Social maturity leadership isn’t a destination so much as it is a journey, and today’s forerunners are just as easily tomorrow’s Contenders, Conservatives, and Observers. That’s because enduring leadership requires ongoing social innovation and investment to keep from being overtaken. If all else remains constant and competitors move up the index, your brand falls behind. To maintain leadership, internal social champions must keep the #SocialFirst flame alive.
**This is part 5 in a 5-part series which will help readers understand where their brand falls on the Social Maturity Index and how they can ascend to leadership. To start at the beginning, click here.**
Let’s explore what sets Leaders apart.
How Leaders benefit from social maturity:
- Win market share from competitors
- Utilize customer care as a profit center and source of growth
- Future-proof customer care, marketing, and sales
Here’s the Social Maturity Index once more:
The 3 characteristics of Leaders:
#SocialFirst and high performing
Leaders in social maturity have instigated the right balance of high investment and high innovation and are now reaping the benefits. Their customer care teams are specialized, staffed based on social volume, and are guided by clearly defined metrics that can be compared one-to-one against legacy channels. Management empowers agents to consistently produce in-channel-resolutions and leadership supports these efforts by battling bureaucracy and prioritizing the customer experience.
Promoting Social as a Care Channel
Fully socially mature brands are alway looking for new ways to drive customer volumes from costly legacy channels to efficient social ones. This leads them to be at the forefront of channel adoption also. By adding social care buttons to company "contact us" pages, and treating Messenger as an in-the-moment communication tool, Leaders drive the industry forward through their need to innovate.
Treat customer support as a profit center
Social maturity leaders have no problem securing additional budget for social care tools because the support organization is clearly able to demonstrate the ROI of efforts. The support team has established metrics and has cultivated teams of high-performing agents. Customers have their expectations consistently met and exceeded in ways that encourage them to buy more, buy again, and feel more loyal.
How Leaders can maintain their edge:
Maintaining social maturity requires constant vigilance. Leadership and champions must keep an eye out for changes in potentially disruptive technology and in shifting consumer tastes and trends.
According to Chris Zook, author of "The Founder’s Mentality," companies, business units, and teams of all sizes go through life cycles. Most start out young and scrappy with a clear purpose and drive. As they grow in complexity and size, their founding purpose becomes watered down, and they stop innovating. The great danger for Leaders in social maturity is that they may grow complacent as a result of their success. It’s up to the champions and leadership to ensure that standards continue to be raised, that internal expertise is retained and grown, and that they continue to deliver high-quality social support.
Always be exploring news ways to deliver efficient care at scale
Socially mature Leaders should always have their eye out for new possibilities. Disruption comes when companies least expect it and to stay on the cutting edge of what’s possible in social care, brands should both partner with vendors who are themselves constantly innovating. Customer support leadership should live in a perpetual state of evaluation. What’s next and around the corner? AI and Bots?
Keep the fire alive among executive management
Maintaining leadership in social maturity will often come down to ongoing executive sponsorship. It’s the job of the executives to communicate and prioritize their #SocialFirst mission, and for social champions within the organization to continue to beat the drum and circulate performance metrics, ROI, and success stories that keep it rooted in the growth of the company. Social leadership will stick best when it has strong cross-functional executive support.
What does #SocialFirst leadership look like? Read The 10 most social- minded CEOs.
In the long social maturity journey, achieving leadership status is no reason to let up. The more companies invest in offering the highest-performing social care possible, the greater rewards they’ll continue to earn in terms of customer satisfaction, revenue, and long-term loyalty. More innovation and more investment are how you’ll make sure that your brand is the leader of today as well as tomorrow.
That concludes our 5 part series on the Social Maturity Index. The journey goes on, however. Now it’s time to take action on what you’ve learned—download the Definitive Guide to Social, Digital Customer Care and give your team an additional edge!