Why GM Changed Lanes in Social Customer Service Staffing

social media managementWhat are the ingredients of social customer service that actually services, and satisfies, customers? Like many brands, General Motors found itself faced with that question after taking a second look at how current practices would (or wouldn’t) hold up post-social revolution.


And it’s an increasingly important thing to get right. A BI Intelligence report says social customer management doubles the percentage of sales leads that result in actual sales, relative to traditional CRM approaches. McKinsey says 71% of consumers who received good social service are likely to recommend the brand to others.


In a newly released Oracle Social video, Reggie Bradford chatted with GM’s Rebecca Harris about the challenges that were seen, what needed fixing, and what kind of people and processes were brought in to fix it. Among Rebecca’s points:


  • A typical call center, like the one they had in Saginaw, does not lend itself to direct management. There are multiple players between you and the customer, and little control of interactions.
  • With social having changed public expectations, direct oversight of the personnel hired to engage with customers became a must.
  • Such personnel have 4-year educations, are proficient in reading and writing, and have some sort of customer service background or experience.
  • Rebecca says, “We can teach them social. We can't teach them to be nice. They have to have that core first.”
  • You want to be as close to your customer as you can be, with the fewest possible layers required to get issues resolved.
  • A key goal is getting everyone to know we care and we're trying to help customers.
  • You won’t solve every problem. But we get our field team involved, our dealer team involved, whoever and whatever it takes in trying to solve that problem.
  • Hire the right people, train them, then let them do their jobs.
  • When you have a misstep, talk about it, adjust & correct, and keep moving forward.


How close are you getting to your customers? How much control over the individual interactions does your brand have? In the age of relationship marketing, the person you have representing you on the front lines of customer service is a make-or-break player.


We invite you to watch the full video, as Reggie covers several social topics with Rebecca and GM’s North American Customer Experience Executive Director David Mingle.



@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

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