Since I’m speaking on the topic of Social CRM at the New Comm Forum in April, I decided to reach out to a few folks to get their ideas and impressions on what’s going on in the space. One of the people I reached out to was Frank Eliason from Comcast to find out how they were approaching Social CRM. Many of you may know him on Twitter as @comcastcares. I chatted with Frank for over an hour and here’s what he had to say.
Comcast monitors most every social media channel that is relevant to them. In other words, they exist where their customer and conversations exist. They also understand that each social media channels require a different approach. For example, Twitter requires a fast response time directly from Comcast, whereas in forums, Comcast pays attention to the conversation but realizes that the most value comes from the peer-to-peer connections. When consumers cannot help each other in the forums, Comcast steps in to handle the issue.
Social media is essentially handled by the customer service team. They scour the net, respond to conversations, and engage with customers and prospects. Not an easy task when you consider that Comcast appears in blogs between six to twelve thousand times a day (even though many of the mentions are due to the fact that people have a comcast.net email address). When the customer service team finds an issue that is NOT related to customer service, they then put in a ticket and it gets routed to the right person in the right department.
So now you may be thinking, ‘why is the customer service team in charge of social media’? Well, this approach might not work for all companies but for Comcast it’s perfect. Why? Unlike companies such as Best Buy, Dell, or Southwest Airlines, there is only a certain amount of customization that Comcast can provide. Essentially, you order packages which cannot be modified or customized. You have your internet or TV service. What are customers going to do, ask for the service to be cheaper? So in Comcast’s case, it makes perfect sense for the customer service team to lead social media because almost every issue is support and service related.
Comcast also maintains a corporate blog which is run by the PR department. They have their own social media committee that is made up of folks from various departments and made up of 10 employees. Their Social CRM approach is fairly simple and has been quite effective thus far. Eventually Comcast hopes to empower all employees to be on the social web, interacting with each other and with customers/prospects. The rationale being as social media keeps growing, it will be increasingly difficult to keep up with all of the conversations about Comcast. The idea is that eventually customers will know someone who works at Comcast (should be applied to any company) and that person can then funnel information or requests to the proper person.
Here are some key facts and takeaways from my conversation with Frank on Comcast’s Social CRM approach:
- Customer service team runs social media efforts
- A social media committee discusses strategy and initiatives across departments
- Speed is the most effective mechanism for success
- Filtering is automated so that any issues get routed to the right person in the right department when a ticket is submitted
- There is a flow/process to ensure that tickets get closed
- There is a set list of contacts for emergency situations
- Customer service department is trained to handle most issues
- The human aspect of Social CRM is crucial
- The key is to get the right information to the right people quickly
- Support of high level leaders is very important
What do you think of Comcast’s approach towards social CRM? Did you find this information interesting/valuable?