1. ‘We will never use email. Business is built on personal relationships and you lose that doing it electronically’. As recently as 1996/97 probably fewer than 10% of companies in this country were ‘connected’. In 2011, we still start our ‘Social Media Workshops’ by asking the audience ‘how many of you use e-mail’? The second question is ‘how many of you think that was a stupid question to ask’? Of course we all use e-mail.
2. In terms of providing staff access to the Internet, there was often a collective look of horror. ‘If we do that, they will just waste their time on football fanzine web sites etc’. Our response was that you can learn a lot about business by getting involved in these sites 🙂 (even more true today).
While we have made great progress over the last decade or so in our use of the web for business, unfortunately many of the old attitudes still prevail. It never fails to amaze me how many companies and organisations we visit (especially in the public sector) who heavily restrict staff access to social media sites (facebook, youtube etc). The reason given is the same as in 1996 – ‘give staff access to facebook and they will waste time talking to their friends, productivity will decline etc’.
Wake up and smell the coffee please!
In answering these concerns, we always point people to Don Tapscott’s excellent book ‘Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World’
The core argument of the book is that the social networking skills of the ‘Net Generation’ (those who have grown up with digital media and don’t know life without the Internet) are exactly the type of skills that businesses need in a constantly online world. Rather than ‘banning’ social media access, senior management should leverage the social networking skills of staff for building strong 1-to-1 customer relationships.
It was with great pleasure therefore that I stumbled across a recent article on the 1to1Media site entitled ‘How to “Socialize” Social Customer Engagement Skills’
The core argument of the article is that the growth in customer service via social channels requires an organizational culture shift and new skill sets that will help employees to cultivate customer engagement in the social sphere. It then discusses the case of Xerox (a $15.7 billion company) who ‘recruited the natives’ for this purpose. Essentially the company went out and found the 25 most social media savvy people in the organization. They were then given high level executive support and a ‘Charter’ for activating the power of social media for the company. This is similar, in many ways, to the New Jersey Devil’s example quoted in a recent post on this site.
The justification for doing this was that these 25 people understood what social media is all about. They also understood Xerox’s markets, offerings, and culture.
To the present authors, this is a ‘no brainer’ and certainly worth (photo)copying 🙂
Worthwhile reading the full article.
As usual, comments and feedback very welcome. Do you know of other companies/organisations who have ‘byte the bullet’. Who are the ones that just don’t get it?