Frank Eliason took questions from an inquisitive audience at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Santa Clara last week. He answered questions related to how he was able to move Comcast into the world of social business. Here are some of his insights.
How were bloggers and people in the web communicated with?
At Comcast we actually picked up the phone and called bloggers and that wowed them. We would also look up who owns the domain that the blog was hosted on and see if we had an account for that domain to get more information on the person.
We always did some investigative work. We tried to call bloggers, if that failed, then we emailed them. If that failed then we actually left a comment on their blog. As a result many angry bloggers either deleted their posts or wrote follow up posts (or edited their angry posts) thanking Comcast!
How was all of this organized? What was the impact and how did you get people empowered?
When I interview people to work at Comcast the biggest question I always asked was, “what’s wrong with Comcast.” Even if the interviewee was wrong about something they were still hired if they had passion. The reason I did this is because you can’t coach passion but you can always correct the misconceptions and facts that people have.
Many people don’t realize that “social” will really change the dynamics of your whole company. The cable company for example is usually a whole bunch of different silos. When I started working there 3 divisions of the company existed just in California, they all had their own marketing, their own services, their own rules and their own procedures and systems. One of the ways we got employees involved was by telling stories.
Grannie Annie was a sweet little older lady that lived in Indiana; she had just received cable service in her area and was having a lot of problems. Comcast knew about them but nobody really did anything about it. When we circulated the story of grannie Annie inside of Comcast people said, “oh now, we can’t possibly be doing that to her!” But we were, and we were doing the same thing to thousands of other people as well.
Employees and the organizations they belong to need to actually hear about these things. People always ask me why I left Comcast; the truth is because when I left the silos were already coming down. We went from 21 silos to 4 and soon hopefully to 1. I wanted it to happen faster but it just wasn’t the case.