Raising Expectations with the “New” Social Media


Remember when we used to have time?  Things took time to develop.  Problems took time to solve.   Well, those days are gone – long gone.  The world has moved on.  We have access to virtually any information we want whenever and wherever we want.  We want what we want when we want it and we want it now.

With tools like Twitter, the game is changing.  People follow people, read what they are doing, share information, and learn.  Here’s an example:

A couple of weeks ago, Jason Tryfon (@jasontryfon), President of Vital Insight Group, was tweeting he was heading to Virginia to meet with a client.  He posted a tweet he was boarding his plane, and if all had gone smoothly, that probably would have been it for a while.  But, he happened upon a flight attendant who may have just been having a bad day, or maybe has no idea how to service a customer, but in a matter of seconds, over 5,000 people found out about his not so pleasant experience.  Several thousand more sent those notes forward (retweet), and suddenly, thousands of people know about a bad experience on a flight that hasn’t even left the ground yet!  You can read more about his experience in his blog post here.

So how does this change our expectations?  With instant information and communication methods, we are made aware of situations and problems almost as they occur.  The challenge is since we are made aware of them so quickly, we expect a solution to them just as quickly.  Sometimes this can be done.  Sometimes the problem is so complex it can’t.  But due to our new expectations, we tend to think we can solve any problem instantaneously, and when we do this, we look for that one thing that will solve our problem.  We try to implement it (quickly), and then we look for our problem to be solved.  Related to one on my favorite topics, this has been one of the approaches to the ongoing problem of obtaining IT Business Alignment.  This is one reason why it is still an issue.  We want to solve it in one fail swoop.  

But how can we use these new expectations to our advantage?  Think about what is being passed along – information.  Someone (your customer, your colleague, or your boss) is providing you with information.  Your challenge is to appropriately respond.  So, instead of thinking you have to completely resolve the problem immediately, provide information back about the issue.  Create a dialogue.  Who said it had to be a one-way street?  How you do this will depend on your business and your unique situation.  But could you imagine the reaction if, when Jason landed and he looked at his twitter, there was a message, “Mr. Tryfon, We are aware of your situation and offer our apologies.  Please contact us at XXX-XXX-XXXX – United Airlines Customer Service.”  Creating a near instant dialogue to solve a problem.  Game changing.

The expectations are there and coming at us faster than ever, with no sign of slowing down.   So, what do we do?  As Confucius said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” There are many steps in the journey, and if you make a mistake, take a step back.  So start with a step, just make sure it’s 140 characters or less….. J


Glenn Whitfield

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