didn’t have the impact hoped for – is more promotion needed, are there barriers to usage (difficult to make comments, add content etc), are staff comfortable with the technology, has training been offered
  • Just because a web2.0 technology isn’t a good fit now, doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future (worth remembering!)