I was talking to someone about the financial services industry today and how, from a customer service perspective, such regulated industries face up to the challenges placed upon it by social media.

The general perception is that regulations and social media don’t mix. That DPA (Data Protection Act) and FSA (Financial Services Authority) regulations prevent financial organisations from using social in any meaningful way to engage with their customers.

This post isn’t about what those regulations are specifically, nor is it about how open social media can be, but rather about understanding where your ‘brick wall’ is.

By ‘brick wall’ I mean those things, such as regulations, that organisations use as excuses for not exploring how social can be used to engage with their customers.

Regulations, such as DPA, should not be seen as barriers. Often they are no more than information gathering, and simply define the line up to which an organisation can openly exchange information with their customers, and beyond which that information exchange needs to take place in private.

The key is understanding where your ‘brick wall’ lies. And through understanding, knowing whether you need to place it in front of you, a little way off, or somewhere in the distance.

At the end of that day, ‘brick walls’ are not there to be barriers, but simply to help define the rules of engagement.