My original title: “Teamwork, Podcasting and Content Creation for Customer Service.” I’m not sure if this sounds like something from, “The Bureaucrats Guide to Jargonistic Government,” but creating content within the bowels of any bureaucracy is a topic of real concern.
Better title, “If You Edit my Copy One More Time, I Will Set Your Desk on Fire.”
Better yet, “God Created the Earth in Seven Days, Yet You Haven’t Approved My Draft in Two Months.”
Sound familiar? One of the biggest gripes in creating content is the endless approval process, and great content is crucial for satisfying customer service. Make the content creation process onerous, and creativity disappears. The result can be lousy customer service.
Audio and video podcasting may be the answer.
Creating Great Content
The gold standard for effective customer service is a knowledgeable, friendly person who is easy to contact. But with millions of phone calls and e-mails, is that level of service realistic?
I called a federal government agency the other day and I was on hold for well over an hour. When the representative came on, she was delightful and in all fairness, the agency offered to schedule a call at my convenience. But it was still a delay of an hour. I didn’t use their website because their materials were confusing.
Every customer wants content designed specifically for them. They want clear-cut instructions, forms that make sense, fact sheets, story-based articles, audio or video. They want simplicity, clarity and entertainment.
Bureaucracies can be terrible at providing clear guidance. I don’t know about you, but if you ask me to assemble furniture from a well-known national chain, I would rather go clean toilets. Their instructions will drive a non-smoker to three packs a day.
People want their learning preferences respected. I taught myself video editing not from reading the manual, but from taking video courses. I tried to read the manual, but suicide seemed preferable.
We all want information delivered in a way that makes us comfortable. That requires an efficient content creation process.
Audio and Video
My federal agency started creating audio and video/television shows back in 2006; we were the first with an audio/video podcast series.
Do you know what we discovered? Management seemed reluctant to micromanage our audio and video products. Once it’s done, generally speaking, it’s over.
Whether purposely or accidently, we created a process that produced content that people seemed to like and no one felt a need to review. Our user numbers went steadily up and people were telling us that they liked our products.
We created an environment where the quick turnaround of information was normal. If our agency head wanted audio on a pressing issue, she got it in a day or two. If we needed a video to help people understand a complicated issue, we could do it quickly.
I have done audio interviews on breaking events and put them up on the Internet backed by a press release in thirty minutes. The audio interview prompted massive media interest and caused the story to go national and international. It can be that powerful.
We were turning out a new audio/radio/video/television show on a weekly basis.
We created our audio podcasts in-house. My Enterprise Director taught me everything I needed to know and purchased the needed equipment. Beyond an upfront investment of several thousand dollars and finding a place to create a studio, we created whatever we need for free.
Our television shows were done locally at a public access station at a reasonable cost.
We understood that we were building a Google friendly, search-oriented service. We did not depend on downloads. We agreed as to strategy, philosophy, and style.
Our bureaucracy was supportive as to what we were doing and, quite frankly, left us alone. As long as we didn’t create problems with our newfound toys, they didn’t seem to mind.
User numbers increased beyond all expiations. Our hierarchy started to get congratulations for what we were doing. Customers interacted and thanked us for respecting their learning styles. Leadership smiled; we were free to be as creative as we wanted to be.
We proposed a new idea, created prototypes, pitched it to leadership and the rest is history.
Our bureaucracy was encouraging. They left us alone. We didn’t invent audio and video podcasting, but we understood what we were doing and what we had to do to make it a success.
We all feel beat down by bureaucracies that seem as creative as the walking dead. But there are times when people have an idea, and they are gutsy enough to think it through and propose it.
We did, and we have no regrets. We have received fifteen national and regional awards in the last three years including best podcast, best audio, best customer service, best use of technology, best teamwork and a slew of first-place awards for television hosting and production.
We received close to two million page views (excluding robot searches) during the same three years.
Three hundred radio shows and forty television productions later, we dominated our categories for Google searches.
So consider audio and video podcasting for your organization. It’s not difficult to create great content quickly, and the costs are manageable.
Leonard Sipes retired from federal service as a Senior Specialist for Public Affairs and Social Media Manager in June of 2016. You can reach Len at [email protected] or at his website at http://leonardsipes.com. He is doing audio and video recordings for individuals (family histories) and organizations.
His new book, “Success With The Media: Everything You Need To Survive Reporters and Your Organization,” is available at Amazon at https://amzn.com/151948965X