Posts tagged ‘customer relations’

January 15, 2015

Think twice about using the #MLKday hashtag to promote your brand – remember last year?

MLKday

The day this blog post was published, January 15, 2015, would have been Martin Luther King Jr.’s 86th birthday. Each year, Americans observe a national holiday on the third Monday of January to recognize Dr. King and the American Civil Rights Movement.

Marketers, PR folks, and advertisers are always looking for ways to get their message in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Often, this means trying to piggyback on an existing major event, celebration, or holiday. A great example of this was Oreo’s famous “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet sent during the power outage at Super Bowl 47. It was clever, timely, and a bit funny as it made light of an awkward situation. The Super Bowl blackout had nothing to do with cookies, but after this tweet, it did.

MarCom professionals can run into challenges when they apply this strategy to events with a very serious nature: Remembrance Day (Common Wealth Nations), Veterans Day (US), Martin Luther King Jr. Day, etc. Brands run the risk of looking too opportunistic as they try to cash in on the importance and sacrifice of others.

Last January, several public figures and brands made questionable (to put it nicely) social media posts trying to cash-in on the popularity of the #MLKday hashtag used to recognize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Reviewing a few of these missteps from last year has led me to three key thoughts on the subject.

The tone of your message should match the spirit of the observance

As a brand, you should seek to create and share content that serves to match and even enhance, the serious nature of the holiday. A few examples from last year that missed the mark:

1. Book a party bus for MLK Day?

2. The infamous “Freedom to Twerk” event that was planned for the good folks in Flint, Michigan drew attention to itself after the promoters Photoshopped Dr. King’s head onto a body of a Man wearing a gold watch, chain, and medallion while making what appears to be a “west side” hand gesture. After this poster gained notoriety, the party was eventually cancelled. Several people weighed in on the issue, including MLK’s daughter, Dr. Bernice King, who was appalled by the poster.

FreedomtoTwerk

3. Sarah Palin’s tasteless political grandstanding starts with quoting Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech, and concludes with her telling President Obama “no more playing the race card.” Yikes.

You may not be as funny as you think

Humour is tough. Attempts at humour during otherwise serious situations may be interpreted as your brand’s attempt to make fun of, or devalue the purpose of, the event.

1. This misguided tweet from Nyquil reads like a joke that didn’t quite hit the mark.

2 & 3. Two other notable attempts at humour came from the Chive, and a pornographic website. In both instances they used humour in a way that some would consider distasteful, but considering that the source of these jokes were the Chive and a pornographic website, they pretty much lived up to expectations. Instead of posting these attempts at humour on davidhallsocialmedia.com, I’ll let you google those two tweets yourself.

Don’t make a big stretch to connect your brand with the event

This is obvious self-promotion. It looks insensitive, self-interested, and opportunistic. If you are going to run an MLK Day promotion, make sure it makes sense within the context of the observance. Be aware of the nuanced difference between an event designed to celebrate as opposed to one dedicated to recognize something. What the heck do potato stamps, cereal,  apples, diapers, or a day at the salon getting pampered have to do with the civil rights movement?

PamperesMLKday

This Pampers Facebook promotion is particularly cringe-worthy because (as a current diaper customer) I can tell you that 10 rewards points is what you get for buying about $5 worth of baby bum wipes. They almost couldn’t have offered less.

For any organization thinking about joining the #MLKday trending topic this weekend, I encourage you to focus on respect, not referrals; honour, not sales; legacy, not leads; person to person, not business to business; and to make sure your content reflects the nature and tone of the observance. Without question, Dr. King serves as a hero to millions of people around the globe, and is absolutely a hero of mine.

December 22, 2014

Amazon reviews are almost as trusted as peer recommendations [Infographic]

A recent survey suggests that 50% of customers are actively using their smartphones to compare prices while in store.

A recent survey says 50% of customers are using their smartphones to compare competitor prices while in-store.

CRM software providers crowdtap published an infographic (below) this month to share some emerging trends in the ability of social media to influence consumer behaviour. After surveying over 3,000 US customers in 2013, and again in 2014, they found that social media is increasing its value to businesses who want to influence buying decisions throughout the holiday season.

A few things caught my eye:

1. Amazon reviews are almost as trusted as peer recommendations. I was a little surprised to see the difference between trusting a peer and trusting an online review was only 5 percentage points. I suppose this speaks to the importance of hearing directly from an existing product owner, rather than just trusting somebody in your network who you happen to already know who may not actually own the product.

2. Facebook dominates. If your business is only going to participate in one social media activity, you better make it Facebook. The survey results suggest that people are turning to Facebook, more than any other social network, to research gifts, look for promotions, and share their purchases. The only category where Facebook finished second was “gift inspiration” – losing the top spot by only one percentage point to Pinterest. Twitter seems to be rounding out the bottom of each of these categories. Perhaps this could be due to the transient nature of the messages, and also because Twitter relationships are often centered around topics of interest rather than trusted personal connections.

3. People are shopping at your competitors, right from within your store.  The survey results suggest that 50% of the people physically walking into your store will whip out their device and check a competitor’s price to see where you compare. I do this. I do this all the time. I expect this trend to continue to grow year-over-year.

4. Social media supplants TV as the most popular source for “inspiration”. For the first time, we’re relying on social media to provide us with gifting ideas more than any other medium; overtaking traditional television’s historical dominance in this area. This could be a symptom of the declining TV viewership numbers across every age demographic – with the largest decline in television consumption belonging to the 18-24 segment.

How does social media impact your holiday shopping behaviour? Check out the following infographic, and let me know what you think.

HolidayShoppingSocialMediaInfographicSmall

December 12, 2013

Infographic: Consumers are 64% more likely to purchase a product after watching an online video

YouTubeFormulaWe all know that content is king on the Internet; and when it comes to types of content, it looks like video is at the top of the food chain. Video is everywhere online, from feature-length films, to sales pitches, to amateur videos of people at the zoo. Year over year, YouTube comes out with statistics showing staggering growth in videos uploaded and viewed.

The good folks at MultiVisionDigital published the infographic below to put into perspective how the omnipresent video is affecting consumer decision-making and behaviour. If you are trying to sell products or services, you may want to add video to your online strategy (if it isn’t there already) as consumers are 64% more likely to purchase a product after watching an online video.

The most unexpected finding was that video has a lifespan of 4 years. That’s an eternity. Considering that the average lifespan of a Facebook post is 3 hours and 7 minutes, a four-year shelf-life for a video is astounding. To put it in perspective, exactly 4 years ago, on the date this post was published, Taylor Lautner was hosting Saturday Night Live making jokes about Kanye’s stage crash of Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs…but you know what, I still like that Kanye video so the 4 year lifespan checks out.

The infographic also shows that video is not just used for traditional B2C decision-making, but executives are using videos to inform their B2B purchasing choices.

  • The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video
  • 60% of consumers will spend at least 2 minutes watching a video that educates them about a product they plan on purchasing.
  • 96% of IT decision makers and tech buyers watch videos for business
  • 75% of executives watch work-related videos on business websites once a week

VideoSalesFigures

What do you think? Do online videos impact your decision-making? When was the last time you made a medium-sized or large purchase without checking out YouTube to see the product in action? Leave a comment and let me know.

November 11, 2013

You are what you tweet: Researchers predict users’ gender with 92% accuracy

How often do you think about what you are telling the world about yourself when you post an update to your social media profiles? Well, it turns out that you are being studied, whether you know it or not. Earlier this fall, PLOSone published a study that aimed to link the vocabulary netizens use with their age, gender, and select personality traits. The unique twist on this study was the methodology. Instead of using known word correlations to base their analysis on, they adopted an open vocabulary approach in an attempt to “find connections that are not captured with traditional closed-vocabulary word-category analyses”.

The use of the open vocabulary approach yielded some interesting results:

1. Men are much more likely to use profanity and talk about gaming while women seem to be much more positive and upbeat. *The size of the word in the word clouds below indicates the strength of the correlation; color indicates relative frequency of usage. Underscores (_) connect words of multi-word phrases.

MenvsWomen

 

2. Your age can be determined based on whether you talk about school, work or family.

Age

 

3. Extroverts like to party, introverts like the internet, neurotics use angry and depressed language, and the emotional stable like….basketball?

PersonalityTraits

 

4. Finally, the people in your social media networks who’s updates are negative, profanity-filled, and often tiresome, may rank low on the agreeableness, openness, and conscientiousness scale.

Agreeable

Beyond simply being “interesting”, these correlations will further help communicators and marketers get their message in front of the right audience – You need to know where your audience “lives” before you can influence them. Be sure to check out the full study “Personality, Gender, and Age in the Language of Social Media: The Open-Vocabulary Approach” for the complete methodology and findings.

September 18, 2013

Social media customer service from Rogers Communications still needs improvement, but it’s moving in the right directon

I write about it all the time – Using social media to provide customer service. I write about the good experiences I’ve had, and I write about the bad ones. It seems like one company always winds up falling short on this task – Rogers Communications. Yes, I know I’m not the only person in Canada who has had a run-in with this telecommunications Goliath, but I’m always optimistic they can turn things around so I keep trying.

My latest request for customer service from Rogers was to increase my bandwidth. The entire Twitter interaction with the Rogers CSR I was dealing with, know as “^eb” was great. He answered my questions, looked into issues when I needed more information, offered me a “fair” deal based on how I wanted to increase my service, and was generally pleasant. Once we agreed to the new terms of my internet service, I was getting ready to write a glowing davidhallsocialmedia.com blog post about how Rogers had finally improved their online customer service. There was just one more hurdle to clear – making sure what they promised me was actually reflected on my bill.

This is where things went sour. I was expecting to see the charges for the new service as promised at a price of $41.60+tx. This was to cover increased upload and download speed, 300GB of bandwidth, and a the cost of a modem rental (tweets below). Instead, I was surprised to see that my bill was almost twice that price at $82.58+tx.

Here’s how it went down:

RogersOffer2

RogersPrice

I thought “Great! Sounds like a deal. I get increased bandwidth, upload and download speeds, AND a modem rental for $41.60+tx per month. Excellent job Rogers”. So, after discussing the change with my wife over the weekend,  I accepted the deal and asked if I could get my new modem that night.

AgreeToDeal

SurveyRequest

At this point, I was happy to fill out the survey with a great review for their customer service, but since I have had issues in the past, I thought it would be prudent to make sure my bill looked OK before I gave them an A+.

WaitingForBill

…and the CSR totally understood that:

UnderstandingofSurvey

Then the bill came. It certainly wasn’t $41.60+tx for my internet service as promised:

RogersBill2013

Even without any of the partial charges, which are only a one-time thing, the price for the new service listed under “Regular charges”) comes out to $66.39+tx NOT the $41.60+tx as promised. That’s an overcharge of almost $25 per month (or about $300 per year).

I tweeted Rogers to ask them to remedy the issue. After a few hours of waiting, they said that I was misquoted and it should be $45+tx each month. Fine, but why was I charged $20 more than that on my first bill? According to the a new CSR there was a “system error” which caused the overcharge and I would be credited the difference on my next bill. So it looks like I have to wait another month to see if I actually get the deal I was promised and be able to accurately fill out their customer feedback survey.

I’ll keep you posted.

August 8, 2013

A great start to social media customer service by Ryobi Power Tools

ryobiIf you’ve ever walked into Home Depot, you’ve probably seen the name Ryobi more than a few times. It’s their in-house line of power tools and accessories. Over the years, I’ve found myself buying a few of their products including drills, saws, sanders, even weed whackers. This summer, one of my garage projects was to refinish two dressers. Of course the first step in the process is to remove the existing finish. Enter the Ryobi Orbital Sander (P410). Things were going along well, until the sander decided to stop cold. I tried to get it going again without any luck. Turns out, the place where the battery connects to the unit had broken, and I needed a new switch assembly. I thought “no problem, I’ll just order a new one from their website and finish the project next weekend.” The part itself was about $11, but the shipping to Canada was $35, leaving me with a bill of nearly $50 to repair a $40 sander.

I quickly sent an email off to the company to see if there was anything we could do to lower the shipping costs (I eventually received a very unhelpful response from the email team). At the same time, I called Official Ryobi Service Centres from Ottawa to Toronto to see if they had the part in stock. I was told several times that the part was on back order and it would be at least a two-week wait.

Seemingly stuck in my situation, I thought I’d reach out to their social media team to see if they could help me. After a few friendly twitter and email exchanges with Brian at Ryobi, it took less than a half-an-hour from my initial tweet to resolving the issue (a replacement sander is on the way courtesy of Ryobi). Here’s how it looked on Twitter:

Through my conversation with Brian, I learned that using Twitter for customer service is rather new for Ryobi (their account was created just about a month ago), but they are definitely doing it the right way. Three key elements of social media customer service  that I think Ryobi did particularly well are:

1. Fast response to the initial issue (they had replied to my first tweet in under 10 minutes). A company doesn’t have to fix all of the problems within the first 10 minutes, but a the quick acknowledgement of the issue goes a long way.

2. Friendly service. It pays to be pleasant. I’ve encountered CSRs at other companies who either blame the customer for the issue, or simply refer the customer to a website to learn more about their “policies”. Ryobi was fast, to the point, helpful, and polite.

3. Actually resolving the situation. It appears that Ryobi has empowered its social media team to resolve issues and solve problems. I did not have to be “transferred to another department” or “speak with a supervisor” to get things done. I had a problem, Ryobi fixed it. Simple as that.

Good job, Ryobi.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 102 other followers

%d bloggers like this: