3. Social media empowers employees and connects you to clients.
There has been a lot of dialogue lately about shutting down employees' use of social media. But according to new research
published in Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, and Transform Your Business (Harvard Business School Press, 2010), that's the wrong approach. Think about it: You'd never tell staff members that they
couldn't talk to clients if they ran into them in the grocery store or at a restaurant. Social media is another common meeting
place. It's how millions of people — your employees and clients — communicate today. So rather than ban participation, why
not encourage it?
The authors of the book, Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler, give an example of how a Best Buy employee solved a customer complaint.
The employee effectively turned around a negative review on Twitter with beneficial results to the company. The authors say
that the way to encourage this kind of positive, constructive engagement is to offer employees guidelines about conduct and
interactions on social media, especially when it comes to responding to clients' problems.
Empowering employees in this way is risky. A way to safely apply this idea to veterinary practice would be to ask employees
to let the practice manager or owner know when they hear things?— good or bad — on social media sites. That way, the manager
or owner could respond in a timely and appropriate fashion, and employees would have a risk-free way to help the practice
maintain its good reputation.