Carla Kochalski

Carla Kochalski on Capital One’s social media command center

Capital One’s Manager of Social Media and Digital, Carla Kochalski, sat down with us to take us behind the scenes of their social media command center and to share how it’s changing the way they do business.

“We wanted to become a bank like no other bank.”

Carla Kochalski, Manager of Social Media and Digital for Capital One, explains one way they decided to do that: take direct feedback from social media and create a visual tool to express it internally — a social media command center.

But at Capital One, the command center is more than just a shiny object. Carla laid out four main objectives for how it brings value to the business:

  1. Employee empowerment and education
  2. A strategic space for people across departments to gather
  3. A tool to spark change within the organization
  4. A way to disseminate unfiltered feedback from the customer

Capital One Command Center

The first objective: Use social to bring more humanity into banking.

“We wanted to empower people who aren’t in social media throughout the business to use social analysis and incorporate that into their data,” she explains.

That meant communicating not only Capital One’s presence in social media, but also the conversations people were having about them. Carla says the screens outside of the command center room help create a very visual reminder of the important role of social media.

“We wanted people passing by to take a minute of their day to realize that this was unfiltered feedback from our customers and our fans.”

Capital One Command Center

Secondly, the command center is a physical place where real-time marketing thrives.

As a big time sponsor of organizations like the NCAA, Capital One has huge real-time marketing opportunities during events like March Madness. With ten screens, a creative station for content creation, four cable tuners, video conferencing, modular tables, and a collapsible wall to make the room bigger, the social command center presents the perfect place for those moments to happen.

“We made it very flexible so that it’s not just a place for people to walk by and see what’s going on, but also a good workable space for people across departments to gather,” she says.

Capital One Command Center

“As an idea generator, it’s been huge.”

Carla says their Principal Product Manager of Social Media Monitoring, Andrew Kauz, hosts “social empathy sessions” in the command center with different departments. They use the place to talk about issues, look at the social data, and come up with ways to solve it.

She explains, “We’ve become a part of the process that helps Capital One think about how we serve our customers. We have a focus group, and now, we have the social media data we’ve gathered from listening to look at and brainstorm ideas.”

The final objective: Disseminate the voice of the customer.

In terms of the command center’s governance, their enterprise social team is the relationship and product manager. Led by Principal Product Manager, Andrew Kauz, they’re spreading smaller versions of the command center by providing anything from installation guidance to training for analysts across departments to pull their own reports from social.

Now, any department at Capital One with a TV screen can project social media reports from the command center.

“However,” Carla warns, “The social command center shouldn’t be the first thing on your checklist.”

“This is probably not something a lot of people want to hear. Everyone wants a social media command center because it looks really cool, but the command center only works if you have the rest of your ducks in a row.”

Carla says that means knowing what problem a social media command center could solve for your company, your value proposition, and your response model among the teams.

Say hi to Carla on Twitter and ask her about her favorite new gadget or work fashion trend.