No matter what social media technology platform you choose, make sure you tell your employees. There is nothing more frustrating then having an employee stare blankly back at your customer when they try to claim a discount or reward through social media.
I have noticed that a lot of businesses are attempting new types of social media. I applaud them for this. I like to see businesses grab a hold of the latest ways to communicating with the public. But, I’ve also noticed that some companies are forgetting to tell their employees about what new technology they have in place.
For example, I visited the Chilli’s in St. Augustine, Fla., for a nice family dinner. I decided to check-in with Foursquare to see if there were any discounts. Sure enough, I would receive free chips and salsa for my check-in.
I then ran into an issue. The waitress knew noting about the Foursquare coupon. Surely she must had thought I was trying to pull something over on her. To her credit she asked to “borrow” my phone to show the manager. After several minutes the manager returned my phone explaining that the staff didn’t know about the Foursquare coupon, but I would recieve my free chips and salsa.
This is an example of a company trying to stay up with the latest social media buzz, but failing to complete all of the necessary steps for success. Had Chilli’s waited before launching the Foursquare campaign and trained their staff, customers might not receive blank stares from Chilli’s waitstaff.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe that Chill’s Foursquare campaign is a failure. I think it needs to be tweaked a bit. For starters, Chilli’s could display the Foursquare information somewhere that employees can see it. Maybe send out an information package to the managers and waitstaff.
An example of good complete company interaction with the latest buzz would be Crispers. The local St. Augustine Crispers runs a Foursquare coupon for a free drink on the first check-in. On every table there is a Foursquare ad telling customers about the coupon and how to redeem it. The cashier viewed the check-in and gave me the free drink without even batting an eye. This is an example where everyone in the company understands what is happening, even if it is the latest buzz.
Staying up with the latest buzz will not be successful if the individuals responsible for interacting with the customer doesn’t know what is going on. Don’t rush into a new social media platform until you evaluate the technology, plan how to implement the program, and inform your staff.