I found this New Your Times story on L. L. Bean’s new social media team very insightful. But in my mind, the two more interesting stories are the stories behind the story on the “social” nature of the L. L. Bean call center and on the [still] relatively small numbers of social media interactions relative to the number of call center interaction:
“WHEN the phone rings at a call center inside a former department store here, it’s as much story time as sales time. As in: I was in Maine four summers ago. What’s it like in the winter? Or: Our dog ate my husband’s favorite slippers. Can you help me replace them before he finds out?
As the holiday orders pour in, some 3,600 L. L. Bean employees in this old mill town and elsewhere in Maine work the phones, answering questions, taking orders and, quite often, listening to warm, fuzzy stories. Customer service is a hallmark of this venerable Maine retailer, which turns 100 next year.
But this Christmas season, there’s a new twist: in addition to traditional phone orders, L L. Bean is wading boot-deep into social media. A 10-member team was recently created to interact with customers on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.”
“Apparently, L. L. Bean customers are becoming converts. In a recent month, the company recorded 50,000 social media mentions on Twitter, blogs, Facebook and YouTube. Still, it’s a far cry from the 100,000 phone calls a day. [3,000,000 calls a month].”