Social media interfaceIt doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or what position employees hold in your organizational hierarchy. It doesn’t matter if you’re a B2C company or B2B, a nonprofit or for profit, or whether your workforce is younger or older.

Employees in your organization will use collaborative media on the job. There’s not one thing you can do to stop it, so you might as well figure out how to turn it to your advantage.

Fortunately, regardless of industry or hierarchy or demographic, there’s a lot of advantage to be gained.

In virtually every call center, performance is measured based on the number of calls a representative can complete during a shift. That means reps have incentives to get customers off the phone as quickly as possible. And despite the fact that nearly 70% of consumers believe social is a necessary customer channel, 60% of companies have no formal support for social customer care.

That’s a bigger problem than you may think, since the customer experience eats product/service quality for lunch. Customers who are happy with your product or service—even those who are inclined to recommend you to others—could drop you like a an ebola-infected garment for a competitor if you don’t engage them frequently enough with meaningful interactions, according to an Ernst & Young survey.

It’s not just customer support staff who should be engaging customers via social media. Edelman’s Trust Barometer is clear: technical experts are more credible than just about anybody else in your company. When I blogged about a frustration with a Microsoft product several years back, it wasn’t a customer support rep who responded. It was the executive responsible for the product. In his comment, he suggested someone from his staff could offer more insights; one of them did. My subsequent praise for this response undoubtedly led people in my networks to think more highly of Microsoft. In fact, research supports the idea that when one person sings a company’s praises over a great experience, the people with whom she’s connected develop improved perceptions of the organization’s reputation.

It’s not just me. Customer service inquiries on Twitter are up 44%, according to research from SimplyMeasured. According to Mike Lazerow, chief strategy officer for Salesforce.com’s Marketing Cloud, “If you get things wrong, customers have more ways than ever to tell everyone they know about it (as well as several thousand people they’ve never met).”

via The customer has spoken: Every employee must be socially engaged |Customer Service | Blog | Holtz Communications + Technology.