How to (not) end up chasing more Geeze

goose-headThe Goose represents the Goals that we pursue in our lives dedicated to excellent customer service experiences. I’ve written about chasing the Same Goose and chasing the Wrong Goose. If you want to follow the Goose Chase please hit the rss-feed button on the top right corner of my blog.

How to (not) end up chasing more Geeze  – will Social Media or Social CRM add value for Customer Services or not?

Unfortunately most companies do not have a well thought-through Customer Interaction Strategy. You will probably recognize from your own experience that companies jump on the next new wagon that passes because everybody is doing it. I wrote about this copy-cat behaviour before. Because there is no true strategy behind these choices, companies tend to follow the “benchmark” metrics to see if they are successful. They take too little time to do research in what their customers really want and expect. As a result they end up being mediocre companies, with mildly satisfied, mostly indifferent and disloyal customers, who will jump on the next best competition-wagon that passes by.

Now we have the next Goose flying in the air: Social Media & Social CRM. Highly recognized analysts from companies such as Forrester advice you to jump onto the wagon as quickly as possible. Some even say it’s time now to forget whatever you are doing or measuring now in Customer Service (or other areas) as a consequence of jumping onto the high-speed train.

The question is: do you, from a Customer Services perspective, need to jump? do you need to chase this Goose?

Honestly, I do not know. What I do know: if you fly out to chase the Goose without a map, a compass and jump the plane without a parachute, you will end up feeling pretty bad. If you do not have a clear goal and strategy defined with clear stepping stones and possible scenario’s worked out, you do not have a clue what you will encounter. If you do not have the metrics in place that give you a good idea of your position (how am I doing compared to my goals) you do not know whether the initiative is worth continuing. If you do not pilot or test in a small environment, with little risk involved, you will not know if your assumptions (that you based your strategy on) are true (or likely to be true). As a consequence, if you did not do all your homework, the likelihood that you will fall out of the sky and get injured seriously or even drop dead, is significantly increasing:

The probability that a service interaction will drive disloyalty is approximately four times greater than the chance it will create any positive loyalty impression

So, when jumping onto the Social Media wagon, the risk of getting hurt is huge, much bigger than the chance you will emerge out of the slopes.  This is not a law but a fact. It shows that we human beings in general are not that good in providing customer services experiences that matter positively. The vast majority just does not get it, and we know it. (I hit the . on the keyboard really hard there… some frustration coming out ;-)

Before you decide to step in or jump on you should ask yourself one important question: How am I doing today?

Can you honestly say that you have your customer services under control, that you are actually contributing positively to the value your company is providing to your customer? If so, you probably have a good chance of making it in the Social Media place too. (But hey, do not forget: what’s the purpose, the value for you and your customers?).

If you think you are doing ok today, take a break, rethink, research and know how you are doing today.

If you know you are not doing well today I suggest: fix that first. We all have limited resources and they are best spend where they add value to your customers and your business. We know that Customer Services can make a difference in the Customer Experience, and we know that Customer Experiences matter. So your first job is to fix that.

Tapping into the Twitter-stream or any other Social Media place will not fix it for you. It will just give you more Geeze to chase.

If your company is doing well and if you can honestly say that customer services is adding value in the total value bucket, implementing a social media or social CRM strategy will have great opportunity to contribute more value even (if you did your homework). If this is not the case, you will be overwhelmed with a completely new, not yet to be seen, volume stream of interactions you do not know how to handle or manage. Workloads will increase, staff who started out enthusiastically will be disappointed (they still cannot solve the customer issue) and then the worst of all things happens: Social Media starts doing its work, Bad word of mouth is out, and spreads faster than Mexican Flu (was supposed to ;-).

Honestly, do you want to end up with hundredthousands Geeze to chase?