Of course they can.

So why aren’t those same staff answering queries on social media websites?

Today’s sports consumer is empowered through technology to challenge sport organisations to up their game in customer service. Facebook status updates, questions posted on twitter, comments on forums are all examples that challenge sport to respond and engage with the support base.

It takes empowered staff to meet this challenge.

If Scottish Governing Body staff are waiting for the phone to ring before responding to queries then damage may already have been done through social media sites or the dreaded “Reply to All” emails.

In a crowded sport and leisure marketplace, sports organisations are increasingly compelled to take a proactive approach by engaging with their customer before they experience the sport and after.

Simple practical steps:

  1. Search twitter and Facebook for your sport and location. Respond to questions and post ‘thank you’ comments using profiles under your sport/organisation name.
  2. Target key staff (e.g. competitions or youth development officers) for basic training in social media and encourage them to post short daily updates.
  3. When making a controversial decision, proactively post the decision and rationale onto your Facebook page or an online forum and invite an open discussion.
  4. Then be sure to monitor it daily and quickly respond to any negative comments. Those comments are going to be made somewhere online anyway so you may as well be part of the conversation and have a chance to reply.
  5. At a national event, give staff camera to take photos of participants and supporters, plus take their name. Tell them the photo will be on your Facebook page to encourage them to ‘like’ you if they haven’t already. Post the photos then tag the people concerned.

If empowered to make decisions and given the right technology tools, Scotland’s sport staff can create solutions at the same speed that today’s connected consumers can pose questions.

Prior experience with social media on a personal level has prepared many governing body staff to step up their customer service on behalf of the sporting organisations they work for.

The question is, are Scotland’s sporting organisations set up to empower their own team to engage with their community?

This is a blog post on Sports Marketing Scotland by Simon Turner