Here is a great article from today’s Boston Globe about how Comcast and Southwest Air are using Twitter – fascinating stuff. It also highlights Dell’s social media efforts, and the IdeaStorm concept for bringing their customers inside their organization to co-innovate (Customer Inside).
From Josh Bernoff, Forrester Research analyst and co-author of Groundswell (a great read for anyone considering Social Media efforts in business):
“We’re in a world where one person, by their actions, can make a company look bad, and it can get echoed and amplified over and over again,” said Josh Bernoff, an analyst at Forrester Research and coauthor of “Groundswell,” a book about business and social technologies. “The power has shifted, [so] that big companies now have to be worried about one individual with a microphone called a blog.”
These are clearly emerging case studies of how enterprises are making use of Social Media, but are certainly harbingers of great things to come. Many of the highlighted use cases are for customer engagement, which means the enterprises are recognizing the growing voice and power of their customer base due to the Web 2.0 technology revolution.
If you look at how Southwest is using Twitter and Social Media in general, you can begin to see the emergence of new business processes that are different than those developed in the Business Process Re-engineering initiative … or dare I say it, Next Generation? These are agile and collaborative business processes, which will be required of all companies aspiring to be Next Generation Enterprises.
At Southwest Airlines, the social media team includes a chief Twitter officer who tracks Twitter comments and monitors a Facebook group, an online representative who fact checks and interacts with bloggers, and another who takes charge of the company’s presence on sites such as YouTube, Flickr, and LinkedIn. So if someone posts a complaint in cyberspace, the company can respond in a personal way.
It’s also interesting to see how enterprises are sparked into action. A couple – Comcast (b/c of Comcast Must Die and other YouTube campaigns) and Dell (b/c of Dell Hell) – were kicked in due to strongly negative publicity. Others like Southwest Airlines seem to have taken a proactive approach to provide an engagement channel for their customers. Even those that were kicked in, like Comcast and Dell, deserve strong kudos for their social media engagement efforts … it would have been easy to dismiss these efforts as only point cases amongst tens of millions of customers, completely edge. However, these companies took proactive action, and should be long-term beneficiaries of this effort.
Reacting to customer complaints is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to delivering a Next Generation Customer experience, and embracing customers to co-innovate new products and services, which is exactly what social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and others can enable companies to do.
The future is bright!