How GM Cut Social Channel Response Time From 12 Hours to 90 Minutes


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Social Customer Service@Scale: Using Sprinklr, GM was able to streamline its internal operations and improve customer satisfaction.

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How GM Cut Social Channel Response Time From 12 Hours to 90 Minutes

  1. 1. Article ReprintHow GM fine-tuned its approach to social mediaThe worlds largest automaker has streamlined how it responds to mentions on Facebook, Twitter, andblogs, and it has expanded its outreach at events such as SXSW.By Matt Wilson | Posted: March 21, 2012Whether youre a big-deal influencer attending South by Southwest, a customer looking for some help,or someone who happens to mention Cadillac on Twitter, General Motors wants to reach out to you.Speaking to a crowd of attendees at Ragan Communications Social Media for PR and CorporateCommunications Conference in Las Vegas, Rebecca Harris said theres no silver bullet for makingconnections in social media."Its not one thing for everybody," said Harris, GM social media strategist. "Its one person at a time."Over the past few years, GM has made it easier for employees to make those connections, not only onsocial media websites, but at one of the biggest social media events of the year, SXSW.Building lanesIn a GM survey, 11 percent of people said they consider social media is a source of information aboutautomakers. Thats not a huge number compared with other sources, such as word of mouth, TV ads,search engines, or dealerships. What is a big number is the portion of that 11 percent that said socialmedia really impacts their opinions—39 percent."This is a place we should be paying attention to," Harris said.Not only has GM trained its entire PR group on social media policy, "now were taking that trainingonline so that anyone in the company can take the social media training," she said. The companyhas Twitter accounts for each of its brands, Facebook accounts for brands and certain cars,YouTubechannels, a Google+ page (with which its still experimenting), a blog, an employee video site and aFacebook-like community.Although the company tries to give each brand and model its own individual flavor, "We try to makesure were all running down the same path as we engage," Harris said.For a while that wasnt happening, as the public relations, marketing, and customer service departmentsworked at arms length from one another. So Harris and her team developed a "swim lane" documentthat laid out the specifics of each departments social media responsibilities.Sprinklr How the Enterprise Does Social@Scale
  2. 2. Article Reprint"That, in itself, has been an amazing difference for us to do our jobs," she said.Customer service handles customer questions and problems; PR handles outreach to the media, tradepublications, and influencers, as well as reputation management; and marketing seeks potentialcustomers and lifestyle influencers. For example, when Pauly D (from "Jersey Shore") or Beyonce askswhere they can buy a Cadillac (and they really did on Twitter), marketing offers that guidance.Along with the swim lane document, GM also turned to Sprinklr to get everyone on the same page."We werent using any of the same systems," Harris said. Now, teams can track metrics, makeassignments, archive conversations, and make sure two people arent handling the same case at once.Using the system has cut down customer response times from 12 hours to 90 minutes, Harris said.The company has also added monitoring "pretty much around the clock," using a tool developed with PRagency Fleishman-Hillard, she said."We didnt have weekend coverage before we brought these three teams together," Harris said. "Itsreally made a difference. Were seeing a difference in the tone of our pages." For example, more peopleare coming to GMs defense in comments sections.Successes and learning experiencesIn January, GM reclaimed the status of worlds largest automaker from Toyota. Understandably, thecompany shared the news on Twitter and Facebook."Within 15 minutes, the Facebook post generated more than 300 likes, 60 comments, and 63 shares,"Harris said.Whats interesting is that a Valentines Day post asking people for "love at first sight" stories was almostas popular, with 200 likes and more than 100 comments within 15 minutes. Harris said asking peopleabout themselves "can generate some good will across your pages."However, "there some instances where we cant make everybody happy," she said.For example, a blogger posted that a dealer had told her shed have to get a new car because herChevrolet Cavaliers gas pedal was broken and the dealer, for some reason, couldnt get a new one."Those kinds of things I see go up on the wall, and my blood pressure goes through the roof," HarrisSprinklr How the Enterprise Does Social@Scale
  3. 3. Article Reprintsaid.Harris team directly messaged the blogger and, after two days of back-and-forth, directed her to adifferent dealership, where her car was fixed."You just dont know whats going to happen," she said.SXSWIn recent years General Motors, specifically the Chevrolet brand, has had a huge presence at the SXSWfestival, a top destination for social media entrepreneurs and experts. Attendees there are young andaffluent, and not necessarily the average Chevy buyers. The companys aim, then, is to get people inseats and tell them a story about the brand.One way GM did that was by offering people test drives. In the "Drive a Chevy" promotion, attendeescould sign up to get 10 minutes with any Chevy—a Volt, a Corvette, a Camaro.Another program, "Catch a Chevy" involved 55 Cruzes and Equinoxes driving around festival hotels andmeeting places to pick people up and take them to their next destination. It really helps in areas ofAustin, Texas, with few public transportation options, Harris said. Twitter exploded with talk about theprogram, she said, and people came to know drivers names.GM also offered a "recharge lounge" where people could power up their phones and tablets, and madea series of videos with Stephanie Wonderlin. (In 2011, it was Shira Lazar.) "That common voice helpedus," Harris said.From the event in 2011, Chevy saw a 13 percent boost in its Facebook audience, 85 percent growth onFoursquare, 25 percent more Gowalla followers, and 10 percent more Twitter followers.Sprinklr How the Enterprise Does Social@Scale