Death by digital deficiency - the new threat for businesses
OK, it's mildly amusing as a cartoon but it makes a point that even small businesses cannot afford to ignore. The chap in the chair is just two years older than the young buck - but you do not need to be two years behind the digital times to be taking a big risk with your company's reputation and profitability.
Two hours on social media, after an inappropriate response, can be long enough to find yourself in the middle of a Twitterstorm. In twodays, your CEO could be heading down the road.
The point was well made earlier this month by Ann King, The Sentinel's Business Correspondent, in her column 'Customer service needs to be fit for the digital age'. It's well worth a read and you can find it here:
In her column, Ann wonders how many businesses have drawn up a strategy for online communications specifically tailored to their own operations; and points out the risks of not having one (or having one and failing to brief your staff properly).
We would go even further. Companies, and indeed organisations, need to make sure that all employees understand what business outcomes you are chasing and then map out the digital pathways to your customers - and vice-versa - that will enable you to achieve them.
Bear in mind that the world is going increasingly mobile in its communications and that it is essential that your pro-active and reactive responses are handled by people who understand:
A) The required business outcomes
B) The immediacy and impact of social media
C) How to talk to people
Getting the technology right is the relatively easy bit. Just make sure that your customers have plenty of choice when it comes to digital pathways into your operation and that all the channels are suitably monitored.
The human factor, however, is harder to manage because, by and large, younger employees are more familiar with emerging social media channels and their memes - but older members of staff tend to have better people skills.
This is not something that the MD or CEO can simply delegate away. Digital death can claim any company of any size and it can come as quickly as digital opportunity.
So learn it, understand it, make sure the team understands it and ensure that the business as a whole embraces and OWNS it. This is a management issue.