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The Social Maturity Index

Chapter 3: Conservatives


“Big brands, but small social.”

Investment: High Innovation: Low


  • The ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ mentality

  • Need more #SocialFirst™ training

  • Many conservatives are in a regulated industry

  • Reposition tone towards resolution

  • Lack of executive buy-in


  • Small changes have a big impact on the bottom-line

  • Instead of only revamping tone for Social Customer Service, make your entire support team #SocialFirst™ minded

  • Decrease public venting by adopting private messaging channels

Read about how Sprint did it.

Within America 160 million people have an active mobile social account - that is 50% of the population. Compared to 186 million active Social Media accounts, 58% of the population

— We Are Social, Digital, Social & Mobile Worldwide in 2015

ConservativeYou may be a Conservative if:

  • Your social initiatives are led by Marketing/PR

  • Legacy service channels take precedence and are valued higher than Social

  • Resolving in-channel isn’t a priority

  • You are available in only 1 or 2 social channels for service

Cues for the Social Media Conservative

Conservative brands know that they must be present on Social to help their customers and answer questions. Most have taken the plunge into Social because they realize, at the very least, that they must show up for their customers on Social - or suffer the consequences. Conservatives are shy on the innovation side, and most of the time this is due risk-aversion.

It’s hard to react in real-time or really capture the value of Social when fear is binding your brand to the Social strategies of yesteryear. When an opportunity or even a crisis rears it’s ugly head on Social, a Conservative can often hold back from responding for too long, causing damage to their brand.

Being innovative doesn’t mean throwing around the latest ‘lingo’ or following the latest fads and hashtags. Innovation is equal to relevance plus efficiency and a liberal portion of humanity.

More often than not, brands who are Conservative on Social are experiencing top down pressure. The executive team may realize that Social exists, but don’t really understand what that means or that brands have a responsibility to provide a flawless customer experience on these channels. Social ends up being delegated to ‘someone’ to get it done, without the thoughtful organization and processes required to build a successful strategy on these channels.

Hence, rallying an internal champion becomes a major roadblock for brands looking to grow their social strategy from the Conservative sphere to fully #SocialFirst™.

Conservative Brand Faux Pas

Red Lobster and the Beyonce Fail

There are common red flags of a Conservative Social Media company. Although, the intention of these brands may be to stay ‘safe’, they are actually opening themselves up to more issues on Social and less resolution and satisfaction for their customers.

Red Lobster Tweet

In February 2016, Beyonce released a surprise new single, where she gave a major shout out to a major American seafood chain, Red Lobster. Like a typical Conservative brand, Red Lobster took hours to respond to the shout out and had a very lackluster response.

Thanks to Beyonce, @RedLobster quickly gained a huge Social, mobile audience, but clearly dropped the ball.

“Customer experience must be multidisciplinary. Social Media has really highlighted how disconnected many teams are; but it’s an issue wider than social itself.”

—Paul Johns, Conversocial CMO

Arby’s Rechanneling Cycle

Arby’s is another food chain finding itself on the side of Social Care no-nos. Arby’s delivers best-in-class roast beef sandwiches, but low on the totem pole Social Customer Maturity. Browse their Twitter feed and you will find response after response redirecting customers to either use their contact page or email them.

Arby's Tweet

Arby’s customers are already on Social, they are trusting that they will get answers and support. Now these customers have to switch channels, retell their story and hope that the next agent they encounter takes ownership of their query. Not okay.

“The power of Social Media is it forces necessary change.”

—Erik Qualman, Author of Digital Leadership and Disruptive Innovation

Fabletics’ Automated Answers

Even a sexy, celebrity-endorsed brand like Fabletics can fall into the ‘canned response’ trap when trying to deliver best-in-class service on Social.

Fabletics Tweet Fabletics Tweet

It takes all of a 5 minute scan of their Twitter to understand that:

  • many of their members are frustrated

  • they send their apologies

  • whoever ‘rf’ is, they may be running out of things to say

Fabletics has two major actions they must take. Firstly, they must diversify their responses and secondly, they need to use the business insights they are receiving from Social to fix what is causing all this frustration.

“Companies need to realize that the most powerful way to engage with customers via Social Media is through 1:1 service and engagement–just marketing to them is a very limited approach that won't get results.”

—Joshua March, Conversocial CEO

Aversion to New Channel Adoption

Many brands have blinder on when it comes to adopting new social channels for Customer Service. There is a misconception that just showing up on the more established social channels such as Twitter and Facebook is enough.

#SocialFirst™ Customer Service is all about maturity. Customers no longer turn to Social to publicly berate a company (although it can happen). Instead they are turning for quick resolution and help. More personal, 1-to-1 channels like Facebook Messenger and Twitter’s public to private DM prompts are well suited for mature, resolution focused engagements on Social. By shying away from new channels, you are making it harder for your customers to keep their complaints private.

It’s Never too Late to Innovate

Depending on support from your executive leadership, it may be best to tackle the holes in your social innovation to begin with. By adopting new channels such as Facebook Messenger, Instagram and even queueing up to be an early adopter of Twitter’s DM and Customer Feedback features, you can easily propel yourself forward on the X axis of innovation.

“Adding humanity to your customer service strategy is no longer an option. It's business critical.”

—Paul Johns, Conversocial CMO

From Conservative to #SocialFirst™

Building a Case for Innovative Social Customer Care

Here are some steps to help you transition from the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,’ rut, to a #SocialFirst™ brand, not only available on all channels, but keeping your customers very satisfied.

  • Revisit Untapped Tech Features

    Chances are that if you explore your current Social Customer Service platform, there are unused features available that can help you make the most of the investment you’ve put forth. Perhaps there are additional tags that you could follow, better ways to track sentiment and more tech treasures that are sitting dormant.

  • Shift from Reactive to Pro-active

    Responding to core customers is just the first part of a killer Social Customer Service strategy. Take the next step to go above and beyond, join relevant conversations on Social to win new customers and create a brand voice that is unmistakeable, resolution focused and ready to help.

    Read how Audi secured a test drive via Social & sold a car in the process.

  • Reboot Social Service

    Conservative brands were perhaps #SocialFirst™ years ago, but complacency has crept in and overcome their Social strategies. Sometimes it's important to tear down in order to rebuild.

  • That may mean:

    • Implementing a new solution to better reflect the Social customer needs

    • Integration of additional social channels, CRM or other best-in-class Social Media listening/marketing solutions

    • Review of agent performance and structure of service protocol

  • Agent Performance Evaluation

    Analyze closer how each agent is performing. Investigate metrics you may not have measured yet. Don’t just expect your agents to respond to a certain number of queries, but rather check what they are responding to and how they are responding. Is it resolution focused? Is it keeping the customer in-channel?

  • Agent Retraining

    Even with the best tools in use, if your agents, who in essence are the voice of your company, aren’t synced on what it means to be #SocialFirst™, all of your innovative efforts are in vain. Your social reps are essentially, the voice of your company and it’s imperative that you carve out the time necessary to bring your entire team up to standard.

  • Rally Executive Buy-In

    It’s important to conduct sessions with your C Suite and give them a clearer big picture of what is actually happening outside of Social in their business. By garnering C Suite awareness you then share responsibility for your social customers and how to get to #SocialFirst™. Break down the silos within your company and work together to elevate your brand.

NEXT: Contenders

Chapter 4

Think your brand is a Conservative?

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