Category Archives: Social Media

Customer care online: why we need to build robust customer care platforms on social media

This post was originally published on LinkedIn

While most organisations use some form of CRM tool or another, and use social media for marketing, it has become extremely important in these days to have an equally strong team taking care of your customers online or on social media. For every piece of content you post on social media, be ready to answer a product issue on the same thread. Customers of your product are increasingly becoming tech savvy and hope to have their issues sorted quicker on the social platforms. In a way, this is the place they come to as an escalation of their existing grievances, not to mention for lodging new complaints.

In 2015, Gartner, an information technology research and advisory company, had reported that ‘by 2018, more than 50 percent of organizations will implement significant business model changes in their efforts to improve customer experience.’ It seems that in 2016, companies are already in the process of changing business processes to improve customer experience, especially on social media.

So who takes care of your social media handles?

If you have outsourced it to an external team, and not a dedicated care resource, you are, may be, losing out on a stellar chance to improve on your online reputation. And that may have long term repercussions that you may not have thought about. A recent research by customer engagement company, Genesys Interactive Intelligence, suggested that 87% of consumers claim that their brand loyalty is affected by how a brand responds to them in the social media.

Online customer care plan

Yes, no matter how many customer contact points you may have, you will need a robust plan in place for dealing with customer queries on social media. It will need dedication and empathy of a care executive to plan and execute the offerings that will be part of your online care strategy. Some of the things you will need to put in place for this will be: who will answer the queries, how many times a day will the executive be online, what are the platforms that will form the crux of this care outreach programme, what will be the turnaround time for an executive to answer a customer query, what will be the escalation process etc.

Choosing the right platform

So what can be the most important platform for dealing with customers on social media? The common consensus is of course the private messaging services offered by the platforms. From Facebook to Twitter, platforms are experimenting with ways of engaging with the audience through direct messaging, and it’s time for you to jump into the bandwagon, if you haven’t already done so. As more and more customers are choosing social media messaging to talk to the brands, at this time private messaging is seen as the preferred choice of communication between organisations and their audience. As suggested by a report, over 90% of the conversations on social media are one to one.

Using social care data

Another important part of social care offered online is of course the data. Social care data can help brands in pre-empting potential crisis situations, and understand customer preferences. Social media data is also relevant in understanding what your customers are talking about competition, industry, and many things more. Your social care strategy needs to cater for data management and analysis as well as integrate it with your overall business objectives.

 “Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business.” — Zig Ziglar

Branding

Corporate Branding, Facebook and Terrorist Attack in France

Where you one of numerous people who had changed their profile picture on Facebook to reflect the French national flag, to show your solidarity with France, as it battled with one of its most bloodied terrorist attack that killed more than 120 people?

facebook Profile Photo courtesy: gloveo.com
Facebook Profile Photo Courtesy: gloveo.com

When Facebook allowed users to add a French national flag to their profile photos, my newsfeed got flooded with my family members and friends who did that. Exactly like the last time when Facebook allowed us to put Indian flag colours on our profile pictures, after Indian PM Narendra Modi visited the Facebook headquarters. That time, users were asked to support Digital India. Only days later there was a huge controversy over this move by Facebook, with allegations against the brand for using the temporary profile picture as a support for its Internet.org, touted to be much against the concept of net neutrality. The controversy took such proportions that Facebook had to come out with an explanation that the changing a profile picture is not equivalent to supporting Internet.org.
But that was then, and this is now. And sadly, once again, changing profile picture in solidarity with the French tragedy is facing a lot of flak. Says a report on Independent, ‘Euro-centrism – a worldview which centres and places overemphasised importance on the West – reinforces its supremacy through actions like these… If you want to show true solidarity with those who’ve been wrongfully killed, the first step is to acknowledge and mourn their deaths equally and genuinely, not just because they’ve brought to your attention by a tech giant’s misguided marketing tool.’

So has corporate branding reached a new high, or a new low, depending on how you look at it? Since Facebook has just started to offer this feature of adding a coloured filter to your profile picture, can this be the new way for users to offer support, or is it simply armchair activism, a way to say I care, but only this much? An article on Wired reported, ‘Facebook has put itself in the business of ranking human suffering, and that’s a fraught business to be in.’

Photo: http://www.newzulu.com/
Photo: http://www.newzulu.com/

I tend to agree with French editor, Charlotte Farhan, who said, ‘I won’t be changing my profile to the French flag even though I am French and from Paris. The reason for this is that if I did this for only Paris this would be wrong. If I did this for every attack on the world, I would have to change my profile everyday several times a day. My heart is with the world, no borders, no hierarchy, I hold every human’s life with value who is attacked by extremist beliefs whether they are based on religion, prejudice or profit! Don’t be part of the “us and them” mentality which the war mongers want you to do!’ It’s no wonder her message got picked up by every newspaper around the world.

Tragedy of any proportion, man-made or natural, affecting few or many, is unfortunate. Most of the time, in our urge to do something concrete and yet not much time consuming, we land up picking up the first thing that comes our way in the name of support. Changing profile picture in Facebook is probably the easiest thing to do, corporate branding notwithstanding. A few clicks, and we land up feeling satisfied to have done something for the victims of the tragedy, and the social media platform records maximum engagement from users!! Do we feel good about it? Oh yes!! Does it help the victims or their families? No, sir. And yet around 100,000 people had changed their profile pictures on the platform, and the platform itself saw a spike of 3,000 times its regular traffic (Wired report), making it surely one of best engagement strategy for the company ever. This is corporate branding at its best, definitely.

No, I didn’t change my profile picture on Facebook, not now, and not much likelihood of doing that in future either. If there is a post on the French tragedy that moved me the most, it’s an Instagram post by karunaezara, ‘It’s time to pray for humanity. It is time to make all places beloved. It’s time to pray for the world.’

karunaezara
Photo courtesy: Instagram