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Former Member

Just recently, I noticed a couple of similar social media posts by friends. They echoed the same sentiment - extreme irritation at bad customer service by a large airline, which is notorious for its lack of attention to its passengers. Ironically, my friends were flying first class on the occasions they were mistreated.

Their accounts reminded me of a similar bad experience I had with the same airline. I looked up J. D. Power's customer satisfaction rankings of North American airline companies, and, sure enough, found our antagonists languishing near the bottom.

Social media is a great leveler: it enables the common man to be heard and his voice to carry. This is a useful lesson for large corporations, even those as large as utility companies.

A recent Gartner report on the top 10 technology trends impacting utility companies (link) provides an interesting analysis on social media for customer relationship management (CRM). The analysis considers three uses cases - crisis management, sentiment monitoring and perception improvement.

As in my anecdote, customer complaints on social media can attain high visibility and, eventually, impact the brand itself. This is especially important for utility companies because service "blips" like outages can be extremely harmful to the company image. On the other hand, social media can be effectively leveraged to notify customers of planned downtime and provide frequent updates on service restoration expected times.

Business management and corporate IT can partner to decide on appropriate channels to be selected for projecting the company image. The ubiquity of social networks today means that these media are no longer the prerogative of just technology or consumer goods companies, but every business seeking to engage with its customers.

Social media tools can make brand managers' life rather complicated, but, at the same time, provide "intelligent" corporations the chance to engage their customers like never before.

Learn more about SAP Analytics solutions (link) on how to leverage social media data to help improve your business.