COMM0015: Assignment 5: Event Participation

This past Thursday, December 5 I had the opportunity to attend the webinar “Customer Service for the New Customer: Transitioning to Real-Time Service Delivery” hosted by SocialMediaToday.com.   With three extremely knowledgeable, experienced and engaging members of the panel I took away several key points and ideas to consider when thinking about social media and customer service.

Similar to many public companies my department within the municipal government has been slowly attempting to move to a new service delivery model that effectively incorporates multiple access points for our customers (web, phone and in person).  Previously our customers were often restricted to in-person access for the majority of our services with a limited number of services offered by phone.  Approximately 18 months ago we added an online application process and began to expand the services available by phone.  I chose this webinar hoping to hear more about how other organizations are approaching service delivery in the age of social media and how they are measuring success in those new areas.Panel photos and bios

The Panel

The panel consisted of Nathan Roth, lead for digital and social at Koodo Mobile, Wendy Lea, CEO, Get Satisfaction, and Frank Eliason, Director of Global Social Media at CITI.  In addition, Robin Carey, founder of Social Media Today was the panel moderator.

Key Message from the Event:

“Customer service is the new marketing.” Although I came away from this webinar with a lot of new ideas and perspectives I can’t possibly list them all in this short article.  So I am going to focus on the comment “Customer service is the new marketing” which strongly resonated with my own work experience and my experiences as a consumer.  In my position as an Evaluation Officer, I am often asked to support projects or programs on developing new performance measures or determining their level of customer service.  One constant challenge in my role is explaining to people why it is important to monitor and measure our level of customer service.  This quote will become the new opening statement to that explanation.  As discussed in the webinar, in the current age of social media that allows your customers to reach thousands of people before or immediately after leaving your office their opinions have become your company’s brand.  Research has shown that the majority of consumers are more likely to trust the opinions of strangers over company advertising.  This means every customer who accesses services from your company has more influence over your customer base than you.  The bottom line?  It doesn’t matter what your organization says or promotes if your customers online conversations are negative.

Webinar Twitter Feed

Networking Social Media Style

In addition to a significant amount of information and ideas from the webinar the concurrent conversation on twitter also provided a unique networking opportunity.  The event promoted their prearranged hash tag for participants to ask questions, post comments and interact with each other.  As a result of participating in the twitter conversation I have 12 new followers and have added 14 new individuals to my twitter feed who all work on or specialize in social media.  The webinar proved to be both a learning opportunity and a chance to build my network of social media experts.

Upcoming Opportunities

As a result of how happy I was with the information and discussion that took place during this webinar I am actually attending another session this coming Tuesday, October 10.  The upcoming webinar specifically focuses on performance measures and data collection in social media.  This topic is particularly relevant to the role I usually play in the development of new service access points or social media.  I hope to come away from that event with some new ideas and approaches to performance measurement with the context of online content and social media.

If you are interesting in hearing the discussion from this webinar or participating in future panels SocialMediaToday.com offers an average of two free webinars per week.  For a list of upcoming events please go to: http://socialmediatoday.com

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