CIOs: Social Media’s Impact on Operating Environment

Part 10 of our series, What CIOs Need to Know About Social Media. A post on Mashable from a year and a half ago is still relevant to enterprise CIOs grappling with the impact of social media on the enterprise. In the post, Lon S. Cohen lists seven things CIOs should be considering. We’re taking a closer look at each of the item in Cohen’s framework. In this post, we take a look at Cohen’s fifth point, Impact On Operating Environment.

  • Web 2.0 Content and Presentation Standards
  • Review and Approval Processes
  • Managing Corporate Reputation
  • Versions and Update Controls
  • Impact On Operating Environment
  • Establishing Project Priority
  • Compliance

Social Media and Operations

The first thing the average CIO might think about when considering the effect of social media on operations is server and bandwidth load. These are important, for sure, but we’ll get to them in a subsequent post because we think the first impact to be concerned about is your contact centers, whether they be internal help desks or inbound customer service centers.

Outside the box, inside a cube

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You should be concerned about social media in these areas not so much because social media represents a new drain on resources, but because this new communications modality can help your efforts in a variety of ways.

Chances are, as a CIO one of your frequent headaches is maintaining an internal or external contact center. Keeping everyone up to speed on the latest changes in your products or the most effective workarounds for problems with legacy products can be a real pain. Plus, there’s no real way to know exactly what kind of inbound traffic your staff will face from day to day. Add to this the fact that many times, callers are irate and abusive, and the call center can be a pain center for CIOs and their staffs.

Broadly speaking, your inbound call center is in the reputation management business. Public perception of your brand and your organization can depend on how well your call center takes care of customers. By the same token, how well you take care of internal customers who call your help desk can affect the reputation of your organization, which can, of course, affect future funding. Finally, as a CIO you may find that your marketing and communications organizations have dumped responsibility for new concepts such as social media monitoring, sentiment tracking, and interacting on the company’s behalf on social networks on your organization.

All is not lost.

You don’t need to fear these broadenings of your contact center’s responsibilities because with a plan and a few of the right tools, you may find that social media can make all of your contact duties easier, despite the apparent increase in workload these new responsibilities may represent.

As it turns out, contact centers are an ideal place for your organization to centralize its social media response because the kinds of competencies required dovetail nicely with the traditional capabilities of the contact center.

While it’s true that other areas of the enterprise – product marketing, sales, communications and the C-suite – must provide information and guidance on social media to the call center, your call center systems – call tracking, bug tracking, CRM – and the training of your call center staff – good customer relationship practices – are exactly what your company requires to create social media success.

We’ll take a look in detail at how you can use social media to transform your contact centers into more-efficient, more-aware, and more-effective ambassadors for your company in the next post.

Up next: The Social Call Center.

For soup-to-nuts, strategy to execution processes, procedures and how-to advice, see our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises. The book (itself part of a series for different audiences), is available in paper form at Save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV