Deutsche Post DHL takes a holistic approach to social media
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Deutsche Post DHL takes a holistic approach to social media

I-CIO editorial team – October 2012

The vast scale of the mail and logistics services group makes ‘social listening’ a major challenge.

Deutsche Post DHL, the world’s largest mail and logistics group, has 470,000 employees in more than 200 countries, making it one of the 10 biggest employers in the world. It delivers millions of packages a day and handles more than 1 million customer contacts per hour. Christian Maybaum, the company’s global social media co-ordinator, explains that, because of the sheer size of the business, keeping tabs on what is being said about the brand on social media, and how its employees interact with customers on social media platforms, is a major challenge. Yet, meeting this challenge is growing in importance because, when things go wrong, customers are increasingly likely to resort to social media to vent their frustration.

Because the organization relies heavily on local expertise wherever it is present, not to mention the fact that it operates in scores of languages, running a centralized social media operation would be impossible. Instead, Deutsche Post DHL has opted for a “hub and spoke” approach, with a social media team based at company headquarters in Bonn, Germany whose purpose is to support, advise and instill best practice in international business units and relevant business functions, such as marketing and customer service.Three pillars of social engagement

Maybaum describes this as a “holistic approach,” and outlines three key pillars on which it is based: “The first is governance: building up a framework and know-how within the company. Second is intelligence — that is, monitoring and reporting. And third, of course, is interaction with our customers.”

The intelligence aspect has the strongest reliance on IT, and Maybaum sees it as crucial for customer service and engaging with key online influencers, as well as giving valuable support to the rest of the business. For example, the social media team has identified around 20 topics which are relevant to the Deutsche Post DHL brand, and constantly tracks these in both English and German (with a desire to extend this into other languages in the future). The data collected is then used to generate a wide variety of reports for corporate use, such as a bi-weekly report for the marketing team, a monthly board report for top management, and various others on issue-specific topics. “These all form a basis for decision-making within the business,” says Maybaum.

None of this would be possible, Maybaum insists, without the support of the company’s IT organization. “It’s important to have champions for social media in IT,” he says. “And we are lucky to have a supportive CIO who really understands social media.”

See how other major organizations are meeting the social media challenge across the business:

KLM: Turning social media best practice into customer service leadership
• How Ford’s C-suite has embraced the social agenda

First published October 2012
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