Posts tagged ‘customer relations’

January 31, 2013

The ONLY Super Bowl social media account you need to follow

This Sunday. 6:30 p.m. EST. Finally. For the first time since January 29, 1995, my San Francisco 49ers have made it to the Super Bowl. This is a big deal to me because the sports teams I root for typically don’t make it to the final game (Toronto Maple Leafs last Stanley Cup – 1967) ( Toronto Blue Jays last World Series 1993).

But when any of these teams were last at the big dance, social media was nowhere to be found…it just didn’t exist. Now the non-stop flow of photos, tweets, taunting, scandal, and general nonsense is almost nauseating. ESPN posted an inforgraphic about who to follow on Twitter; Hootsuite has a dashboard where you can track what quarterback has the most tweets, day-by-day; and at last check, social media mega-blog “Mashable” has 144 recent stories tagged “Super Bowl”. It can all be a bit overwhelming.

Don’t get me wrong, the enjoyment of these global events is enhanced by social media. I love being able to connect with fellow sports fans and chat about game. My favourite fan to connect with is the one who is actually there. Enter the Twitter account from the New Orleans Host Committee. If you are looking for one social media touch point for the big game, this is it. The @nolasuperbowl account is entirely focused on fan (user) experience, and they sure are responsive. Powered by a team of over 100 volunteers they field questions, suggest places to eat, share interesting stories about the game, promote their activities (#NFLexperience), and share photos from the festivities.

A few examples:

I’ll definitely be watching the @nolasuperbowl along with the game this weekend with a big thanks to all the volunteers that make it happen. The video below provides a decent idea about what it’s like to be inside the command centre during Super Bowl Week. It’s a recap from last year’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis, but it does a good job explaining what they are looking for, how they find it, and how the team of social media volunteers go about responding.

Well, I guess there’s only one thing left to say: #Go49ers #QuestForSix

UPDATE (01.31.13): As a further comment to their responsiveness, after I initially shared this post on Twitter, the @nolasuperbowl account was quick to RT. In fact, they were the first to do so.

December 12, 2012

Social Media trends in 2012 by the numbers [Stats]

WhereWeConnect2012For those of us watching social media usage trends, last week was a good week as Nielsen published its annual State of the Media: Social Media Report. This document is a must read. It compares the 2011 and 2012 statistics about how we use our devices and social networks. Some of the findings seemed to be obvious. For example, each year, more people are connecting to the internet, and when they do, they spend more time on it. We already knew that.

Other findings, however, were much more intriguing: notably, the continued growth in the amount of users interacting with their social networking accounts using mobile web and mobile applications. People are slowly straying away from their PCs as the Nielson report shows that the use of both mobile web and mobile apps nearly doubled when compared to the 2011 figures:

SocialGoingMobile

I’ve written about the continued growth of the “second-screen” before, and the numbers from this report seem to support that trend. Personally, I always watch TV with my laptop or smartphone, and it looks like this behaviour is becoming more common-place. The Nielson report found that 41% of tablet owners and 38% of smartphone owners use their device daily while watching TV, and they are using this internet access to add to their TV watching experience. For example, viewers use their devices to look up product information after they’ve seen an advertisement, search for coupons or deals, look up information related to the program being watched, and (of course) use social media while watching the show. Twitter emerged as the social network of choice when interacting with TV shows – About 1/3 of active Twitter users tweet about the TV show they are watching.

SecondScreen2012

Another finding in this report that is close to my heart is that 47% of social media users engage companies to get customer service from brands with which they do business. About 30% of them (including myself) even prefer getting customer care using social media. This drives home the point that as each year passes, it becomes more and more imperative for companies to take a pro-active role in managing their reputation online.

SocialCare2012

Plenty more findings are available in this report, and it’s well worth the read, so be sure to check it out.  Special thanks to colleague @DanPihlainen for originally sharing this document.

November 21, 2012

The social side of Black Friday: Where will you be checking-in? [Infographic]

It’s almost upon us again. That’s right, Black Friday. When our American friends line up for some great holiday deals on the day following turkey and football day. And it’s a big deal. Some wait in line all night for the stores to open to get one-day-deals of around 60%-80% off, even on big ticket items.

If it’s a big deal in real life, it’s a big deal online. Just take a look at the #BlackFriday hashtag. It is filled with tweets of excitement and plenty of businesses trying to get the word out about their great deals. And the tweets keep mounting up. When I took the screenshot below from hashtags.org on November 21, 2012, it clearly showed the sheer amount of Black Friday related tweets going through the roof.

Twitter will be a great source of information this weekend, but the one social network I’m most interested in for Black Friday is Foursquare. Will a Black Friday badge be available? Who will be the most popular retailers? Who’s offering discounts and sales to people who check-in at their store? I couldn’t find many answers online, or through my own Foursquare app (perhaps because I’m in Canada). To be quite honest, the lack of Foursquare specials in my city has led me to stray away from that social network altogether.

But Foursquare has been very popular in the past. Check out the infographic below released by Foursquare that outlines last year’s activity on the network. It shows that Black Friday is the day that sees the greatest number of check-ins at retail outlets. It also suggests that people start arriving at their shopping destinations around midnight of the day before to either stake out their spot in line or to participate in Black Friday Midnight Madness events.

I would like to ask my American readers if they can add some first-person accounts from the Black Friday social media front. Will you be looking for deals using apps or social media sites? Is Foursquare part of your game plan? What hashtags do you find the most value in? If you are a business owner or retailer, will you be offering any incentives to your social media audience? Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!

March 13, 2012

We are impatient and rude…and Google is to blame! [Infographic]

The infographic below (originally shared with me by @gvoakes) paints a picture of a speed-obsessed, impatient, and rude population… and I don’t think it’s far off. With astonishing numbers like:

  • Google answers 34,000 questions every second (3 billion daily Google searches)
  • 25% of people abandon web pages that take more than 4 seconds to load
  • 50% of mobile users abandon a page if it doesn’t load in under 10 seconds, and 60% of those users would never return to that site
  • 40% of mobile shoppers will abandon an eCommerce site if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds

It clearly shows that we just can’t wait to get that online content. Perhaps this is because we know that we can get what we are looking for elsewhere online. If I want to buy a new Android phone online, I have virtually unlimited options – if Virgin Wireless isn’t loading quickly enough, I’ll hop over to Comcast, or Rogers, or Bell, or Cellular One. And if I’m looking for the latest news headlines, well there really is no end to where I can find this information.

But what I find the most interesting about this infographic is how this “instantly connected” feeling has changed our offline consumer behaviour. Perhaps this is because the last section of the infographic reflects elements of my own behaviour.

  • 15 minutes is the MAXIMUM time I will wait for a service
  • I have boycotted several shops and restaurants for inattentive or slow customer service
  • And I hate to say it, but I’m sure I have been rude to folks who are serving me too slow. I try to be as understanding as possible, but what’s taking so long?

What do you think? Are you one of those rude, impatient, speed-obsessed members of the “Google Generation”? Or are you happy to wait 45+ minutes to eat at Red Lobster because somethings are worth the wait?


Created by: Online Graduate Programs

February 22, 2012

9 ways Rogers Communications delivers terrible customer service through social media

It took 5 days, 43 tweets, 2 direct messages, 1 blog post comment, and Rogers Communications (Canadian Internet, Mobile,  and Cable TV provider) determined that my OnDemand service outage was my fault and I was NOT to be compensated for the blackout in service. Any social media community manager would agree that this is not the ideal customer experience.

Regular www.davidhallsocialmedia.com readers know that I take customer service very seriously; whether I’m the service provider or service recipient.  Social media is great way to engage with customers to deliver customer service and eventually turn these “complainers” into “brand advocates”. But my latest experience with Rogers leads me to believe they just don’t get it.

It all started when I tweeted @RogersHelps when my OnDemand TV service wasn’t working properly.

Without getting into all the mundane details of my Rogers service outage (you can read all of the tweets at the end of this post), I was shocked by way Rogers “Customer Care” team was mishandling my issue using social media. Instead of satisfying me as a customer, each interaction made me increasingly more frustrated and dissatisfied. When you establish a Twitter account specifically for customer care, you establish the expectation that your employees will actually help customers in a useful and timely manner, so you better step up.

After this experience, I thought I would try to help Rogers out by sharing a few details on where they could improve their social media customer care program. Here’s what Rogers is doing, or not doing, while delivering customer service using social media:

1. Not fixing the problem. At the end of the whole process, they were not able to offer a solution. I had to troubleshoot and trial-and-error through the service outage to resolve the problem. Employees need to know the product inside and out to be able to troubleshoot on the fly. Some of the poor troubleshooting tips provided by Rogers during this experience were “Are you signed in?” followed later by “You’re positive you singed in?”

2. Not asking for the solution. After I fixed the problem myself, and told them so, at no point did they ask me what went wrong, even though they had “never experienced this sort of problem before”. They missed a great opportunity to learn a bit more about their product and how to better deliver customer service, but they didn’t care to ask. I’d be happy to share.

3. Not apologizing for the issue.  At no point did they apologize for the service outage.  Eventually, after 2 days of tweeting, they apologized for “how frustrating this has been for me,” but never for the initial issue.

4. Saying the outage was my fault. Aside from this not being true, it’s not a good idea to imply that it is the customer’s own fault for a service outage.

5. Not offering any compensation. Sometimes you need to show the customer that you are sorry, and that you value their business. I’m not asking for a year of free Internet service (although that would be nice). Just a token to say “sorry” and we really appreciate you as a customer goes a long way. Rogers could consider a free on demand movie rental, a month free service, or even give me access to the promotional deals that are for NEW customers only (another sore point for many Rogers customers).

6. Being non-responsive. I give them credit for responding relatively quickly to my initial tweet, but once we got into the conversation, they were very, very slow to respond. I often had to re-ask, and follow up with them on the outstanding issue. As a customer service experience, they were not very helpful.

7. Bouncing me around to several representatives. I interacted with 5 Rogers employees, each time having to re-explain my issue. Once the lines of communication were open, they should have had one person own this file.

8. Not knowing the user. When you are delivering customer service through social media, it’s very fast and easy to get a snapshot of who you are talking with by  doing a quick scan of their profile. Knowing just a bit of information about their user can help the customer service representative tailor his/her service to each client’s needs. My complaints are in no way more important than the next Rogers customer, but a quick review of my blog and tweets would let them know that I take this stuff very seriously, and they could reasonably assume that I wouldn’t “just go away” if I was ignored.

9. Trying to take the conversation offline…5 times.  There are several reasons why a company would want to solve a customer service issue in the public sphere of twitter. For example, they would then have a documented solution to the problem others could source, it would be a demonstration of the great customer service, and the online resolution would enable ReTweets and “thank you’s” from satisfied customers. I agree that there is time and a place to take the conversation offline, especially when dealing with confidential information, but Rogers attempt to get my service outage complaints off of my public Twitter timeline 5 times. They asked me to call them twice, and switch over to DM three times. The only DMs I sent them were to share my phone numbers.

I understand that it’s impossible to satisfy 100% of your customers 100% of the time, especially for a big business. Companies are made up of people, and people make mistakes, I understand that.  Often times, however, customers are not overly upset with the initial mistake, they get  more upset with the way it was handled. In this case, each time Rogers apologized for my “frustration” made me more frustrated.

Are my expectations too high? I know that Rogers is not known for their attention to customer care in the first place. Do a quick search for Rogers customer service issues, and you’ll wind up with pages and pages of complaint like:

Rogers: I would be happy to hear your thoughts on this whole situation and why it was handled so poorly, please feel free to leave a comment…

Now for the tweets:

February 6, 2012

February 7, 2012

February 8, 2012

February 10, 2012

November 16, 2011

6 Tricks for providing great customer service through social media

SocialMediaCustomerServiceSocial media networks are rapidly becoming the go-to place for customer service complaints to be aired and resolved.  People turn to social media because it often provides a more direct connection with an employee from the offending company, not just a conversation with a telephone-answering robot.

Recently, I received some bad customer service. Instead of calling the company and arguing with the sales representative who was rude to me, I turned to social media to see what the company’s reaction would be.

As a community manager, I know what it’s like to receive complaints from dissatisfied customers through social media. It’s important to approach each complaint with a level head and respect for the dissatisfied customer. It is the community manager’s job to have the issue resolved with a win-win outcome. Here’s my list of tips to consider when delivering customer service through social media.

1. Find the complaints and problems

You don’t know what you don’t know. Step one to solving any problem is identifying it. To do this, start by setting up Google Alerts for your organization and it’s products. Each time your organization is mentioned online, Google Alerts will send you an email with a link to the sites containing your keywords so you don’t have to be out there looking for every mention. Next, set-up your social media management tool (TweetDeck, Seesmic, Hootsuite, Sysomos, Radian6, etc.) to alert you (through push-alerts) of every tweet, facebook post, youtube video, blog post, etc. Now you can see the questions, comments, and complaints shared using social media as they happen and you are poised to react.

2. Response time is key

Be fast to acknowledge the complaint and assure the customer you are looking into it. This will often help extinguish the fire before it begins. Continue to converse with the customer by being open, accountable, and focusing on the solution. The last thing an angry customer wants is excuses.

3. Keep a friendly tone

The internet is often a sarcastic place, but when providing customer service remain friendly and sincere. Customers want to be taken seriously and have their concerns addressed. If they don’t get the validation they want from the company, they’ll continue to spread their negative message online. If you are looking for tips on responding to negative comments, check out these tips from the US Air Force.

4. Find the learning moment

Start by focusing on the facts. Reach out to the customer and find out as much as you can about the situation, why they are upset, and what you can do to resolve the matter. Constructive criticism is often masked by angry complaints from customers who truly love your business. These complaints are actually a great opportunity to learn from what they have to say. I have been in this exact situation as a community manager for Algonquin College. In one instance, a student who held the college in such high regard was shocked when he was treated disrespectfully by an employee. He expressed his displeasure on Twitter. I saw his tweet, reached out to him, and we eventually sat down for a coffee to chat it out. Fast-forward to today, and he continues to be one of the College’s biggest supporters (on and offline).

5. Solve the problem and give a reason for the customer to stay with your company

After you have resolved the initial problem, now it’s time to turn that customer into a brand advocate. By giving the formerly angry customer an incentive, you may be able to earn their return business and recommendation. The reward could be a discount, free service or product, behind the scenes access to your company, a meeting with a company leader, etc. Getting free stuff always works for me. On the flip-side, if customer service is a large part of your brand promise, you may want to consider an internal rewards program for employees who deliver the best customer service.

6. Amplify the praise

Most customers are appreciative of the work done by the social media community manager to resolve the situation. These satisfied customers often share their thanks online as well. Now you have a great opportunity to further amplify their endorsement; don’t just say “you’re welcome” be sure to retweet (or reshare) the message of praise with your own audience/community.

I expect to receive adequate customer service when I am doing business with a company. When the customer service is bad, I complain using social media; if the service is great, I share using social media as well- it goes both ways.

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