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Harry Hertz

Customer Care

Effective Use of Social Media

The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence can help

Published: Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 11:35

In 2013, the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence started asking questions related to an organization’s use of social media. An emphasis was placed on effective use of social media. In the early days of this criteria change, many users of the Criteria had limited engagement with social media. More recently, every organization is using and must use social media, but they don’t always use it effectively.

So you might ask, what is ineffective use of social media? We probably all have personal experiences that could fit in this category. This post was conceived after I received a recent marketing email, the kind that has your name in the salutation. This one read as follows:

“Good afternoon [first name],

Hope this note finds you well. Based on your interest in....”

How do you know my interests, if you address me as [first name] and don’t even know who I am? This was further exacerbated by the email dealing with a subject of absolutely no interest to me.

This solicitation reminded me of other personalized solicitations that use mailing list information directly and start with something like: “Dear Hertz H.” Will solicitations like these cause me to read further? Certainly not, other than to note the sender’s organization and lower my opinion of it and its brand. And with that goes overall brand image.

There are many other examples of brand image that suffers because of ineffective use of social media. Some that have affected me and really strike a negative reaction are:
• The charitable organization that solicits me by email (and snail mail) several times a week. Am I contributing to this cause or the social media campaigns?
• The organization that regularly surveys me, but never seems to respond to customer feedback in any manner: not by a personal response (although I don’t expect that), not by changes in performance based a customer’s feedback, and not by general responses through a blog, website change, or mass email that say the company has heard and here are some changes that were made. The organization usually states that my time is valuable, but in practice it doesn’t seem to value my time at all.
• The company or organization that has been hacked and my data compromised, but the organization never notifies me, or else it publishes a blanket announcement weeks or months after the press has covered the story.

There are other examples I could cite, and no doubt you could, too. The Baldrige Criteria questions are designed to cause you to think about your organization from a systems perspective, to think about key links and cause-and-effect relationships. The 2015-2016 Criteria for Performance Excellence have added the consideration of brand image. Item 3.2 on Customer Engagement has the following question: “How do you leverage social media to manage and enhance your brand and to enhance customer engagement and relationships with your organization?”

Effective use of social media has become a significant factor in customer engagement, and ineffective use can be a driver of disengagement and relationship deterioration or destruction. It is also a key factor in employee engagement. How effective is your organization’s use of social media? What effect has it had on your brand image, customer engagement, and employee engagement?

First published May 3, 2016, on the Blogrige.

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About The Author

Harry Hertz’s picture

Harry Hertz

 Harry Hertz retired in June 2013 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) where he served as director of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program since 1995. For more than 15 years he was the primary architect of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, responsible for expansion of the Baldrige Program and Award to healthcare, education, and nonprofits, including government. Hertz serves on the Advisory Group for VHA’s Center for Applied Healthcare Studies and on the adjunct faculty of American University. He has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and a Ph.D. from M.I.T.