I used to be the Sales Director of the Internet Department at a car dealership. Just to clarify, the Internet Department in the auto-biz is a division of the sales force who specifically serve web clients that have been shopping through the internet. From referrals by buying companies to lead sources, email, text, etc., this team spends the majority of their days in front of a monitor. These employees are all over the digital marketplace chasing down customers.
One day, our genius [sarcastic] General Manager decided that he was going to lock down everyone’s computers to only include a few scattered links that they used every day for their email, customer management program and most pages associated with our brand. The rest of the internet–off limits.
The prospects they talk to on the phone every day have full access to all their shopping options in a variety of places on the web. On the other hand, the sales team that needed to be competitive and informed about their competition was unable to stay efficient because a GM was worried someone was reading FoxNews.com too often?
Handicapping his staff, the department started seeing a consistent decline in monthly numbers. Captain Power-trip blamed other factors but truth be told, the new policy was not very smart.
The IT department had access to every key stroke the people made. If they were concerned about where their ‘internet employees’ were surfing, they could have run a report to see for themselves and determine if corrective action was needed. But to treat them like small children and take away tools they need to be successful is just ridiculous.
One member of upper management tried to defend the GM by saying, “He probably is trying to keep people off of Facebook and focused on their job.” Okay, smarty-pants, there’s just one problem with that theory. Social Media is an incredible way of building your customer base. When I was an internet salesman, 4-6 cars I sold per month were a direct result of frequent posting on these sites.
Do not take away your team’s access to social media!
Even if they don’t use it for work, a short amount of friendly interaction on Facebook can be beneficial to the overall production. Here’s the bottom line–they’re gonna do it anyway. Most of your employees have smart phones and checking their posts is part of their hour to hour lives.
Regulate it. Give them a time window when they are allowed to take social media breaks.
Use it to your advantage. If your company generates revenue from the public, come up with contests and promotions that encourages staff to reach out to their power circle on Facebook and generate some new business.
You’ll keep your team happy and productive.
Go get ’em Tiger!