If you have been consciously or unconsciously playing Buzzword Bingo around the office, the term social business has probably been at the center of your board. “We need to be a Social Business.” Or “I went to an event recently where everyone was talking about Social Business.” Or even “People say we need to become a Social Business or die.” While I agree, social business will be the next big business innovation (see more here), you probably won’t die. So what is Social Business and why is it important to your company, customer service, and the contact center?
I am a big fan of not reinventing the wheel. My online friends over at SideraWorks have developed an excellent explanation of what is Social Business.
“Social Business is the creation of an organization that is optimized to benefit its entire ecosystem (customers, employees, owners, partners) by embedding collaboration, information sharing, and active engagement into its operations and culture. The result is a more responsive, adaptable, effective, and ultimately more successful company.”
Social Business is broader than social media; social media is just one of the tools of Social Business, just as your phone system is a tool of customer service. As SideraWorks definition describes, Social Business is a way of working. It can and should involve every level and department of your organization, your partners or vendors, your community, and your current and prospective customers.
Traditional work organizational models have siloed departments, working on their individual goals to hopefully achieve a greater sum for the sake of acquiring and retaining customers. This model, generally, approaches internal and external customers as someone to talk at or to be spoken to. People, whether internal to your organization or external, are tired of being spoken to. For example, how do you feel when you see a corny commercial telling you to buy a diaper brands latest “innovation” in dry-lock protection? Or how do you feel when a senior leader in your organization says there will be a process change without any understanding of why the old process is in place? How many times have you worked with a partner or vendor and have an email chain when printed could circle the earth twice?
Social Business is inclusive, collaborative and open. I believe people and relationships are every company’s most important and underutilized asset. We now have the technological ability to act/work/socialize/create relationships like we do in “real life”. By leveraging the relationships, new technology, and process, we can unleash the ultimate power – PEOPLE. I love this quote from John Hagel III’s book The Power of Pull, “There are a lot more smarter people outside your organization, than inside it”. It doesn’t mean your company or department doesn’t have smart people, it’s just there are so many smart people outside of your immediate perspective. What if you could leverage the power of the people in your contact center, and their vast networks to achieve more and faster?
Typically a contact center is one of the largest departments within an organization. Each one of those associates have a network outside and within your organization. Why not start the revolution from within? Your senior leaders are always looking for ways for the contact center to become a “profit center”. What if you could aide in both top and bottom line revenue or cost avoidance? Just one example is recruiting. Traditional recruiting primarily uses websites to pull in attractive potential hires, and often scoops up high amounts of unqualified wastes of time. A pull model, it’s like a the Death Star’s tractor beam sucking up everything from Millennium Falcons to space junk. Social recruiting leverages the relationships of your associates to find potential hires matching your cultural fit. And by having large numbers of separate people from separate departments, you also reach a more diversified candidate pool.
The benefits of a Social Business are almost countless, but just to name a few:
- Individual personal associate development
- Lower operational costs
- Stronger interdepartmental collaboration
- Faster innovation
- Improved customer satisfaction and trust
- Vision & culture sharing
- Employee satisfaction
- Brand reputation and awareness
Some great resources to learn more about Social Business:
SideraWorks – http://www.sideraworks.com/
The Community Roundtable – http://community-roundtable.com/
Edelman – http://www.edelman.com/
Are people talking about Social Business in your immediate circles? Senior Management?
If you are not, what is holding you back?
The week of October 8th, I will be speaking about this subject at the Contact Center Conference – Fall 2012 in Miami, FL. Below is similar presentation given earlier in the year: