Archive for month: August, 2012

Customer Service is More Than Saying You're Sorry

27 Aug
August 27, 2012

Carrying on from my post last week about Facebook fanning social media fires, this week I had a friend make a public complaint to an airline on their Facebook page.

Due to an issue with the display of their website on her computer, there was an error to her booking, which she rang up to rectify as soon as she made it. It seems their solution was to pay more than the original flight as a fee to correct the issue.

Now, there are two major customer experience issues here.

The first is the website. If you’re in the business of taking people’s money in return for services, your website needs to be absolutely clear and readable on any browser and screen resolution (well, except IE6 – no one should ever use that. Ever.). Why? Because if it’s not, it leads to what happens next – customer errors that mean they have to contact you further to fix them. If you expect your customers to abide by your “rules” and use the platform you have given them to interact with you – make sure it is usable.

Secondly, and even more surprising (or not..) was the response from Jetstar to the Facebook complaint:

 

Now Jetstar and most low budget carriers are notorious for their fees, charges and low tolerance policy – at the actual gate. 5 minutes later than you should be – forget it.

But here they have a mistake that has happened and within a minute, attempting to be rectified. What it demonstrates to me is a lack of empowerment of, or even investigation by of whoever it is managing their social media.

Fees and rules are at a businesses discretion – they have created them, they can break them. To penalise a potential customer for an experience issue with the website should be an exception to “fare rules”. Consistent application is fine if you have people realising their mistake days or weeks after they make their booking. But immediately?

Even if the person(s) monitoring and responding to Facebook issues is not empowered, the initial response shouldn’t be “we know it’s harsh, but suck it up”, which let’s face it, is what this amounts to.

It should be an apology, and an offer to investigate rectifying the problem. The fact that the response came 15 minutes after the original post means that nothing was done to even investigate the possibility of an issue (15 minutes is a reasonable SLA for simply responding)

Sorry doesn’t cut it. Customers – new, old and potential – expect much more from businesses now.

PHOTO – dolescum via Flickr

How Small Tweets Can Mean Big Love For Your Brand

18 Aug
August 18, 2012

I woke up the other morning with the strangest craving for a hot chocolate. I don’t usually drink them, but for some reason just needed one.

Sadly, the necessary ingredients weren’t in the cupboard. So I had to settle for a coffee.

As someone who pretty much runs on coffee, I tend to drink Nespresso when I’m at home (have you ever tried to grind beans and froth milk while holding a child? And no, this isn’t a paid post of any kind).

So just for fun, I tweeted Nespresso.

Now I’m a realist when it comes to brand responses on Twitter. As a social media manager, I know and encourage the importance of them, but understand that it’s rare to get a response unless its a customer service issue. There was a research piece produced by Amex earlier in the year that said that while 25% of people who tweeted a brand expected a response, only 9% actually got one. Safe to say, I was in the 75% with this tweet.

So I was surprised when my phone beeped later that day – they had tweeted me back.

Now, in reality, the tweet doesn’t mean much – they’ve passed it on, have a great day. Considering a hot chocolate pod would probably be outside the realms of the way their machines operate (they’re built to push hot water through coffee), the idea’s probably going to stop there.

What it does do for me though as a consumer is make me feel a bit warm an fuzzy about the brand. I now know they are is listening, and are taking the time to talk back to the people who buy their product. For most consumers too, it’s this little glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, the thing they’ve asked for or are seeking will happen.

It’s these really small interactions that can mean big things for you as a brand. When was the last time you made one of your customers feel special, just because you could? Have they offered you a suggestion on something they would like to see? If so, did you thank them for it, or did you just file it?

Think about how you can surprise and delight your customers today, for no other reason than making them feel like they are heard.

And in future if you’re reading this while drinking your Nespresso hot chocolate – you’re welcome.

PHOTO – yon garrin via Flickr

Is Facebook Fanning Social Media Fires?

14 Aug
August 14, 2012

Target’s social media slamming today (rightly or wrongly) is just the latest in a number of social media fires that has gone viral.

While I know that there are many people who agree with the points of view expressed by people on brand Facebook pages, I know that my feed lately has been populated by my friends liking statuses posted on walls as diverse as 2UE, KFC,  Jetstar and now Target.

Up until about a month ago, I never saw this kind of activity floating through my feed, but now it seems like there is one every day. Which leads me to my question – is Facebook fanning social media fires and making it more challenging for brands?

The algorithm that Facebook uses (Edgerank) to determine what it is that you see in your feed relies on a few different things – recency, affinity and weight.

Recency and weight make sense in the context of these updates, as they amass a lot of likes and comments in a very short period of time.

Affinity?

However, when I consider affinity, it’s a different story.

What I tend to see a lot of is status likes from people who I don’t interact with a lot or at all on Facebook (sorry friends), so factoring affinity just doesn’t seem to work.

So I ask again – what has Facebook changed to surface these kind of posts in my feed and make me take notice?

Is there an end game? Are they looking to shore up promoted post revenue by making brands surface their responses and positive content to the masses?

Is it a deliberate move, unhappy coincidence or something else?

What do you think?