Social media & customer service


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What is social media & how can it aid great customer service?

A quick run through the every changing world of digital communications & social media.

What does 'great' look like in social customer service?

How do you get started in social customer service?

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  • So who am I to talk about Social Media?Well – this is me (I’m the one on the left!). I guess you could say I’m an early adopter of all things digital – including social media of course. I’ve joined twitter back in April 2007 when there were around 250,000 of us. Twitter now has over 100 million users and has really entered the public psyche.I’m the digital director and joint MD at The Real Adventure.
  • As an agency, we are lucky enough to work with some fantastic brands across many aspects of consumer experience – including social media. A little later today, I’ll be using some of these brands as examples of how social media can be used in a customer service manner
  • Lastly, before we start, I’ll have to apologise for looking like a mexican bandit – the moustache is temporary for this month only – we have a team within the agency supporting #movember raising money for men’s cancer charities. Some of them are with me today.So if you enjoy the presentation, please feel free to donate at the URL shown!
  • I want to give you a flavour of how I see the world changing…
  • There’s no doubting the fact that the world in which we all live (and our consumers live) is changing due to the digital revolution that is in full swing.However…throughout this presentation, I want you to remember… we’re all still human beings with basic human needs. We all still want to feed our families, feel loved and enjoy life. We’re emotional beings, after all.
  • But…as we have evolved, our ways of communicating have changed.This has happened for millennia…So we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s happening nowBut now, its happening faster than ever.
  • We used to write lettersWhen was the last time you sent a hand-written letter?No-one sends them nowThe Post Office is partly being kept busy with all the internet shopping orders
  • This probably isn’t an unfamiliar picture – even when we get together people have almost forgotten how to converse
  • In fact, 300 million SMS are sent per day in the UK
  • Newspapers are old news. By the time they’re printed, they’re out of date.Now I get my news online. From all the major news sources like the or newspaper websites, or through a customised news reading service
  • These days, I’m more likely to read my news on an iPhone or an iPad. And of course, those devices have revolutionised the world of mobile. The app store has clocked up more than 15 billion downloads since it launched just a few years ago.Of course, there are hundreds of thousands of apps…from news readers, to games, office tools and more. In fact, smartphone users spend only 23% of their time using the phone to make voice calls….the other 67% is spent using apps, messaging and browsing the web.[source:]
  • And then of course, there’s facebook.I don’t need to actually speakto anyone now – I can stay up-to-date with all my friends through Facebook. And with my favourite brands of course.Facebook now has around 800 million active users. 30 million in the UK. 16% of all time online is spent on facebook … with the average household spending more than 2.5 hours per day on the site
  • Watching TV is being replaced with online video sites like YouTubeEvery minute of every day, 48 hours worth of video is being uploaded. That’s around 250,000 new movie releases every weekPeople are watching over 3 billion videos every day.It’s the third most popular website in the UK after Google's UK search engine and Facebook
  • This man helped accelerate twitter’s huge growth phase.Twitter now handles 250 million tweets per day. And now that the latest version of the iPhone operating system (iOS5) has twitter built right into it, that will see a significant rise in the near future.Of course, part of the popularity of twitter has been the fact that I can now actually talk to my favourite celebrity…and I might even get a reply!
  • Personally speaking, I use twitter for many things….but one of the main reasons is that it allows me to find out what’s happening right now.It’s how I found out about the death of MJ. And Steve Jobs. Reading my twitter feed is the first thing I do in the morning. If I switch on the TV or the radio, I already know what they’re going to talk about
  • It is becoming more ‘normal’ to sit watching TV with a screen in your hand – tweeting The UK election debates – or Xfactor (which, in the USA, now allows voting via twitter)
  • So, I’ve mentioned Facebook, twitter and YouTube – is that social media? Well…many people just assume it’s all about facebook
  • Or twitter
  • But the digital social landscape is a crowded place – there are hundreds of sites that enable user-communications – social communications
  • They fall into many categories – from forums, content sharing to blogging & even games
  • UniversalMccann have been tracking social media usage in a study that has spanned the past 5 years. They’ve found that visits to brand websites are declining
  • ….so what are people doing instead? They’re engaging with social media on large networks.(talk through the items shown)
  • One of our sister agencies (ICM) conducted some research to understand the motivation behind people engaging in social spaces.They uncovered 6 main reasons. [talk through these]There are a few things that are particularly relevant to customer service…
  • 70% of people are looking to discover what their friends / friends-of-friends think about stuff
  • 60% like to think that what they talk to companies about will actually have some influence over how that company might behave / change / develop new products or servicesCo-creation is becoming big news – and those companies that embrace it will, I believe, gain significant benefit from it – because ultimately they are delivering what their consumers want.
  • A recent Nielsen study showed that more than half of social media users follow brands – they’re wanting a connection with brands
  • So, as you can see…the growth in these technologies has made us increasingly digitally connected… and due to the nature of our online interactions we are therefore socially connected
  • So whereas conversations used to happen between a few people. They might have told their friends in the pub about a good or bad customer experience. And those positive or negative recommendations may have spread slowly
  • A single facebook post can ripple out to friends, friends of friends and beyond With the average facebook user having 130 friends, word of mouth can spread like wildfire
  • By way of an example, imagine that you’re buying a satnav on Amazon. Which would you buy? The one on the right looks better value.Until you see the customer reviews – you trust them, so you’ll buy the more expensive one, on the left
  • I read the reviews….and in this instance, the customer service is the things that’s being complained about – for all to see
  • Another example – this time from ebay.Which seller would you buy from? The negative comments are there for all to see….I’m much more likely to trust (and therefore buy from) the seller on the left.
  • And influence (or “recommendation”) is a key factor in Harvard BS’s net promoter score model.Take the % detractors away from the % promoters to get your NPS scoreCompanies with a better ratio of promoters to detractors grow faster than their competitorsIn fact, social media / customer care / Net promoter scores are really strongly linked. Social media makes it easier for people's opinions of a company to be influenced. Even if I haven't especially good or experienced bad service, it's easier for me to find out about it (since social media spreads to friends of friends and beyond)… and therefore be influenced.Your NPS score could be changing due to social media chatter without your knowing about it
  • The advent of smart phones has increased the ease and speed with which people can share their experiences
  • 40% of social media users engage on their mobile phones.If something delights me…or annoys me… my mobile is always there for me to share my thoughtsSo what used to be a private thought is now much more likely to be shared publicly
  • As you can see in this example…People are impulsive – social media makes it easy for people to share what previously wasn’t shared. Or share with thousands when it would previously been a few. Richard here has over 3,500 followers who he’s told about his experience of East Midland’s bad customer service
  • With there being so many social spaces, spreading the good or bad news is simple – people will do it if they feel strongly about an issue
  • Many of you may know this lady. She’s Heather Armstrong, otherwise known by her web name of Dooce.She’s a professional blogger. She’s a mum who runs a busy household with kids & dogs.
  • She bought a new washing machine from MayTag…with a 10 year extended warranty. After all, she had young kids so had a load of washing to do and didn’t want the machine to go wrong.Except it did.After calling out the repair man 3 times…and it still not being fixed, she called MayTag HQ. After a long discussion with the customer services rep, she was still getting no joy. So she said this…
  • …so she asked to speak to the supervisor and she got the same reaction. “no”
  • So she turned to her laptop and tweeted this infamous tweet.To over a million people.And then she tweeted 4 more times in a similar vein.A couple of hours later, she had a message from Whirlpool who own MayTag. The following day she had a call from a guy called Jeff Pirano, a manager at the executive offices of Whirlpool. He listens sympathetically, calls out a different repair company and gets the machine fixed.
  • So she thanks him & Whirlpool for fixing her problem.Many people didn’t agree with the way she dealt with the situation. The point of the story…people can and do talk about brands in social spaces – sometimes bad things, sometimes good. And the news spreads fast. Not always to 1 million followers, but spread it still does.Social media doesn’t create bad customer service, or make people feel worse about it. They think what they think, social media just allows those thoughts to be exposed!In this case, perhaps you could say that social media forced MayTag to rethink their policies / customer service attitudes. Which can only be a good thing if the result is improved customer service.
  • Incredibly, 71% of people who reach out to companies on twitter are ignored.The “reaching out” is going to increase, with the increased ease of doing so….and the increasing uptake of social media & smartphonesFigures from YouGov show that 56 per cent of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have never attempted to build a social media presence, despite the rapid migration of consumers to web-based communities and the potential to transform customer communication that it presents [source:]
  • Amazingly, only 49% of complainers on twitter expected a reply!If I write a letter to a company – I expect a reply. 100%If I call them, I expect someone to pick up the phone.So if I tweet to a company…why shouldn’t I expect a reply? Why should we ignore the social telephone??
  • Those who were contacted in response to their complaint are generally satisfied!
  • Over 4 years to 2010, McKinsey tracked the changes in the way companies used social technologies.
  • I like this definition – social lip service vs social customer service[read it out]Now, there may be instances of course where asking someone on FB or twitter to call a number is entirely appropriate – for example to get more information (eg an address to send something), or when there are legal limitations around what can be discussed in an open forum - as is the case in the infant milk industry for example.
  • Looking again at the East Midlands train account that was mentioned before… interestingly, they are immediately pushing people into their customer service centre via the phone.
  • If you look at their feed, it becomes pretty clear that the tweets are probably automated. So our friend above never got a reply.[Although recently (since November ‘11) they have just started tweeting to customers!]
  • Compare this with a twitter feed in the same industryYou can tell there’s a real person behind it – they’re having normal conversations with their customers. And their customers are spontaneously talking about them…positively.
  • Here’s Cow & Gate’s facebook page – this is the ‘Our experts’ tab which introduces the careline experts to the Facebook community. The page really humanises the careline – with pictures of the women who run the careline. The page also sets out the many ways of getting in touch, plus the types of questions that others have asked – there’s no such thing as a silly question.We’ve integrated live chat into the page – so mums can chat 1-to-1 in real time to the carelineOr they can post on the wall…
  • This is Nathan.
  • Nathan tweeted a photo of his packet of Quavers
  • An example of how we handle a complaint – apologising and giving immediate information. There’s an honesty shown with the “that said, sometimes…” plus a route to contact CS if the customer wants to take it further.
  • Another example from Walkers… their Rainy days promotion whereby consumers could win £10 by predicting where in the UK it would rain on a given dayDuring the promotion, the weather was particularly bad – which meant it was relatively easy to win. Due to its massive popularity, the website got overloaded which caused a number of complaints. Walkers have been active on social media for some time, so we were prepared for it.
  • We worked very closely with the customer services team and the website developers to give responses to questions on FB and twitter about why people were having problems.Had we not been available within social spaces, things could have got out of hand – they would still have complained about things…it’s just that we wouldn’t have been able to manage their complaints. Phone calls to Walkers customer services would have been higher too – putting more strain on the customer services team.
  • Meet John. He’s a radio DJ
  • …and he rather likes cheese balls. How do I know this?...
  • He was recently in Holland and when he was on his way home, he tweeted about his love of KLM’s cheese balls
  • What’s clear from these examples is that they are conversations between two human beings. And that’s what customers want. Social media doesn’t change how customers want to be treated – as human beings who want valuable relationships. But due to its public, real-time nature, it encourages openness and transparency – things which customers definitely value.You have to find the human emotion in the technology.
  • In their relationships with a brand, customers want to be treated in the same way, with the same tone of voice, professionalism and service levels however they choose to interact with youConsistency of customer service is vital – so it must run through your businessMarketing, Customer service, Product development – should all be integrated with social to get closer to the customerYou shouldn’t launch yourselves on twitter or facebook and then find you’re treating customers who use those channels differently.
  • You probably know about Zappos – they turn over well in excess of $1bn.If you don’t, Zappos is an online retailer selling shoes, clothing, handbags and other things.They are dedicated to customer service through & through – and encourage all of their employees to engage with their customers in social spaces.TWITTERYOUTUBE – showing how people work @ ZFACEBOOKCORPORATE BLOGS Allows employees to share their passionsIts approach focuses on making authentic connections via social networks rather than selling or promoting products. Since meeting customer needs is the goal, Zappos staff will spend time to help a person find an item they don’t carry — even though they’re making no money off the sale. Still, it’s valuable in building customer appreciation and trust.They focus on AUTHENTIC conversations with customers – which builds trust & loyalty. Loyal customers shop more, pay more, are the first to forgive, the last to criticise, and are your number one marketing channel.
  • It’s probably also worth mentioning Dell. They totally embrace social media across many disciplines.
  • In 2010 they opened their social media command centre. They have invested a lot of money in listening to their customers … and social media channels are said to be the source of millions of dollars of Dell revenue
  • They’re very open about what they’re doing - you can even read their social media policy on their website
  • Before you get started …. Take an inward look at yourselves. Are you great? Any skeletons in the cupboard? The transparency and openness that social media demands will soon expose you …so make sure your house is in order. Social media can fuel your success, but can also harm your brand image and customer base in an instantGauge how people feel about you by listening…
  • Step 1 : listenFind out what your customers are saying and where they’re saying it.People are spontaneous on social media – as we saw with John, they might tweet about you
  • You can find out what people are saying using simple, free tools such as socialmentionRemember…it’s a bit harder to see what people are saying on Facebook – since it’s a closed network – many people don’t make their feeds public.
  • Step 2:So…where should you be to provide great customer service?People will be talking about you already in many places. But bringing all of these conversations into one place is complex…and can require a significant investment.
  • Step 2:Pick the channels where (the majority of) your customers are talking about youPerhaps this might be “the big 3”You could start there to engage with customers in real-time and consider doing a regular sweep of other spaces to see what people are saying
  • It’s probably worth me highlighting some key differences between facebook and twitterAlthough FB is significantly larger than twitter, twitter is often seen as a good channel for customer service – in fact even Randi Zuckerberg (FB’s marketing lead) suggests twitter is especially useful for customer service
  • Step 3:You’ll need to develop a set of social media guidelines for your employeesThese should encompass:Rules of engagement : how people should talk to customers; the tone of voice; Best practice guidelines : be friendly, timely – sensitive to the real-time nature of the mediumSensitive posting plan : be prepared – think about the things that people might talk about (you’ll know this already) – and have well prepared ‘stock’ answers. But always personalise them when posting24/7 moderation procedures : social media isn’t 9-5. Ideally, you’ll be there 24/7…but if you can’t, at least have someone moderating your spaces 24/7 to ensure issues are flagged up & dealt with quicklyEscalation procedures : prepare for the worst – ensure you have set rules and procedures around how to handle tricky customers / issues.
  • Step 4:Your customer service system may well already have social integration features. Or you may need to go out and choose some
  • There are many ways that you can connect to customers in social spaces – using either the native tools provided by the particular network. Or one of the many specialised tools that integrate many networks and provide conversation tracking, link tracking and so on.A holistic 360 view of your customer is important – since they will contact you using a number of channels. Even on the same issue, they may use social first, then call you….how are you going to be able to relate to their initial contact when they call?
  • Step 5:Your employees are your ambassadors. Your customers will be talking about your brand on social spaces.So don’t hide – harness your employee’s (the right ones!) passions for your brand and train them on how to engage with customers in your chosen spaces. Train your staff – explain why you are going into social spaces…and give them the practical explanation as to how.Encourage them to have valueable, authentic conversations (following your guidelines you’ve developed).Know to avoid the trolls … there are some people who’ll just want to goad you
  • Apart from Zappos & Dell who I mentioned earlier, Best Buy is a great example of this.They are one of the biggest retail tech chains in the US. They have a wealth of expertise within their retail network – all who are able to provide technical advice & help for customers who come into their stores.However, increasingly, people research their purchases online…and it’s a complicated, crowded experience with lots of jargon. HDMI. PVR. DVI. HDCP. So BB wanted to extend that expertise out into the wider online world – and have done so by creating the ‘Twelp Force’ – an army of volunteer employees who answer questions via twitter. They are there to help potential customers by demonstrating their expertise in providing technical customer service … not to push product.In the first year, they answered 32,000 questions. Their average response time is 15 minutes. Programme sentiment was 5/1 positive. And customer complaints have been reduced by 20%.
  • Social media & customer service

    1. 1. Social mediaWhat is it & how can it aid great customer service?9th November 2011
    2. 2.
    3. 3.
    4. 4. 1The world is changing
    5. 5. We’re all still human
    6. 6. The way we communicatehas changed forever
    7. 7. When did youlast send a letter?
    8. 8. Conversation is dying
    9. 9. 300 million SMS messages are sent each day
    10. 10. Newspaper readershipis declining
    11. 11. 15 billion
    12. 12. 800 million
    13. 13. 48 hours
    14. 14. 250 million
    15. 15. #xfactor
    16. 16. 2So what is social media?
    17. 17. Visits to brand websites are declining
    18. 18. So what are people doing?
    19. 19. Why are they doing it? DISCOVERY ALTRUISM SOCIAL Learning or self-development Helping others or involvement Connecting, reinforcing with the brand tribes or belonging Connecting like minded Other people Help others Belong community Learn & develop Input to companies Keep in touch Sharing experiences Impress others Outlet for imagination Opinion heard Escapism Reflects who I am Seen to be doing well First to discover EXPRESSION FAME ESCAPISM Creativity or identity Notoriety or competition Entertainment Source: Creston ICM Social Media study
    20. 20. 70%discover other peoples’ point of view Source: Creston ICM Social Media study
    21. 21. 60%enjoy feeling they can input into companies Source: Creston ICM Social Media study
    22. 22. 53%follow a brand within social spaces Source: Nielsen:
    23. 23. SociallyDigitally connected
    24. 24. First Direct are justbrilliant – their service is always great
    25. 25. Which would you buy?Garmin Nuvi 2460LT £159.99 Navigon 70 Plus £149.99Average customer reviews Average customer reviews
    26. 26. Which would you buy? Navigon 70 Plus £149.99 Average customer reviews
    27. 27. Who would you buy from?
    28. 28. We trust strangers
    29. 29. We are influenced by strangers
    30. 30. Harvard Business School NPS model
    31. 31. 40% of social media users are mobile Source: Nielsen:
    32. 32. $1,300 and a 10 year warranty
    33. 33. “Do you know what Twitter is? Because Ihave over a million followers on Twitter. If I say something about my terrible experience on Twitter do you think someone will help me?”“Yes, I know what Twitter is. And no, that will not matter”
    34. 34. 71% of complainers on twitter are ignored Source: Maritz Research:
    35. 35. 49% expected a reply Source: Maritz Research:
    36. 36. Source: Maritz Research:
    37. 37. 27% reported market share gains & higher profit margins Source: McKinsey & Company: ise_Web_20_finds_its_payday_2716
    38. 38. 3What does great look like?
    39. 39. Social lip service Social customer serviceThe company assigned The key difference is thattweeter seems to want to the assigned tweeter seessolve my problem. They my problem through toreply quickly to my tweet. resolution even if it takesHowever, they rarely do more than one day! Theymore than point me back to give me the information Ia customer service need and will take the timedepartment via an 0800 out to follow-up to ensurephone number that I may I‟m happy.well have already spent 2hours talking to.
    40. 40. John is a happy customer
    41. 41. John will probably tell his friends
    42. 42. It’s about people, stupid
    43. 43. Consistency of CS is key -
    44. 44. “A service company that happens to sell shoes” Tony Hseih, CEO
    45. 45. video
    46. 46. 4So how do I get started?
    47. 47. A quick watch outYou need to be great
    48. 48. Listen
    49. 49. Choose your spaces
    50. 50. Choose your spaces
    51. 51. 37 million UK users 15 million UK usersAverage 130 friends Average 27 followersNo longer have to „like‟ a Can @mention any brand inbrand to post on their wall postsRicher user experience – Simple user experiencecustom functionality withappsRelatively closed – more Mostly public – easy fordifficult for a brand to listen in brands to listen in
    52. 52. Develop guidelines Rules of engagement Best practice guidelines Sensitive posting plans 24/7 moderation procedures Escalation procedures
    53. 53. Select tools
    54. 54. Empower your employees to act They are your ambassadors Training – the „why?‟ and the „how?‟ Encourage customer conversations But know when to engage…and when not to!
    55. 55. video
    56. 56. 5In summary
    57. 57. Social media is here and here to stay
    58. 58. We are influenced by strangers within social spaces
    59. 59. Brands successfully engaging with theircustomers in social spaces see increased satisfaction & revenue gains
    60. 60. Listen, prepare & engage
    61. 61. Thank youMatt HardyDigital Director & Joint MD, The Real