The powers of social media have developed gradually over the last decade. Consequently, social media can provide an organization with a platform to form connections with its old and new contacts including customers and supporters. In an online article that appears on the “Tech Talk” website, Tod Newcombe explores how transit authorities use social media platforms to address their customers’ queries. The author of this article notes that private organizations have been using social media platforms for quite some time but public institutions are yet to adopt this trend. This paper is a reflection of Newcombe’s article on how social media can be used to improve accountability in public organizations.
The most competitive and compelling fact about the use of social media by organizations is the platform’s ability to provide real-time communications. The article on social media and accountability notes that individuals expect the use of social media by public and private organizations to reflect all aspects of their communication including sales alerts, public relations, and customer satisfaction. For example, when an event or a product has been advertised through social media, customers expect to give their feedback on the same platform. Consequently, it is not prudent to act selectively where real-time communications that occur through social media are concerned.
Newcombe’s article also alludes to the fact that social media presents organizations with a chance of providing personalized customer service. The author notes that in the digital age, thirty percent of individuals expect to receive responses within an hour every time they air their grievances in an organizations’ social media platform. Unlike in the past, modern organizations have the chance to respond to their customers on a personal level. For instance, social media users can engage in ‘normal’ conversations that feature natural tones as opposed to official communications that happen through letters and telephone calls (Newcombe 1). Organizations should take advantage of the conversational-style communication that occurs through social media to communicate their accountability to their customers. For example, an individual is more likely to take personal responsibility when his/her communication with a company is casual. On the other hand, companies can score ‘bonus points’ with their customers by adopting a casual attitude where accountability is concerned.
One drawback that applies to organizations and accountability involves negative responses. Newcombe notes that “anonymous participation has been shown to invite excessively critical posts” on social media platforms (Newcombe 1). Consequently, organizations need to prove their accountability in a subtle manner where negative or critical comments are involved. For example, when responding to negative comments on Facebook, it is important to do so in a direct, calm, and thoughtful manner. Public organizations and non-profit organizations receive different forms of criticism where accountability is concerned. Fair and balanced customer service response is important where an organization’s accountability is at stake.
Newcombe presents a viable argument where accountability of public organizations is concerned. The author also notes that the increasing reliance on social media as an avenue for reporting customer grievances can work in favor of most companies. Social media can save an organization’s time and resources where accountability is concerned. It is also important for organizations’ public relation exercises to utilize customer data that is sourced through social media avenues. Furthermore, the culture of seeking feedback from social media users can help organizations when they are dealing with accountability issues. Negative and critical comments should not be a hindrance to companies but they should be opportunities for smoothening out customer service issues.
Newcombe, Tod. “Tardy Transit? Tweet About It.” Tech Talk. Governing, Web.