I am currently inconsolable because I missed @syfy’s five minute mini-talk because I was too nice to excuse myself from a conversation.
(I really do not like it in the schmooze room. Every time I go in there I like the conference less.)
One talk I was sure not to miss was a panel from Best Buy’s Twelpforce, a Twitter-based help team!
Twelpforce: Inside Scoop from the Insiders
Staff for Best Buy’s external outreach were contacted based on their participation on internal-facing social networks. Management asked: “would you like an opportunity to tweet for Best Buy and get paid for it?”
The Best Buy staff was excited to answer the same questions they were answering already, but on social networks! Twelpers are absolutely on-the-clock. They have employee customer care even for an overnight shift. It’s taking costs out of the organization to be able to answer these questions quickly, efficiently, and in a way that can be referenced.
“We’d love for users to answer questions, but we’re not there yet.”
Q: How do you balance the business needs/goals of stakeholders within the company with wanting engagement externally, giving employees more freedom.
“There’s friction – for those of you in large orgs you know there is friction.” There is a gap between how social is viewed “at the top” – partially because of the perceived lack of control. “We’ve moved from an org that had THE voice of best buy to one that has A voice of best buy – thousands of them.”
Q: How did you break down the resistance?
“We had arm wrestling matches – I was in the weight room for a long time.” Leadership was supportive and recognized that there was a sea change in effect. The harder part is selling the rank and file – the people who have been “laser focused on people making sure they aren’t laying off people in their stores.” Meanwhile, the world is changing, and we need to change the way we interact with customers [to move towards SM].
Q: Disconnect with retail brands on SM and in store. Why can’t we see local tweets on display in the store? Connect more, be more local.
“We need to try to do more of that” – TwelpForce was a great way for people to learn and develop new skills, and that’s going to translate to local to grow the marketplace. Steven adds, “It’s started for us what can twitter do, and what are the possibilities for us. … We’re trying to get people who are local, tell them about what events we’re doing, tell them we want to move product, but we still are there for them.”
Talking about how someone always knows the answer – the team as a whole is never stumped!
Q: Why use Twitter? Why not email?
“The number one benefit is the power of 1 to 1 to many. We have 25,000 followers for Twelpforce, and one of the big reasons for that is many people find that feed of answers helpful to THEM.” A single answer can answer multiple people. That’s why they like to keep it as public as possible.
“It’s almost like marketing without the marketing part. Giving away knowledge is a part of WOM … [but, there’s no sale – it’s all relationship].”
Q: How are you tracking issues? Something homebrew?
The tool is called “connectTweet,” which was developed by one of our in-house engineers.
Q: Will you have wi-fi in stores – a way to empower consumers more.
“That store exists … in the future.” [broad laughter] “I’m from the future.”
“We have idea X, and getting wi-fi into the stores is [one of the more popular suggestions].” Raises the flag to corporate. Trying to change the store experience – look out for development of QR codes.