Tag Archives: sCRM

Customer Experience “Through the Looking Glass” – It’s the Last Mile that makes the Difference.

12 Feb

3d

Caught a matinee today – awful really. Made far worse by the 3D glasses we had to wear. This is probably the nth 3D movie I watched – and not a single time has my experience with the glasses been anything but horrible. Isn’t it a huge pity that technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, the 3D tech has made movie making/ watching so supposedly pleasurable – but the entire experience is completely and utterly spoilt by one tiny detail – the glasses (oh btw, these glasses are rented – so I pay for them – which adds insult to injury!)

This experience reminded me of an article I’d written nearly 10 years ago in a newspaper (you can read it here) on how so many products fail – not so much because of the products themselves – though such examples abound (including in the article) – but because of the other elements (4Ps a-la-Kotler) of marketing – it could be distribution/ advertising/ pricing…and increasingly nowadays…customer service.

OK, since it looks like this is becoming a “nostalgic” post, I pulled up another article I’d written in the same newspaper even longer ago (actually that was my first published piece ever – so I still remember the thrill it gave me to look at myself in print!) ON customer service – or, the lack of it, in durables. (again, if you have time on your hands, you can read it here). Two things struck me – a) my writing style hasn’t really changed much! 🙂 b) In the customer service world, things havn’t changed much either! Witness bad quality 3D glasses!

horsemeat

Think about it – with the advent of social media, there’s this big hullabulloo about customer service; customer experience; reputation – these are now very dynamic/ very fragile/ very potentially viral properties. While Twitter is the new customer service helpdesk, it is also the crisis escalation firebell! One Dell Hell, One United Broke My guitar, or, recently, Findus/ beef lasagna/ horse meat controversy, and you’re stuck with a big big big problem on your hands. People are now getting paranoid about reputation. But you know what, this whole customer service shindig – hinges on really SMALL things – the last mile almost. It’s the guy at the cash counter who is counting bills while you are waiting/ the system that asks you for your problem for the nth time as you complain about bad internet bandwidth for the nth time when each time you’ve explained the origin and history of the problem/ it’s even the barman who didn’t smile when he handed you your pint, and most importantly, it’s the rant tweet that went unattended for 2 days when you complained about the above!

That’s why companies are investing in listening, and then responding. There are “Social Media Command Centers” being set up – not only to proactively engage with customers, but to respond to customer service issues. But it’s a scary thought – one rogue tweet that went unattended – and your command center is useless…

So what does one do? Apart from the obvious ones like – get a listening program in place (but how do you find out what’s important), have someone manning your social media properties for customer service related issues (but how do you make sure that one rogue tweet/ youtube video is not unattended), have a proactive policy of crisis handling?

The answer is the 5 Ts

Social CRM

Technology – I’m talking futuristic here – lets get Social CRM stuff – this is the utopican (currently) smart help desk that knows you when you buy/ call/ chat/ tweet/ rant – and can connect all the dots (see my older post on this by clicking here – I do believe that sCRM even as a concept needs much understanding currently – many people think its just an evolved form of listening. Its NOT!)

BB_TWELP-Pin_v2_brf3

Training – Seems really obvious. The best tech cannot obviate human beings – and human beings cannot be let loose unbridled in the social media world – just like any contact center operation, social media helpdesk management requires policies and training – continuous, iterative, dynamic, flexible training. Best Buy did this best with their Twelpforce – they mobilized almost their entire organization as customer service agents, trained them but had the appropriate tech platform backing them.

Tracking – Make sure you have ways of finding out who can potentially be the bomb – so influencer identification strategy is important – keep a trace on big people on social media, and track them continuously. Remember, “influencers” can trigger virality quicker than mere mortals. Remember also however, that someone else’s pussy cat may be your influencer and vice versa!

Triggering Mechanisms – Make sure you have ways of putting in place traces of issues that are escalating – so a virality alert – that makes you get on the crisis fighting mode sooner rather than later. It could be a spike in negativity/ an unusual pick up in a competitor’s chatter/ unprecedented buzz on one site..just keep an eye on the trigger

and finally,

Transparency – Lets face it – the best will and technology in the world, may not be able to avert a customer service disaster. The best thing to do in such cases is – basically eat crow. Open your kimono, say you’re sorry, get the ranting raving customer be atleast a sympathetic ranting raving one. After all, most folks realize good intentions and appreciate that if you goof up and own up that u goofed up, a lot is saved!

As for my matinee movie, I read here back in August that we should be able to watch 3D movies without glasses soon – may the day arrive sooner rather than later. Samsung/ Sony – you guys listening?

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Treat All Your Social Networks the Same? Reasons why you shoudn’t!

7 Jan

This is a pet peeve – so treat it as a bit of a rant.

Don’t get me wrong – I completely “get” integration, convergence, all of that! I also, from an enterprise’s perspective, am a BIG proponent of sCRM (Social Customer relationship management). That this means an integrated, holistic look at your customer (or stakeholder) – and that this therefore allows you to mine many pieces of information about them, I completely understand, and root for.

My problem is with the “customer”, or in this case, the USER of the multiple social networks – I do not see why, a post on twitter has to be fed to your facebook profile, or your Linkedin ID (on this topic, though it drew many protests, power to Linkedin for “delinking” from twitter)
Is your friend list on Facebook the same as your contacts on Linkedin is the same as your “followers” and “following” on Twitter? No, right? And there’s a reason for this. The fact is – that all social networks have a raison d’être (as they should) and therefore, a very real and distinct audience and culture.
As an example, as we all know, facebook being originally founded for university students, has now become the premier “getting/ staying in touch with friends and family” platform – note – fnf! (sure, so its now being touted as a great brand marketing tool, and sure, the biggest revenue generating mechanism is now advertising, but the fact still remains that you in general KNOW most people on facebook). Linkedin on the other hand – is your “professional” self – you don’t post family pix on linkedin! This is essentially a job (or employee, depending on which side you are) hunting site – and the behavior is thus appropriate. Twitter again, is very very different – it’s still a self expression platform as are all the others, but to a “wannabe” circle of folks – it therefore acts more like a news medium, albeit abbreviated! Add to this instagram/ Pinterest/ Foursquare – u have a complex structure – reflecting the many facets of your personality.
Given the people therefore that an individual is connected to, it makes sense to modify behavior to suit the audience. (Marketing 101 – segmentation/ targeting/ positioning, right?).
So, on facebook, I have my “mommy” self primarily – mostly I upload pix of my kids, and ofcourse secondarily, comment on fnf’s content. On Twitter, it is my Social Media and Technology interests, my tennis interests and my general politics interests that play out – my “following” list and so my newstream reflects that, and so does the content I share. On Linkedin, it is my professional self that shows up, which, in the last few years as an entrepreneur made avid use of this network for business development ☺. And on Pinterest, it’s a combination of all these, but the more visual forms – including that which tickles my funny bone ! You take all of this together, and you maybe (just maybe) get a sense of “me” – social media enthusiast, soccer/ tiger mom, armchair tennis player, ex entrepreneur, appreciator of satire and humour!
The only exception to this is if you are a BRAND, where the reverse of the above advice applies!
So, friends, drop the “publish to all channels” function when you write/ share content, and treat each of your social networks with the individual/ customized respect they deserve. ☺
After all, why oh why should we as individuals/ customers/ prospects – make it easy for enterprises to “slot” us – let them deploy some more technology, and then understand us to play to our multifaceted personalities! Agree?