General Motors operates over 100 different social media channels with more than 21 million fans, followers and subscribers. They also have a footprint in over 120 countries globally. Taking this huge scope into consideration, it is imperative that a company the size of GM operates in a highly coordinated and integrated fashion to support their customers around the world.
Until 2013 GM’s social media channels were managed by multiple teams across marketing, sales and customer service, As a result, the company struggled to maintain a seamless customer experience on social media. Employees found they were constantly stepping on each other’s toes and they needed to establish clearly defined areas of responsibility.
Then in April of 2013, GM co-located their marketing, communications and service teams into a single building in Detroit. This move proved to be the catalyst for a tremendous improvement in their overall social media performance, including reducing response times to less than 90 minutes on Facebook and Twitter (as compared to over 24 hours previously). GM now has over 500 employees engaging with customers over 400 different social media channels including 20 Facebook pages in the United States alone. There is a core team that monitors all customer inquiries, identifies them and channels them out to a wider team.
Dr. Rebecca Harris leads the Social Media Center of Expertise at General Motors in Detroit. This center is devoted to the customer, with staff constantly having conversations with users on social media and responding quickly to questions, comments and concerns. ” There are lots of different things you can do with those conversations,” Dr. Harris says. “You can listen for product issues early. what are they saying when we launch a new vehicle. Through this, we have been able to identify a couple of early product issues.” The following link provides a more detailed look at Dr. Harris’ approach to the challenges facing GM.
Another one of the center’s goals is to provide customers a way to communicate with GM in the social space and show the customer that there is one face for GM, whether they are talking with the Chevy marketing team or to someone in customer care. This helps GM effectively build relationships with customers and automotive shoppers. Harris adds: “I think the two foundational pieces for me are listening and taking some sort of action to change the outcome, and then providing that customer care piece that not everyone is out there providing today. We are very fortunate. We have a large commitment from the Executive Leadership Team to work in this space and to really make a difference.”
The clip below is Dr. Harris’ presentation on the GM Social Media efforts.
Lessons for Others
According to Ambassador Referral Marketing, there are some statistics showing the importance of listening to and engaging with customer feedback:
- 71 percent of customers who have a positive service experience via social media are likely to recommend the company.
- it is likely that consumers will spend 21 percent more if they receive good customer service via social media.
- 33 percent of consumers prefer communicating with a company via social media than by telephone.
A final thought from Dr. Harris: “Remember it’s about what’s best for the customer, and how the brand can provide value. Keep everyone on the same page and share, communicate and integrate””
Industry: Automotive Manufacturer
Name of Organization Contact: Dr. Rebecca Harris, Head of the Social Media Center of Expertise
Authored by: J Pritchard
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