How social has changed customer care forever
The rise of social customer care is a key part of the journey of digital transformation. That’s not to say that social customer care as a point solution makes a big difference because to do that has just become the norm — the so-called “ticket to the game”. But as part of an overall vision of an integrated customer experience social customer care is a key part of the transformation jigsaw puzzle.
Without stating the obvious, the “social” part of customer care has exposed companies to public scrutiny of their attitudes, procedures, culture, readiness, and in particular their mindset of what “customer first” means.
The behaviour of the customer care team is a key reality of the brand. All the aspirational advertising and community donations come to naught if the social care behaviour is evasive and hollow.
Three ways that social has changed customer care forever:
1. Better internal systems for coordination needed
Firstly, the internal systems and organisation required is much more substantial and critical than before social. Before social conversations were private and there was only a slow creep between problems arising with customer issues in customer support and flow of such issues to other departments such as marketing, PR and communications, and product development.
Now, the flow needs to be in real-time. Significant “issues” which support is not empowered to resolve need to be entered into a workflow with attention to the correct internal parties. Collaboration and action taken in a governed precise way, and in a timely fashion. The right people need to be alerted.
Underlying this is the need to be able to identify who exactly the “client” is. That is, how has the social identify been linked to other records from the CRM, eCommerce, marketing and support systems and how reliable is the identification? Responding to a current customer without knowing that they are a current customer is no longer acceptable. It not only raises brand issues but is likely to be mocked and amplified in social.
2. Customers demand answers across “omni channels”
Customers are now raising issues, asking questions, posing comparisons, questioning value in ways they never could have previously. An “activist” customer can probe from different channels and compare answers in public.
Customers want their ideas and suggestions to be heard, and what “being heard” means needs to be consistent across the brand touch points. This means that the days of support agents on Twitter directing people to call the telephone support line are over. And it means that the backlash from customers who have contacted via Twitter because they have given up on the telephone support is well deserved.
Getting this right is complex. It’s a part of the digital transformation journey and a million miles from the current “thought bubble” point solutions which litter social customer care.
3. Public benchmarking of social care performance
Public comparisons of social care are now available for everyone to use and judge. This public benchmarking holds companies accountable in ways unforeseen even in very recent past.
For example the Sprinklr Business Index compares not only public content and audience insights but also social care insights and cross-company benchmarks.
The image below is the benchmark of Qantas versus Virgin Australia based on public data extracted from their social channels.
It shows, somewhat remarkably, that they have an identical score and an identical ranking of #22 in the Aviations/Airlines industry. That equal score and ranking is not something I’ve seen before. Despite that overt equality there are significant differences in social care performance.
Qantas takes an average of 6 hours to respond to a social message received, and Virgin 2 hours. In similar vein Qantas responds to 13.85% of brand mentions or comments in social whereas Virgin responds to 26.13% (data from the 30 days prior to March 27, 2017).
On face value you would think that Virgin would therefore rank higher than Qantas. The algorithms behind the Index are not public. However the benchmark does provide further insights which suggest that there is less variability in Qantas’ response times. This potentially feeds into the calculation of the social care scores.
Regardless of the technicalities the point is that social care benchmarking is now public. This is is a dramatic shift from the well-guarded call centre performance of the past. Brand perception will be influenced by these public ratings and brands need to get ahead of the game by instigating their own comprehensive social performance benchmarking.