Nissan: The state of social media: A customer experience approach — Live from the Brands-Only Summit

Coverage of this session by Bridgette Cude of Connect with her by following her on Twitter.

2:10 —'s Courtney Graham introduces Nissan's Bryan Long.

2:11 — Bryan: For us, our silver bullet, is getting our executives involved in social media.

2:12 — Bryan: My department is only three years old, but it feels like that's in dog years. Things are moving at such a quick space.

2:13 — Bryan: Today I'd like to walk you through our past, current, and future state. We had four people in our departmetn when we started. Now, we have six to eight agents looking at social, seven days a week. We have six strong willed millennials that man our department.

In fact, one of his staff tweeted Brandon Rhoten's quote: Millenials don't have short attention spans, they just have a love tolerance for crap.

2:14 — Bryan: Social is about customer experience. Why are we still talking about social being a small, niche area? It's about the customer experience piece of it.

2:15 — Bryan: In 2012, our flow chart looked nuts to figure out where to route information. Now, it's been simplified quite a bit, even as we've taken on better work.

For our future state for what it needs to look like, it should be even more direct. Do we really need seven different survey touch points? This is about social media reaching the customers directly.

We have the opportunity to have employees engaging with customers about their issues directly.

2:16 — Bryan: We launched our command center about a year ago. We launched it to our executive team so that he could see what it is we do.

Our structure is wide open, you're right in the middle of it when you get off of the elevator.

One of the unintended benefits is the number of presentations we've done from bringing different groups into the command center. That's helped us sell the importance of the command center to different teams, as well as our executives.

2:18 — Bryan: We invite them to take a tour and then come back to us with their needs. We're trying to integrate ourselves into the business as opposed to getting them to integrate into social media.

2:19 — Bryan: We also have a social media event for anyone who has an interest in social.

2:20 — Bryan: We're what we've termed a hybrid model of customer care: no call center, not part of consumer affairs, not marketing, don't report to PR. But they listen for everyone — inside and outside of the building.

We like this model, we know it's unconventional, and we've benchmarked against other companies — even though no one else does it like this, this works well for us.

2:21 — Now, we're trying to find ways to build out our reporting and get people to start thinking about social media.

We don't have a CEO whose tweeting, we have to think about things a little differently We have to leapfrog to get social into the business. And the way to do that is to speak the language. Talk about growing revenue, decreasing risk, and reducing cost.

2:22 — Bryan: Brands don't need to be in social for other brands, they need to be in there for the experience. That's where we're looking to be for our consumer advocacy programs.

For example, Ford sells 75,000 trucks a month. It's a highly emotional segment. People really want to talk about their trucks.

For decreasing risk: We have social compliance, governance, and training programs that need to be integrated with it.

The biggest thing wee'll start to do this year is protect our brand reputation. Where do you think customer service starts for us? It's at a dealership. There's a lot of room for disconnect with the automotive company's distributive model.

2:23 — Bryan: Automotive spends a ton of money in advertising. We're still big spenders there. The worst thing that can possibly happen for us is to have the message break down somewhere between the advertising, to native website, to consumer affairs, to dealer websites, to the dealership. There's a lot of places for disconnect. And there's not a better tool to measure that than social media.

2:24 — That's our goal, to tie those pieces together and get our org and dealers to understand the importance of social media. It's all about stopping using the word social and thinking about what's happening with our customers.


Q: Do you involve your dealer network as leverage to push your in-house messaging?

A: Bryan: We're generally on the other side of that. We're helping them carve out the message. They're in the business of promoting themselves. Our whole business model is about retention and loyalty so that if they're servicing their cars in the dealership they love closest — our message to them is to make sure they're taking care of their local market areas. We're pushing our consistent assets — the things that look and feel like Nissan.

Q: Social lead system: DO you enable that through Sprinklr?

A: Bryan: I can't talk more about that. For us, that's to holy grail. Something we've worked on with Sprinklr is you have to be careful with that. Yo don't want to get cheesy. We're continuing to work on that. We have some ideas, but for now, the time being is about the community and making sure we're taking care of customers.

Q: How do you factor in customers service or issues that might be global?

A: Bryan: We work closely with our global agency in New York. We don't see a lot of that in general though fortunately. Car issues tend to be handled locally. Often times we're limited in what we can do in those global situations anyway.

Q: What does your training look like?

A: Bryan: The biggest piece is the dealer piece because that's usually where things fall apart. Surveys take a long time to get out — it may be 18 days since they fill it out, and a lot can happen in 18 days. We want to be able to fix it in 2 days. Social gives the dealer the option to respond immediately.

Q: How does Nissan treat dark social and social sharing that's difficult to attribute?

A: Bryan: We don't report into our marketing vertical at all, so I'm not the best person to answer that question from a social standpoint.

Q: As far as your training for your 6-8 agents, how does the approval process go?

A: Bryan: We start at the interview. We want people how can write well and people who can be a part of a team. We're working on a complete checklist or criteria for each agent to become certified. We're looking for a trainer to be on staff full time for us.

Q: Do you see the most value of the command center in the visibility or the actual function of the command center?

A: Bryan: The way we're using it is that we're aggregating all of social information and metrics up on the wall (response times by agent, posts, etc.) That helps executives see the ROI. I was surprised by that unintended benefit of having it visible internally.