Social Media Can Be The Biggest Hostage-Taker In Your Company

With tanks to our guest blogger Ineke Poutney

UnknownIf you think I am going to applaud you for banning your staff from using Social Media for personal reasons during working hours you would be missing the point entirely.

I have been reading an interesting Report about the Police and their use of Social Media which made very interesting points about the use of Social Media as a tool to connect with the public.

However, I couldn’t help thinking there was a gaping hole in the Report.  What happens when the public cannot use Social Media to contact the Police (for instance, because “this account is not monitored 24/7”)?

There is a major problem with “Corporate” Social Media accounts.  They never inspire me with confidence as to the service I am likely to receive from the company behind them.

On the one hand they are never as “human” as people’s personal accounts, on the other hand they always go “off air” when the member of staff in charge of them leaves the office.

And this is where my comment about Social Media being “the biggest Hostage-Taker in your company” stems from.

If your company only operates whilst the person in charge of your Social Media accounts is glued to their desk – and you don’t provide anything which is likely to break down, blow up, or malfunction in any other way, outside your hours of business – you must be one of the lucky ones.

How many times have you been on your way to an important meeting and waited for a busimages or a train which failed to appear?  More to the point, how many times have you been in that scenario and been left wondering exactly what was going on – due to a complete lack of information?

The situation may not be so bad if you have a readily available alternative mode of transport (ie, if you have access to both a Driving Licence and a car).  After all, you will only have wasted the price of your ticket – you can still arrive at your destination (you might be a bit later than you had anticipated but as long as you kept the person at the other end informed there wouldn’t be that much of a problem)….

But what if you are someone like me who cannot drive???

Luckily for me Public Transport doesn’t only run during office hours where I live.  So why do my local bus and train companies insist on abandoning their Social Media accounts just when the most problems are likely to occur???  (Same goes for the “Area Traffic Control” teams who supply traffic updates on Local Radio.)

I may not have the correct definition of a “Hostage” here but – the one I work to is as follows;

Someone who is held against their will and prevented from escaping – usually by not being informed about what is going on.

The bus company I use most often to travel to various destinations has dreamt up an App for use on a Smart Phone.  In theory, this App tells me how long I have to wait for the next bus to where I am going.  It is very useful when it works properly.

When the App is playing up I am stuck.

Unfortunately, the bus company seems to forget their bus services also run out of officeUnknown-1 hours.  This means my frantic attempts at getting information out of them via Twitter on a Sunday afternoon, for example, are a waste of time.

How much better it would be if Corporate Social Media accounts actually operated the same hours as the businesses themselves.

That way I could be sure of receiving what I would classify as good Customer Service.

Also – the businesses would have a happy and satisfied customer – instead of someone who feels as though they have been taken Hostage by a Corporate Social Media Account.

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