Archive for category: Facebook

Can Customer Service Bots Ever Be Empathetic Enough?

21 Dec
December 21, 2016

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to be one of the keynotes at the iMedia Brand Summit where I talked about the social media journey my company has been on, and in particular the part customer service plays.

I touched on a few forward thinking points at the end, one of them being the possible role of bots. I got a lot of questions afterwards about how and where it can be applicable for different types of business. With the recent announcement of Twitter’s customer service tools, as well as Facebook’s earlier announcements of messenger bots, there has been a tremendous rush towards trying to apply them.

I think the opportunity for messenger bots is huge. I’m a firm believer in customer service at the core of any social media and content strategy. It must be easy for a customer to do business with you and find the answers they need quickly. Bots can fulfil this need – to a degree.

The real litmus test though (and let’s face it, the business case for investment) will come down to what your social interactions are like as a whole.

WHAT DO YOUR SOCIAL CUSTOMER SERVICE INTERACTIONS LOOK LIKE?

If you’re tagging your social interactions correctly (that is to say aligned to other business functions), then you should have a solid foundation of what your customer queries are about. From here, there are two things to consider when analysing them.

Firstly, what are they actually relating to? If you map them to your customer’s lifecycle, how many could you consider to be general questions (possibly pre-sales or account maintenance), vs the amount of customer service queries and more specifically, complaints? Bots will excel in providing responses to questions that are frequent and general. As the conversations become more personal, will they be the right thing to be putting between you and the customer?

Secondly, how personal is the customer service and complaints? I use the word personal as opposed to specific because there is a lot of variance between the two. A broken dishwasher is a very different level of personal to something like an insurance claim. When interactions get incredibly personal, they can be heavy on the emotion and detail, requiring a level of emotional intelligence and empathy that simply can’t be provided by a bot.

If I look at my previous area of financial services, social interactions were largely straightforward – it was all about stock prices and account management. I see tremendous opportunity in things like share trading, where a bot can fulfil (once your ID has been authenticated) a number of functions, like live quotes, and simple buy or sell orders. These functions are very specific in nature, and I think that the first online broker to crack this will have a distinct advantage.

THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A NEED FOR A HUMAN

So with that considered, would a bot help or hinder the discussion around a claims complaint or anything involving an impact to finances or lifestyle, for instance? Think about how frustrating it can be to work your way through the automated phone message to find someone to speak to.

Here in Australia, 46% of us are more likely to go online to complain rather than praise*, and I believe this to actually be much higher for regulated, service-based industries like financial services. Social is an escalation point, where brand and reputation management is on public display, so it’s important to get it right.

While messenger bots will excel at the beginning of the customer journey, if you interactions lean heavily on complaints and are very personal in nature, there is a point where this interaction needs to be handed over to a human.

*Lithium Technologies 

Facebook Style Content – Could It Choke LinkedIn?

24 Feb
February 24, 2016

Something unprofessional is happening with LinkedIn’s news feed.

While it’s always been terrible to navigate because it of the way it decides on Top Posts on a whim (try refreshing the page and watch it completely change), there is a trend that is on the rise which threatens the quality of the content and engagement.

I am talking about the increasing number of content pieces that are typically the domain of other networks, particularly Facebook style content.

Memes and pictures of lunch your friends share on their Instagram and Facebook? They’re now sitting right beside your 10 Habits of Highly Productive People.


Political posts that talk about how awesome Obama is doing, and that the republicans are wrong? Fitspo (apparently actually a word)? Questionably attributed celebrity quotes? All present and accounted for.
I spent ten minutes browsing my news feed each day over the last week and found at least 3 examples each day. All of these have the potential to choke LinkedIn’s already confusing and busy news feed and suck the life out of it.

I spent ten minutes browsing my news feed each day over the last week and found at least 3 examples each day. All of these have the potential to choke LinkedIn’s already confusing and busy news feed and suck the life out of it.

Where Is It Stemming From?

The main offenders are not always amongst your own LinkedIn connections. Given the way LinkedIn treats engagement with posts and presents them in your feed, whenever you begin liking or commenting on the content, it brings the full post to the attention of your network.

In a self-perpetuating cycle, even as we comment to tell people “this doesn’t belong here”, it increasingly appears “here”. It may be a third or even fourth-degree connection, but eventually, it makes it there.

So what’s wrong with it exactly?

It’s About The Nature of the Connection

LinkedIn connections are generally single faceted. Unlike Facebook, where occasional acquaintances to nearest and dearest fall under the very broad definition of “friend”, LinkedIn is by its definition a network of professionals.

Your connection is around what you do for a living – I have either done business with you, I’m interested in your expertise in your field, or I want to sell you an SEO solution (you know who you are…).

When you begin to introduce Facebook style content into the equation, your begin to make the relationship personal, which some business connections may not appreciate it. You can see it in the comments.

Define Your Social Tone Of Voice

If you are adding this type of content to LinkedIn, it’s important to consider before posting. Personal brand is of the utmost importance now, and the way in which you express these opinions online may lead to current and future business partners to take pause and reconsider your relationship.

Decide what you want to be known for online. Create your social tone of voice. I have a simple framework for deciding what and where to share:

How to decide what content to share on what social platform

LinkedIn makes it hard enough to find great content without having to wade through low-quality stuff. Use it to position yourself as a leader in your field, even if you’re not yet. Keep the memes on Facebook, wit on Twitter and lunch on Instagram.

How to Switch from Recent to Top Posts on LinkedInIncidentally, if you’re looking how to re-order from Top Posts to Recent posts, it these 3 little dots wedged in between your Publish a Post button and the first update in your feed. Obvious, right?

 

Why Facebook's Reactions Will Be A Game Changer

09 Oct
October 9, 2015

Facebook has today begun testing Reactions, their emoji based variants on the Like button.

The Like button itself was a game changer when it was introduced, and along with the news feed, formed the foundation of how we now discover and interact with content from friends and publishers.

Why Reactions Matter

The dislike button has been a long requested feature, with most believing it to be the opposite side of the coin to Like.

The reality of it is that human reactions are complex and varied. We “like” stories involving tragedy, conflict because that’s our only option from a platform perspective. We have even deeper reactions to updates and news involving our connections — those closest to us.

The like button has always been too simplistic of a reaction to really be valid. We express the deeper reactions through comments.

Facebook Reactions

The 6 new Facebook Reactions – and the little old Like button

What Facebook is doing though will bring nuance to interaction on the platform, by not only giving options to to express sadness and anger, but also happiness and love. The six reactions being tested are by no means exhaustive but then they don’t need to be because as the kind of common things we feel when we read a story, they will fundamentally change the way we interact and share content.

We will move from “Ben likes….” to “Ben is angered by…” or “Ben loves…”. The conversation moves from “why did Ben like this” to “what angers Ben about this…”. It creates more conversation, and an opportunity to explore.

What It Means For Facebook, Publishers and Business

From a Facebook perspective, the outcome is greater interaction and more data to be mined for targeting. This can be a good thing, with actual sentiment and emotion attached, the level of personalisation increases.

For publishers, this will be huge. While it has the potential to reduce commenting, with the nuance of opinion and reaction becoming a one step process, it will also allow for a greater view of the public pulse on issues affecting them.

I see the biggest upside however to businesses, for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most important being in customer service and crisis communications. Through being able to see a range of reactions at a glance, customer sentiment and pain points can be more readily recognised and addressed.

From a brand engagement perspective, it might finally get us away from cheap engagement pieces of “like this picture because you like stuff”. New products can be easily fed back on from users. Smart businesses will be able to take advantage of these new kind of data points to shape interactions.

It’s obviously early days, and what is going to tie all of this together is of course analytics and the ability to measure these reactions in a way that makes sense, but I am excited about the potential of this.

Social Media Scams – How to Spot One

05 Mar
March 5, 2015

Today I noticed one of the old mainstays of social media scams appear in my Facebook feed again. I’m talking about the free voucher from a major brand (in this case Bunnings) that one of your friends has tagged you in when they have apparently “shared” it. For those unfamiliar, it looks something like the image on the right.

Social media scam dressed up as a Bunnings offerAside from me already knowing these are fake, there are a handful of tell tale signs here:

  • The poorly sized image – a brand like Bunnings would have their logo correctly sized on Facebook
  • The unnecessary capitalisation of the word “Now”
  • The source of the post – coming via Spotify
  • In all cases of seeing it today, the things that were consistent – the “Thanks”, and the follow up comment from the poster of “Quickly”.

If you want to get into the technicalities of how these scams work, I recommend reading this post from security expert Troy Hunt from a couple of years ago. The upshot of it is that it’s designed to suck you down further into the rabbit hole of free offers from other sites, capture personal data, and potentially worse.

It’s not the only type of scam that we see on Facebook though.

The offer of a free car from Mercedes for liking a page and sharing a photo with the colour you want? The over ordered iPads at a major department store that you can get for nothing by liking and sharing? Flights and accommodation to celebrate the millionth passenger that you have a chance if you share pictures of the boarding pass?

All scams.

If you’re looking for telltale signs, look at the number of fans the page has, an extraneous period at the end of the brand name, and grammatical errors. Then search for the brand itself, most will be verified with the blue tick.

Two examples of the latest Qantas scam

Two examples of the latest Qantas scam

Why do social media scams work?

People will share the and connect with them because they appear to be from reputable brands. Then they are in your feed, and have the opportunity to share other content that may be more malicious once you click on it.

So why is it that people continue to fall for it?

Simply, they rely on one of the top reasons people connect with brands on social channels at all – free stuff.

Promotions have long been one of the top reasons someone will engage with a brand, particularly on Facebook. 15% of people in a recent survey done by HubSpot claim they follow brands who offer something for free.

It only takes one “user zero” to make the mistake of clicking on it for it to spread into many of their friend’s feeds, in the case of the Bunnings example above, 78 people. Then it takes only one of those 78 to click on it, and you get the picture of how these spread so fast. Often times, people don’t know what they’ve done. The last comment below the one above was “I dont know what i clicked on. it’s just an advertisement….”.

Personally, I think it’s an unsolvable problem, short of some major action from Facebook that will limit how they work technically.

People will always want something for nothing, it’s human nature and to a large degree, social platforms have fuelled that further. The best we can hope for is that people are more vigilant about the things they click on and share, and continue to stick to the old maxim, that if something looks too good to be true, it likely is.

PHOTO – John Perivolaris via Flickr

How To Automatically Save Every Link You Share In One Place

04 Sep
September 4, 2014

Did you know that 1 million links are shared every 20 minutes on Facebook?

Add to that the millions of links shared across Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other networks, and that is an overwhelming amount of information that people are pushing.

I share a lot of content each day, and one of the challenges I have found in the past is being able to easily recall where and when I shared information if I want to refer back to it.

Last week I shared an IFTTT recipe I use to capture ideas for blog posts, and this week I wanted to share a few more that I use to bring together all of the links I share into one easy to use repository. It’s not complex, and it creates a searchable index of all links you share across all the platforms you use.

My main networks are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, where I will reshare information I find in while browsing each platform. But I also use tools like Buffer to share links out.

You will need to be using Pocket to make it work (one of my favourite apps for managing throughput). It’s based on link posts shared to each network.

So what does the recipe look like?  Make sure you enable each platform in the IFTTT app, and make the trigger in each:

  • Facebook: New link post by you
  • LinkedIn: New shared link By you
  • Twitter: New link by you

In each case, the Action is the same:

  • Pocket: Save for later

The recipes should then look like this: facebooklinkrecipe twitterlinkrecipe

The Buffer recipe works in the same way, but is a little bit different. Because I always share to Twitter and the same link selectively to LinkedIn via Buffer, I have only set it up to capture a share to Twitter from here.

buffer

And that’s pretty much it. Now when you check back into your Pocket app, you will find the links you have shared socially, tagged with each platform they have been shared from.

PHOTO – C/N N/G via Flickr