Online Engagement-The New Frontier of Consumer Relations
This week I had the pleasure of presenting at the 19th Annual Australian SOCAP Conference here in Sydney (see below Presentation) alongside Katie Harris from Zebra Bites to a receptive audience.
It’s always great to get a different perspective on how social media can be applied in today’s organisations.
Much was the debate afterwards was surrounding the legal implications holding back companies from engaging with Twitter and most interestingly what a complaint is defined as.The definition reads as "any communication a customer has with your company in which 'displeasure is expressed' .As much as it pains consumers to fill out forms does simply letting off steam on Twitter constitute a complaint? Apparently so and customer service departments are charged with the mean feat of logging all of these instances in some cases.
On the other hand maybe this is an opportunity and interesting way just to connect with consumers to find out what’s eating them. As one delegate from the conference explained, they make a point of arranging to meet those most vocal about their brand and afterwards the regularity of those tweets subsides. What is it about knowing a person that means we become less inclined to vocalise our thoughts?
Are we fulfilling an emotional desire to be heard amongst all the noise out there, or are we just wanting to have a connection with those brands that make up part of our daily lives with whom we are looking for a 'return on emotion' to justify the money we invest with them?
Perhaps spare a thought for the organisations that are monitoring the space and would like to offer extensions to their customer care programs by starting Twitter streams but have their hands tied because of what they can and can’t disclose online through rules of privacy. Cue lets take this conversation offline. Not every company is able to introduce a unique business models like Zappos into the market place so what are the lessons we can learn from this?
I would certainly be interested to hear from any body with information or strong views on the subject. Customer advocacy and the handling of customer complaints is an fascinating area and with the increasing use of social media there is still a way to go before legislation fully meets the needs of both the consumer and the organisations before we see more effective customer service programs that fully harness the power of the social web.
Hopefully the two can meet in the middle in the not too distant future But if the social web continues to transform at the current rate which it will according to Jeremiah Owyang more hurdles will need to be crossed along the way before this happen. Are organisations and the government ready for the changes?