Customer Service Has Changed
There was a time when customers wrote a letter to customer service- ok that was a really long time ago. But not long ago, the phone was what a majority of people used to contact customer service. And then along comes social media. As the author’s of the Cluetrain Manifesto said, “Markets are conversations” and many of the new marketplace conversations are happening in social networks.
Markets are Conversations
One of the reasons that more and more marketplace conversations are happening in social and digital networks is that it’s the first time customers have been able to talk to each other directly in ways that surpass the bulletin boards of yester year. Another reason is that when customers tried to get service by dialing the customer service 1-800 number, they were often met with long wait times, agents that didn’t have all their information in front of them (the company didn’t have the type of computer telephony were all you info was pulled up from the phone number and delivered to the agent) or when the customer finally got a customer service agent on the phone, the service experience was rushed (over 4 minute mark many contact center agents would get dinged for a long average handle time) and some of the agents just weren’t prepared to help, had an attitude, didn’t fix the issue so the customer had to call back in and retell their story all over again… The bottom line: customers have been tired of poor service.
Customer Service is the New Marketing
It’s never made sense to me to provide bad service. Customer Service is the new Marketing. How someone is treated in a customer service situation stays with them. That customer might be loyal for a while, at least until there’s a better deal from another company. It’s part of why there is so much customer churn. One of the biggest issues is NOT that Customer Service Professionals are not aware of the issues in their contact centers. They know what they would like to do. They just suffer from the Rodney Dangerfield Affect: They just don’t get enough respect. What I mean by that is they are often not allocated enough budget to make the customer service experience what it should and could be. Customer Service should be a CEO level decision. In companies where it is, the service is great. In companies where it is not respected as a mission critical part of the business, the service is just “so so” to really bad.
A Change in Corporate Culture Needs to Happen NOW
What is important about social and digital media is not necessarily the channel. It’s really about a philosophical corporate culture issue. Because customers couldn’t get the service they wanted in a phone call or email, they realized that social networks were the perfect place to get a company’s attention. Why does it work so well? In comparison to a call or an email or chat, social networks are a public medium. It’s a medium where everyone can see what’s happening. And one of the biggest issues – whether its Twitter, Facebook, an online community – is that the conversations between customers and between customers and companies are public. And not only are they public, they are often permanent digital footprints that last a long time (think cave painting that last millions of years.)
If You Think Social Media Isn’t Affecting Your Company, Stop Doing the Ostrich
Some people would argue that there’s not that many people on social networks. In fact, there are There are 7.2 billion people on earth and more than 2 billion of them are active on social media. And take into consideration the 1-9-90 rule, most customers are lurking or reading what other customers are writing about companies. (The 1% refers to customers who post, 9% refer to those who respond to those who post and 90% refers to those that read what the 10% posted. Of course that ratio changes depending on the industry, but it’s roughly 80-90% of the customers who just read what other customers think. So should companies be worried about what is said about them in social and digital media. I think so. I think there will be some companies, because of the bad word of mouth and their lack of attention to it or changing the issues with their products and services will just go out of business and never know what hit them.
Operationalizing Social Customer Care on Twitter
One way to operationalize a brand’s ability to track and interact with Customer Service and Twitter is to consider Twitter’s new data and functionality to create improved and transformative customer service solutions for brands. Oracle Social Cloud was part of the announcement and is extending this enriched Twitter data to our customers. Oracle Social Cloud will be rolling out this new social service solution in a managed release to select customers. The product will be available to additional customers in the fall.
Exceptional Social Responsiveness is A Necessity of Great Customer Service
According to Nielsen, more than 1 in 3 consumers prefer social customer service to phone. A recent McKinsey study stated that companies that improve their customer service can see a 30-50% improvement in key measurements including “likelihood to recommend” and “make repeat purchases.” Social service is more than just resolving issues.
Meg Bear, Group Vice President, Oracle Social Cloud, said, “In today’s digital landscape, modern customer care is social and mobile, and increasingly the platform of choice for consumers is Twitter. Working with Twitter data allows customers to better integrate enriched social data more deeply within their customer service process to capture, learn, and act on insights to match consumer expectations.”
An Example of a Company That is Taking Social Customer Care to Heart
Rebecca Harris, Global Head of Social Center of Expertise at General Motors, commented that, “General Motors continues to strive for excellence with our customer care capabilities, providing new ways to understand and engage with our customers like never before—and it’s a winning strategy for both our customers and our business. The importance of social service is echoed by our customers, too. We interact daily with our customers on Twitter, allowing for a quicker, more personal engagement, enabling General Motors to put its customers at the center of everything we do.” I grew up in Detroit and worked for GM many, many years ago. It’s an interesting industry that is critical to the stability of the American economy and great to see they understand the fundamental importance of not only customer service, but also social customer care.
Wondering How The Oracle Twitter Solution Can Help Your Company?
The new social customer care solution is an upgradeable option for Oracle customers that want to provide the most advanced and innovative solutions to meet the rising expectations of mobile and social consumers. The solution captures Twitter impressions and aggregated engagement metrics, coupled with their advanced listening algorithm, and delivers a next-generation solution that allows customers to better identify influencers, understand social impact, and prioritize service issues.
How It Will Work – Real-World Superior Social Service:
Let’s say you are an airline organization or a hotel chain monitoring millions of Tweets across the globe. You could leverage Oracle Social’s advanced listening, filtering and categorizing capabilities to quickly identify “customer service” topics from other conversations. Your agents could respond and resolve customer service and customer care issues with speed. That’s good – but it can be done better. How do agents easily identify who to respond to given the potential volume of service complaints? How does one Tweet stand out from the next in a blurry sea of Tweets? Those are all good questions and need answers.
For starters, with the new Twitter-enriched data, the airline or hotel chain now has more insights and rich context into each message through an algorithm that weighs impressions and engagement metrics and then color-codes each based on highest impact and priority. This proactive solution allows agents to visually identify messages as they trend based on views, clicks and aggregate engagement metrics. Counting favorites and retweets as the only indicators misses the mark on critical service scenarios that are quickly going viral.
Of course, every customer issue is important, but now airline or hotel agents can prioritize and resolve the frustrated customer whose Tweet about lost luggage or lack of air conditioning in the room was actually seen by 5.5 million people (…and counting re the 1-9-90 rule).
The new customer care solution will be surfaced in Oracle SRM’s new column-based Engage UI. The new column-based Engage UI will be available to all customers whether or not they upgrade to the advanced Twitter customer care solution.
What’s your take on Social Customer Care? Here’s some quick tips to consider:
- Do you have the ability to operationalize listening and responding in social and digital networks?
- Do you have the staff that understands not only the strategy but also how to operationalize social customer care real-time?
- Do you have executive management buy-in, a business case and a strategic and tactical plan that shows how your approach to social customer care is going to reduce costs, but also increase revenue?
VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Customer-facing Applications to Create Amazing Customer Experiences