The Now Revolution focuses on how real-time communication and social media have and will continue to change the way we do business. Social communication tools such as Facebook and Twitter have given rise to a consumer base with easy access to having a direct impact on a company’s brand, image, and reputation. In 140 characters, a bad customer interaction can result in a deluge of bad press and other negative publicity, and quickly change the opinions of many customers and would-be customers against a company.
Thankfully for all of us in business there is a positive side to this equation as well: Customers can become super-fans of your brand (yes, even a bank brand) if the proper tools are put into place, and if the bank assumes the appropriate mindset to handle the task. This book attempts to define the necessary shifts that, if made, would adapt an existing organization into meeting the expectations of this “always-on” customer base. Such adaptation would harness the power of the social media scene.
The necessary seven adjustments that the authors outline, in brief summary fashion, are:
1. Ensure that your corporate culture is built to accept and sustain a “social” mentality. Then ensure that everyone involved thinks and acts according to a unified set of guiding principles.
2. Fill your team with people you trust and who fit the culture. These people then become owners over the consistent message that the entire company is pushing forward, in every facet.
3. Organize your army. You have a company full of people who interact with customers through a variety of means. You must organize this communication flow.
4. Answer the “new” always-on “telephone”. Social media is just “talking,” but it doesn’t end when the doors close at night. You must be prepared and capable of answering the influx of new “phone calls.”
5. Emphasize “response-ability.” Empower associates to engage customers quickly and effectively, all while maintaining your coordinated message.
6. Always-on can lead to issues. So plan for mistakes with sensible protocol and use monitoring to defend yourself as much as possible from problems.
7. Social media success (or failure) is very measurable. So determine what your goals are and track them consistently and as efficiently as possible.
The essential idea behind these shifts is absolutely on-point. In my experience, however, the reality of this revolution is that all of these steps must be happening “now,” simultaneously and continuously, even if any of the steps are currently under construction or worse, completely broken. Waiting to create or repair any of these items before answering this new telephone takes far too much time and effort, and as the book suggests, you’re better off building a culture of tackling issues and then owning the results (good or bad) afterwards.
In their first three shifts, the authors of The Now Revolution encourage businesses to build out their infrastructure, the culture, the people, and the organization of those into a framework which both runs smoothly and efficiently while also encouraging engagement, ideas, and interaction.
In the banking industry, we are often staffed by associates who are both conservative by necessity and technophobic by nature. Therefore assuming that banks are going to immediately, easily, and wholeheartedly jump into this culture shift is a difficult proposition.
But shift it will, and in some cases has. And while the book offers little in terms of specifics regarding the financial services industry, an example such as Umpqua Bank can quickly illustrate how an engaged culture can create a multitude of social opportunities.
The book demonstrates that the realization must be made that everyone in your company, from top to bottom, is a spokesperson for your company; in and out of work.
It’s not just your Marketing and PR areas that take on this outreach role. Each person you hire represents your corporate brand and can impact how it is viewed in both positive and negative ways. All of this is possible now, more than ever, due to the prevalence of blogs, Twitter streams, Foursquare Check-ins, Facebook pages, blog comments, and even “Share” and “Like” buttons.
This can go on at a computer or via a mobile device.
These tools give a person more opportunities now than ever before to interact with others, and they are changing daily. With this in mind, now is the time to fully embrace and deal with the reality of social media for your company.
The authors are quick to point out that it is not enough to simply post a few comments to Facebook and set up a Twitter account and assume that you are covered. (“Whew! Glad we got that done!”)
The job is ongoing and requires constant attention, even when the bank’s doors are locked and the lights are out. This necessitates a passion to take on this new “now.” The authors state, “If you don’t love social media, you probably suck at social media.”
While this ideology is true with most everything in life, passion breeds success. As the authors state, “Passion is the gasoline of social media.”
Without a true understanding of and desire to use the tools, the risks become larger. As such, these Revolutionists encourage finding internal associates who are already using social media outlets on their own, for their own personal reasons, and recruiting them to help with the effort.
You can teach these associates the skills they may not yet have, but it’s the social mind-set that you’re seeking.
This road that you are on with social media is coined by the authors as the “humanization highway,” with these mile-markers: ignoring, listening, responding, participating, and storytelling.
The obvious goal with your efforts should be to travel down this road, humanizing your company and your brand more and more with every interaction. In the end, you will create a connection between people and business like never before.
Social media tools give big companies an ability to act small again and small companies a chance to engage and interact in new and exciting ways.
The Revolution wraps up nicely with the following sentiment: Success is not for those who are merely “on”...but for those who are present, agile, responsive, and prepared.
It is those who see this shift, not as a trend, but moreso as the humanization of your company to showcase your people, rather than your products, making them (and thereby your company) a star.
With the banking industry being so commoditized, many banks claim that it is their people and their customer service that are the differentiating factors. It is my opinion—as someone who has been involved in his bank’s social media efforts— that the humanization and the use of social media tools to communicate with our customers is one of the most important initiatives for our industry.
The conversations are happening with or without us. Now is the time to join the revolution.