2012 - the year business takes Social Media seriously
2012 – The Year Business takes Social Media Seriously.
At the end of 2011, a survey by business software company Sage UK found that over 20% of British consumers would use Social Media to make a complaint about poor customer service. If 2011 was the year in which Social Media such as Twitter and Facebook claimed the scalp of the “News of the World” – one of the most powerful media outlets in the UK as well as being a household name brand – 2012 is shaping up to be the year when the business world makes Social Media a top priority.
Debenhams have been one big name company whose use of GoRecommend has resulted in them getting 2.2 million recommendations from customers to their friends via Twitter and Facebook. Their approach has been to move away from the traditional mystery shopper method of assessing CE, to an integrated CE Management programme, with a resulting 9% increase in customer satisfaction the result.
The new science of Social Customer Relationship Management (SCRM) aims to lever Social Media into traditional CRM methods of customer attraction and retention – however, given the survey results from Sage quoted above and recent illustrations in the case of companies like NetFlix whose US customers used Social Media to decry their operational changes, Social Media can be a risk as a well as a benefit. Customer vocalisation can be as much about bad news as good, and with the speed of information transfer a “bad news” story spread throughout the Twittersphere can outpace corporate attempts to rectify any damage done. Even Facebook themselves have not been immune to this phenomenon, with changes to the user interface and privacy policies in 2011 receiving sustained criticism on Facebook itself.
Significantly, companies are starting to use Social Media internally as part of their communication strategy to their employees – or potential employees, with over 15% of Americans finding their last job through sites such as LinkedIn. Companies like Telefonica, Deloitte, the BBC and Cisco are using Yammer, the “enterprise version of Twitter” which is in use in over 80% of the Fortune 500. Other software like SocialCast provide a Facebook-style environment for use in intranets.
Already 2012 is looking to be similar to 2011 in terms of economic, social and political upheavals. Changing times are ahead and it will be interesting at the end of this year to see how businesses have benefitted – or suffered – from their use of Social Media as a tool to promote and defend their operations.