Live From Management World: O2 Goes Social
By Jessica Zimet
What are service providers doing today to reach, sell to, and support customers over social media? What can you learn about consumer behavior by integrating social media into analytics?
The connected customer experience summit, one of five tracks running at TM Forum Management World this week, included several sessions on how service providers are or should be leveraging social networks.
Emer O'Neill from Telefónica Ireland (O2) talked about the carrier's three-year plan for becoming an integral and active member of its customer networks. That’s right, a three-year plan. Because even though using social media is easy, making social media an integral part of the organization requires major behavioral changes, not to mention time, planning, hard work, unexpected challenges and often a lot of convincing. But it’s a critical move; if your customers and employees are social, your business must be too.
Some important factors:
- Social media must be an integral aspect of customer care, as well as sales, product development, and recruiting.
- Creating a social business requires the right people, processes, and platforms.
- The experimental phase is over –consider each the platform you plan to use for an activity. Is it the right one, and will it will allow you to measure success?
- Have processes in place so you can see what effects are, what’s driving traffic.
- Business leaders must understand the importance and the change that needs to be made because executive support and participation is crucial.
- Metrics should be used and accessible by all departments.
- Social media can also be useful internally for collaboration. O’Neil cited their use of Yammer to share learnings and successful campaigns, and Chatter for the sales force.
- You should capture and use the data about the users who are talking about you on social media.
- You can use strategic partners, but you cannot completely outsource social media, because no partner knows your business as well as you do.
So how is O2 getting it all done? As part of its social media matrix, the company works to promote fans (and convert detractors), help customers, extend the reach of the brand and message, and experiment. As part of its brand monitoring, O2 has 15 people in the brand team, “O2 insiders," who monitor and listen to people talking about the brand. Integration with customer care includes 12 eCare agents at the call center who respond in real-time to customers on social networks. An agency helps with platform monitoring and reporting. And the social media manager works with the different areas of the organization to ensure that they are on track for integrating social.
There’s a limit to team capacity, says O'Neill, and you have to recognize that opportunities in social media are endless, and you won’t be able to do it all – instead, you have to be strategic, pick what’s important to your market, and do it well. O2 runs four Twitter accounts, and are consolidating its three Facebook pages into one. There's also a blog, YouTube, Pinterest, and a Google+ account. All are managed by one central team. She also emphasized the importance of policies and education – making sure your employee base understands how to use social media – they have both “what-to-do in case of" guidelines as well as brand guidelines. This helps take the fear out of social media and ensure that folks are doing it right. They’re planning to have the whole company social-trained at the appropriate level: 10-minute trainings for all employees, social media “certification" like Dell, a company on the leading edge of social, and then full trainings for those who engage regularly on behalf of the company.
The key to success, she emphasized, is getting people involved. The more people who can understand and use it, the better it can be for your business, and having them involved can only bring business benefit. Although she touched on crisis management, she didn’t really delve into the risks associated with allowing anyone in the organization to engage in social media activities around the brand. She mentioned the importance of having a repeatable process for successes and integrating them into the mix.
And if you do social media right, you can better engage with your customers, extend the reach of your brand, expand selling opportunities, improve product development, and better recruit and manage people in your organization. As mentioned, the opportunities are endless.
Jessica Zimet is head of social media marketing at Amdocs – this week she’s tweeting live at TM Forum Management World from @Amdocs (hashtag #MWD12 ) and blogging on the Amdocs blog network .
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