Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Brands that pass the Ronseal test - have nothing to fear from social media

In response to the latest UK customer satisfaction index figures customer facing businesses are being urged to give greater attention to social media or risk a widespread proliferation of damage to their brand.

The following quote from KPMG, sums up the state of the nation “ while British customers have often tolerated poor service in the past, the rapid growth of social media platforms have given rise to a consumer more prepared to voice their discontent with goods or services!”

According to Rohit Kapoor, Capgemini BPO Senior Director and Principal, a recent study revealed 86% of respondents indicated they preferred responses via social media platform. As customer service providers it seems logical you would listen to your customers……

 BUT Too many companies prefer to avoid social media, trying to avoid criticism in a public domain.

So organisations need to raise their game to avoid a public flogging by Twitter, by doing the following:

1)   Hire for attitude. Hire people with service in their soul. The technical stuff can be fixed but a sullen and morose employee who doesn’t want to deal with customers and portrays that lack of engagement is a lot harder to turn around.
2)   By empowering their front line staff to solve customer issues during those moments of truth
3)   By ensuring that the systems and processes of the organisation do not get in the way of point 2 above
4)   By dismantling the functional silos that create a poor and fragmented customer experience
5)   Making themselves easy to deal with and contact
6)   By training the whole organisation on customer service
7)   By ensuring that there is an internal customer service culture
8)   By delivering on their promise to their employees so that they deliver on the organisational brand promise
9)   Having leaders who role model customer centric behaviours

 Do all of the above and your organisation will have nothing to fear from social media.

 BTW – when you embrace social media it’s still really important that you listen to what your customers are saying. But that’s a large enough subject for a standalone blog postin

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Calling all brands - If you're on Twitter you need to be on Twitter

Today I tweeted the shocking statistic that 70% of complaints on Twitter are ignored by brands.

This reminded me of a recent story I’d seen in Forbes Magazine. It was about a bad experience some customers were having with a high end department store. (I’ll put a link at the bottom of this posting).  The experience was picked up on in Twitter land and even though the Twitter handle of the Department Store was used several times, so the brand could hear and act on what was being said, not once did they jump in and try and recover the situation.

You might not like what is being said about your brand or your service but you can’t just ignore it. To do nothing is commercial suicide. It beggars belief.

So if you’re on Twitter you need to be on Twitter because the social customer expects instant replies and it isn’t prepared to wait 20 minutes on the phone to speak to a human being ! Brands need to wake up and smell the coffee.

In the UK, the train company First Great Western @FGW is on Twitter. But come 4PM in the afternoon “ I’m signing off for the day, back tomorrow Jo”. Incredible, as the evening commuter trains start to run or not as the case maybe, the person manning the Twitter Feed turns in for the day. Along with the morning rush, this is probably the most critical time for commuters as they try to make their way home after a day’s toil. Brands like #FGW need to re-think this from a customer perspective. Customers trying to get home in the evening would probably like to interact with their transport provider, to be informed of delays etc – yet they can’t because Jo has gone home for the night.

  Signing off for today. See you in the morning - Jo

Customer service is a 24/7 thing and brands like #FGW need to learn that and quickly.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Virgin on the ridiculous - how not to deal with a customer complaint !

The eminent UK Customer Service guru, Chris Daffy – talks a lot about wows and ouch in respect of the way that organisations treat their customers. A wow being something fantastic whereas as an ouch is the opposite.

When any organisation has ouched one of its customers, to the extent that they decide to complain, this presents a massive opportunity. Daffy talks in terms of ouch, wow and recovery !

Research shows that if an organisation successfully resolves the customer complaint then that previously disgruntled customer will become incredibly loyal to that organisation. In fact they will go even further, in some cases, telling their friends and becoming a real advocate for the brand.

So a massive PR opportunity exists. Imagine my dismay and disappointment when I received a standard, cut and paste, letter informing me that my complaint had been received and that Virgin Media aim to be in touch in the next two weeks.

So rather than ouch, wow and recovery I’m even more annoyed with Virgin Media. In fact more annoyed than I was feeling when I wrote my letter of complaint. It’s more like a quadruple ouch !

In this day and age of customer choice this just isn’t good enough. My message to Virgin Media : either employ more staff to be able to resolve complaints in a way that befits customer expectations or ideally improve your service in the first place, so customers don’t need to resort to complaining.

Simples !