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How Comcast Approaches Social CRM

Posted by on February 9, 2010

Since I’m speaking on the topic of Social CRM at the New Comm Forum in April,  I decided to reach out to a few folks to get their ideas and impressions on what’s going on in the space.  One of the people I reached out to was Frank Eliason from Comcast  to find out how they were approaching Social CRM.  Many of you may know him on Twitter as @comcastcares.  I chatted with Frank for over an hour and here’s what he had to say.

Comcast monitors most every social media channel that is relevant to them.  In other words, they exist where their customer and conversations exist.  They also understand that each social media channels require a different approach.  For example, Twitter requires a fast response time directly from Comcast, whereas in forums, Comcast pays attention to the conversation but realizes that the most value comes from the peer-to-peer connections.  When consumers cannot help each other in the forums, Comcast steps in to handle the issue.

Social media is essentially handled by the customer service team.  They scour the net, respond to conversations, and engage with customers and prospects.  Not an easy task when you consider that Comcast appears in blogs between six to twelve thousand times a day (even though many of the mentions are due to the fact that people have a email address).  When the customer service team finds an issue that is NOT related to customer service, they then put in a ticket and it gets routed to the right person in the right department.

So now you may be thinking, ‘why is the customer service team in charge of social media’?  Well, this approach might not work for all companies but for Comcast it’s perfect.  Why?  Unlike companies such as Best Buy, Dell, or Southwest Airlines, there is only a certain amount of customization that Comcast can provide.  Essentially, you order packages which cannot be modified or customized.  You have your internet or TV service.  What are customers going to do, ask for the service to be cheaper?  So in Comcast’s case, it makes perfect sense for the customer service team to lead social media because almost every issue is support and service related.

Comcast also maintains a corporate blog which is run by the PR department.  They have their own social media committee that is made up of folks from various departments and made up of 10 employees.  Their Social CRM approach is fairly simple and has been quite effective thus far.  Eventually Comcast hopes to empower all employees to be on the social web, interacting with each other and with customers/prospects.  The rationale being as social media keeps growing, it will be increasingly difficult to keep up with all of the conversations about Comcast.  The idea is that eventually customers will know someone who works at Comcast (should be applied to any company) and that person can then funnel information or requests to the proper person.

Here are some key facts and takeaways from my conversation with Frank on Comcast’s Social CRM approach:

  • Customer service team runs social media efforts
  • A social media committee discusses strategy and initiatives across departments
  • Speed is the most effective mechanism for success
  • Filtering is automated so that any issues get routed to the right person in the right department when a ticket is submitted
  • There is a flow/process to ensure that tickets get closed
  • There is a set list of contacts for emergency situations
  • Customer service department is trained to handle most issues
  • The human aspect of Social CRM is crucial
  • The key is to get the right information to the right people quickly
  • Support of high level leaders is very important

What do you think of Comcast’s approach towards social CRM?  Did you find this information interesting/valuable?

  • One sentence in your article was key for me (or atleast it is what I honed in on) …

    “Eventually Comcast hopes to empower all employees to be out there on the social web interacting with each other and with customers/prospects …”

    If a company let's their employees blog on their own, but employees keep a focus on blogging as a work-type activity and leave their personal-type activities to Facebook, think of the marketing power a company could harness?

    Every employee would be increasing the brand awareness of their company by perhaps having a link back to their company in some manner. And, people would notice that their employees were engaged in communities (albeit online communities, but still communities).

    I think companies have an opportunity right now with social media to harness a huge marketing department: their entire staff. Now, not everyone is going to tweet and blog post; but, I bet companies can still get more employees out there doing it than they realize.

  • smallbusinesscrm

    All the small businesses should learn from the Comcast’s approach towards social CRM. Good post. Thank you!

  • delilah07

    It is obviously NOT working. Sounds good on paper though

  • darayush

    While I see how Comcast can be a prime example of a large org using Twitter for its support augmentation. I've also found through personal experience and being a customer for 8+ years that there is a lot of mileage that companies like Comcast try getting by providing lip service social media monitoring.

    We had this Comcast incident on Jan 3rd and I tried using Twitter and @comcastcares to get some response. Havnt heard from them yet 🙂

    @comcastcares .. appt for 2-4, Rep says we were first appt for 2hr slot, its 3:30, service guy not here yet ..called twice .. wats up? #Fail
    3:29 PM Jan 3rd from web

    What would've been cool is if they wouldve tweeted me a link or form or something where I couldve done some self-service and logged an urgent case or seen an update or something.

    Obviously the whole thing can be knocked off as a one off exception. But I think in this new world companies forget that individual customers matter as much as aggregate cust sat numbers.

    Also FYI, in this particular case the technician never showed up and we had to reschedule and after making us wait for 2hours Comcast never told us why they couldnt make the appointment. So much for being social.

  • Parag
  • Parag

    In today's competitive business landscape,small and medium-sized businesses need the most efficient and effective way to market to,sell to,and service clients.Customer relationship management,consists of the business processes and software that enable collaboration,performance improvement,and better business visibility across all customer touch points.If customer relationships are an important asset to your business, then effective CRM strategies and software are key.

  • RV

    this interesting tactics…

  • RV

    this interesting tactics…

  • It is obviously NOT working. Sounds good on paper though

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