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Using the social web to re-define the quality, efficiency and speed of delivery of services


Summary: using the social web to deliver better services

For those organizations which link the social web to their service delivery data and systems, the benefits in improvements to service delivery efficiency, accountability and customer satisfaction are there for the taking.

Making this connection is the essential step in extracting improved value from the social web in the provision of services, and in creating powerful, real-time feedback systems.

Even now, the social web continues to be regarded most often as a communications channel. Regard (and use) it as a service development and improvement channel as well.

The new focus needs to be on how to use the real-time intelligence available from the social web effectively, quickly and systematically to improve and grow services and improve the efficiency with which they are delivered.

This new social web/big data scenario needs to be department-wide at the very least (perhaps as a first step) and company-wide as the ideal. This will provide a comprehensive view of the conversations taking place in the community, and how they relate and link to an organization’s services.

The key is in knowing where to deploy valuable resources to maximize returns, so that the value of being able to react almost instantly to signals received from customers is magnified and accelerated.

This is integrated delivery of services, with a much closer connection between the teams held accountable for delivering services, and customers.

The combination of instant insight and existing data gives organizations the information needed to direct resources to those who need them and who have the budgets to pay for them.

Organizations no longer have to rely on historical data to make decisions about the future. They have valuable, real-time data that strengthen the quality and depth of their customers’ preferences and needs.

Knowing customers’ needs through the social web

Two discrete worlds, that of the customer and that of the service-delivery organization, need to be brought together. The technology now exists to make this a reality.

Without this, the quality of insights devolves to meaningless, tactical “noise” measurements.

The key is in knowing where to deploy valuable resources to maximize returns, so that the value of being able to react almost instantly to signals received from customers is magnified and accelerated.

Organizations can now systematically plug the “instant insights” of the social web into their existing service planning and fulfilment worlds, to create a single view of that often-elusive bigger customer picture, and then to take the right action more quickly, in a more directed fashion.

The social web can guide organizations on where to deploy services and resources, and on which actions to take to deliver to customers what they need and want.

Connecting the social web to organizations

Customers are more connected than they have ever been, communicate using new channels more than ever, and consume and evaluate more content than ever, relying on people they know and trust for information and validation.

They participate in their connected communities to varying degrees ranging from the passive observer to the fervent advocate. They talk on-line about their personal preferences, views, relationships, their loyalty to companies and brands they care about, and their desires.

And they understand that these conversations are public. In fact, that’s their point.

In a world in which customers are connected through social media to organizations, the delivery of services becomes more efficient, effective and faster.

At the heart of this is the new ability to personalize individual experiences to make them relevant and timely, and do so in a way that can be scaled.

Customer insights, inbound via the social web, start the process.

These insights are valuable data that enrich the profiles of customers with data held on company databases.

If these insights plug into existing data, connecting into this integrated view are details that can include:

  • the capture and understanding of individual needs
  • service delivery
  • awareness of customer sentiment
  • new service lead indicators
  • the opportunity to create and deliver new services

Think of social media as providing the input triggers (insights or reactions), and the existing data as providing the best output triggers to act on that insight, whether that be an instant service call, more effective scheduling of services, the pursuit of overdue payments, or the gathering of customer sentiment for use in new product or service development.

Making connections

The first step is to connect databases with the comments taking place across the social web.

Individuals choose to make their views known on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and on other social media channels, and their comments are made for all to see.

Next comes the start of the interpretation of these conversations, with a systematic profiling of these individuals from the information they have chosen to place into social media.

The result is a new set of data, now enriched with profiles loaded with relevant triggers and insights.

Organizations now have instant insights that can lead to more opportunities to offer tailored services in a more effective, efficient and timely manner.

Transforming understanding

The result is a transformation of the data.

Organizations can understand better those key events in customers’ lives that provide early signals about customers’ particular situations. The level of detail reflects the information posted into the social web by the individual. It’s a rich data set that, when plugged into existing data, allows decisions to be made about how best to connect customers to the right services at the right time through the right channel.

Organizations no longer have to rely on historical data to make decisions about the future. They now have valuable real-time data that strengthen the quality and depth of their understanding of customers.

Being closer to customers means improved service delivery performance

Connecting existing data to the social web closes and tightens the integrated services loop, and triggers an improvement in service delivery at every level.

The result is context, meaning and insight. Organizations can more easily identify the right people to talk to, leading to improvements in service delivery and better management of costs.

By finding and understanding the right people, organizations can offer a better, more interesting and personalized experience to the right people, and increase these numbers.

They can provide services with a clear difference to the right people at the right moment.

They can identify which individuals are at risk, and take appropriate action.

They can discover which individuals influence others, work to engage them as ambassadors, and find other influential people who can do the same thing.

By connecting content, people and services in the social web, and connecting all these to existing internal systems and processes, organizations can close the gap between themselves and the customers they serve, and drive real measurable value from the social web.

For a PDF of this paper click here.

This paper was first published in September 2014.


Emma Lo Russo: Emma is CEO and co-founder of DIGIVIZER.