in Social Media

Web care Archetypes: The Lone Wolf

Situation

Some of the archetypes I would like to start with a personal story and this is one of them:

We ordered some birthday stuff for my son online at a German football club since he absolutely loves soccer. However after ordering it there was no communication, besides after 4 days an email that things were really busy now and things might be delayed (imagine telling your customer: thanks for your money, now wait for it when we feel like shipping).

After four weeks of no communication we tried a first message on Twitter to their main account. Still deafening silence. After that a second tweet, still no response, then a third tweet reaching out to the social media manager of this club. Finally a response (not s a solution though) and he provided us with the details of somebody who could help us. After a week of more silence all of a sudden the package arrived. Just a bit too late for this birthday, though our son decided anyways to not be a fan of this club, since he prefers a club that cares.

Analysis

If you are not responding to your customers, literally in this case your fans, you have a bigger issue than just Web care not done right. Since fans are the type of customers that tend to give you recurring revenues and by creating a poor first experience you make sure the next time they won’t bother at all and won’t spend their money on you. The only reason this case seems to be solved is because of an individual that cares enough to go into the organisation to try to solve things.

In this specific case it was his job to do something with social media, however I guess service was not part of his job description. In many other cases it is somebody who is just passionate about the job he does and thinks that everybody that interacts with the products and services of his company should have a great experience. Those people go beyond their job description and make deep impact for the organisation often outside regular working hours. However it isn’t scalable and sustainable so it won’t work on the long-term or with high volume.

It might be clear that this approach (by lack of a better word) of Web care doesn’t help companies in turning Web care into a profit centre. Even worse the result of this way of working gives people a reason not to buy anything from you, because you don’t seem to care after the transaction. Also when you have just one lone wolf (or just a couple) you are running the risk that people are burning up, since they are doing so much stuff besides their day job , that you have to wonder if this is still healthy for them. This unstructured approach turns people away and creates burnouts. Neither of these two items are things you like to happen.

How to make it better

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

Abraham Lincoln

It is plain and simple: make sure your service works. This soccer club is lucky to have a guy who is so involved to invest time in solving issues caused by others who don’t even care to reply to an email. He is probably one of the unsung heroes, however given that he is just alone he will scale poorly in the end and burn up.

This organisation needs to scale up and make sure there more people just like him and that they become pro active, instead of reactive. By becoming pro active you solve issues sooner in the process, providing the organisations and people with more time for other things, such as the proverbial ‘sharpening the axe’. Cherish the Lone wolfs, though more important let them build a pack of wolfs to make it scale. Often the Lone wolf himself is so busy he forgets to do that, so help him with this.

As soon as you have a group of Lone Wolfs most of your Web care issues are over and you’ll scale rather nicely while even providing a human face to service, instead of just showing a logo that blast out replies. By doing so, you are once again able to make a real connection with people reaching out to you via social media and by having such a connection you can increase loyalty which in itself could increase revenue in the long run. However the most important thing is that you really start caring about other people, instead of just firefighting.