Social Customer Service: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Agenda• The document will cover some best practices for customer service in social channels and highlight some good and bad examples of it• The best practices will cover: • Organisation • A team approach • Having hours of operation and emergency contacts • Social FAQs • Focused channels and expectations • Centralising Customer Service • Response • Speed and openness • Tone of voice, Empathy, and brand protection • Be pro-active • Personal touches • Ignoring and deletion
Team approach o No one team should completely own social customer service so that there is knowledge on all brand considerations. However you must be consistent in your answers & responses o Set consumers expectations for feedback by setting working hours. However ensure you continue to monitor on off-times in case something develops Good example Bad exampleDuring 2009, the snow crippled the transport system closing During Christmas 2009, the snow led to some serious disruptions onGatwick. Without floor staff knowing anything, people turned to the Eurostar service, with passengers being stranded on the trains forTwitter. EasyJet responded within minutes to people 24 hours a hours without any information.day advising them on the latest developments. Why is it bad? Lack of information on the trains as well as Eurostar’sWhy is it good? Great example of crisis management in advance public relations team gave conflicting information on their socialand being pro-active in a critical situation reacting quickly and channels (Facebook/Twitter) about the incident. This led to a seriousstopping problems before they blow out of control online serious backlash from consumers YouTube apology: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Jx 5EdCEgT4&feature=player_embedded
Team approachGood exampleKLM – Ash Cloud; again another great example ofcrisis management during a critical situation
Having hours of operation andemergency contactso As highlighted in the previous EasyJet example, in certain cases, your customers may need you out of hourso In case of a crisis (e.g. Kingsthorpe incident), Customer Service may be require to work out of hours to deal with the issueo During holidays (e.g. Christmas), basic monitoring of social properties (Facebook/Twitter) is advised to ensure no serious issues arise National Rail East Coast were responding to customers at 1.40 am!
Social FAQso Provide links to or collate your social frequently asked questions so that constant questioning topics can be pre- answered (just as you would do on site). Good example Best Buy run the Twitter handle @twelpforce as well as an external website (bbyconnect.appspot.com) which gathers Tweets (also from Best Buy employees), feeds and the Best Buy blog. Why is it good? The Twelpforce almost works like a dynamic FAQ, updating and changing as fast as technology can move, and hosts itself on bbyfeed.com so people can search for previous Q&As
Focussed Channels - Orange Helpers• Regardless of what you try to do, people will use whatever site they are most active on to ask questions. In order to manage expectations and conversations, it is key to define the channels for the users so they know where and how they should interact• Orange have created a sub-brand for their customer service which lives across all social properties. Although linked to from their main Orange UK accounts, it has its own Facebook and Twitter homes so lives independently. It has two employees specifically dedicated to customer care so consumers get an answer quickly and see the human face of the brand.• Why is it good? Clearly defined proposition and following• BUT the main OrangeUK pages still gets many customer service queries into their branded channels which doubles the work and potentially irritates the consumer.
Centralising social customer• Thomas Cook both have a Support tab (powered by Get Satisfaction) which allows users to submit ideas, service problems, praise or questions that the customer service team respond to; it is separate from the wall, and is completely managed within the app Good example Why is it a good idea? The app enables their wall to be used for more branded communications and allows them to make a further connection with consumers Without having to leave Facebook customers can search questions, ask questions and report problems - as well as the all important ‘give praise’ option, highlighting the level of customer care.
o Response speed and openness In Social Media, speed is key as customers expect you to respond quickly, and issues can quickly escalate. Lack of responsiveness and clarity could lead to an online backlash Good example Bad exampleIn July 2001, a number of East Coast trains got stuck for a few hours United broke David Carrolls guitar in transit, and made little effortbecause of an accident which caused major delays. People were to compensate him. So David Carroll posted a video on YouTubetweeting from trains and stations and @NRE_EastCoast promptly singing about the incident which went viral.replied to every single Tweet The Times newspaper reported that 4 days after the video’s release,Why is it good? East Coast trains were responding to customers Uniteds stock price dropped 10%, costing stockholders over $180muntil 2AM in the morning in a friendly and efficient manner in value. Today the video is a smash hit and has over 10m views. Customer service fail. Key Leanings: Respond to customer complaints, quickly. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo
Tone of voice, empathy and brando protection Social Media gives you an opportunity to give your brand personality and a distinctiveo Listen and engage with your customers, take part in online conversations around trending topics! Good exampleBen and Jerry’s and Innocent smoothies both have a veryfriendly and witty tone of voice on Twitter. They frequentlyengage with their followers, and their followers love themfor it!Why is it good? Social Channels are about connecting withpeople, not marketing speak
Tone of voice, empathy and brand Bad examples protectionQantas was running a hashtag based on a giveaway promotion Kenneth Cole jumped in boiling water when they tried to hijack theduring a time where passengers were stranded around the world #Cairo tag associated with the Egyptian Riots.because a strike, leading to some massive complaints on Twitterinstead Lesson: Brands, hash tag hijacking is always a bad idea (see Chris LakeWhy is it bad? The promotion timing of the promotion was poor blog post), especially if it has nothing to do with your product. Beand a blatant attempt to cover up something bad (or previously careful what you comment on.planned and not cancelled)
Be pro-activeo Social Media allows brands to communicate with their customers like never before, and can be used in innovative ways as a customer service tool , and to add value to customers Good example Litt’s Plumbing post Twitpics for their customers when they are installing their machines with actual project updates such as “New dishwasher installed”, “New counters down” and “Installing the backsplash now” so their customers can see the progress whilst they are at work. Why is it good? This approach adds value, and can reinforce customer loyalty and positive word of mouth
Have a personal touch: Team descriptionso When contacting Customer Service over the phone, the representative will always introduce himself/herself; the same can be done online Team example Individual accounts By including pictures of their team and identifying Larger brands with high volumes of queries, even have themselves with a ^ (co-tag) and the team member’s initial individual accounts solely dedicated to customer service Vodafone personalize the experience for customers (see next slide for full AT&T case study)
AT & T – Where PR Becomes CustomerCare The problem: • On a normal day there are over 10,000 mentions of AT&T on social networks • Almost every day during the first 6 months of 2009 “#attfail” and “#AT&Tsucks” trended regularly on Twitter The solution: • AT&T staffed up its social-media customer-care corps, starting with 5 people dedicated solely to responding to customer dissatisfaction of Twitter and YouTube this has now grown to encompass Facebook and consists of 19 people • To date, 32,000 customer service tickets come through social per month • AT&T flags its social media customer care on its bills, websites and other customer channels to make consumers aware that they can turn to Twitter, YouTube and Facebook with problems
Have a personal touch: Responseso Social Media is about creating relationships and talking with your customers. Personal touches can help create an emotional bond with the brandGood example Bad exampleRed Bull engages with Twitter community, responding to The response is personable and doesn’t showcase personality of theTweets in an informal and conversational way, proactively brand as expressed through other marketing channels such as viralreaching out to people mentioning the brand ads, TV ads, print & general brand perceptionWhy is it good? They reach out proactively to their fans, Why is it bad? It looks like customer service was made responsible forand add personality to their brand this channel with no social or marketing guidance provided
Not just the bad, rewarding the good• Social Media is also about engaging with yours fans. If they something nice about you, acknowledge them with a like or a commentGood exampleSociété Perrier make their fans feel Welcome byengaging with them whilst still pushing contentin a relevant way
Do not delete or ignore posts! o The number one rule in Social Media, is to accept all comments, both good and bad o There is a natural fear of negative comments, however do not ignore them; try to respond in the best possible way until the issue is resolvedGood exampleMichael Arrington, Editor in Chief at TechCrunch (12,000tech savvy followers) was experiencing extremely badservice with his Comcast Internet connection, andcustomer service were not much of a helpMichael Tweeted Comcast, and within 20 minutes hadreceived a call from Customer Service who dealt with theissueWhat is it good? Customer service were listening, andturned what could have been a PR disaster, into a PRopportunity (i.e. Michael Arrington ISP is Comcast)
Do not delete or ignore posts! Bad examplePeople learned from the news websites (ratherthan directly from the ticket provider) that theIgnition Festival was cancelled.Although they were previously active on Twitterand Facebook, during the time of crisis they justdisappeared, ignoring tweets and posts fromdisappointed customers.They Tweeted once to apologise and then deletedtheir social media accounts altogether.This, of course, resulted in angry blog posts andFacebook groups – I don’t think they will run thefestival under the same name in the future!
And finally, don’t panic!• If something goes wrong, stick to the honest, open and personal principles in your response The Red Crosss social media specialist sent a personal tweet by mistake from the company account. The Red Cross did a great job of owning up to the mistake, and even poked fun out of themselves in a later tweet. This was done promptly, transparently and wittily. The result was not only a recovering a situation, but also coming out of it positively and increasing their donations.