The rise of social media has changed customer service beyond recognition.
In today’s competitive landscape, customer service is more important than ever. A company’s reputation for satisfying their customers has never been so valuable.
It’s worth pointing out that it takes three times as much internal resources to acquire a new customer as it does to retain one. In these lean times it puts an awful lot of pressure on companies to ensure retention rates are as high as possible. And good customer service is a great tool to do this.
But are companies getting it? Does it look like big corporates are responding to this change in the landscape?
The short answer is no:
To be fair, things are changing. By the end of the year, 75% of US-based companies expect to use social media for customer service. It’s a reaction to the changing game. Gone are the days when social media was all about marketing through Twitter and Facebook. It’s now an integral tool to ensure you are responsive not reactive, contactable not aloof and authentic not robotic. And increasingly, it’s about solving customer’s issues in real time through social channels, showing your dedication and transparency to your customers.
Article by Harry Rollason @ www.usefulsocialmedia.com
Whether it’s their free advertising, their ability to help your reach pretty much everyone in the world, or their ability to help your customers tell everyone in the world if you screw up or do great, whether you like it or not, Facebook has changed how we all approach business. We will have all heard about Facebook’s imminent IPO planning to raise $5 billion however what you might not have realised is Facebook is actually worth $100 billion.
This is a little section I’d like to call ‘Facebook is worth more than…’
Facebook is worth more than… 50 Naval Submarines (they cost about $2 billion each to build)
Facebook is worth more than… Brazil’s 2011 Travel and Tourism Budget ($74 billion)
Facebook is worth more than… The Gulf war (that cost $96 billion)
Facebook is worth more than… 6 years of US Breast Cancer Treatment ($16.5 billion per year)
Facebook is worth more than… The Hurricane Katrina clean up (that was $81 billion)
Facebook is worth more than… 2 and a half Olympic games (Beijing Olympics were $40 billion)
Facebook is worth more than… Coffee (the worlds coffee industry is worth just under $100 billion)
Facebook is worth more than… 120 Eiffel Towers (about $820 million to build one in today’s market)
…and last but not least, Facebook is worth more than… Qatar (their GDP is about $98 billion)
Thanks to Mashable for the cool facts, and thanks to Bono (he owns 1.5% of Facebook)
Outside-In company McDonalds ran a Twitter campaign recently to help people get to know their local farmers better, 2% of the thousands of Tweets they received were people moaning that they became obese because they eat McDonalds every day or that they didn’t like a burger once 18 years ago and this campaign was considered a disaster. I just wanted to remind everyone of the massive success of McDonalds, not just after they turned Outside-In and coined their successful customer outcome, ‘I’m loving it’ and aligned their process towards achieving this but the lasting legacy that they have created.
Here are the facts.
McDonalds serve 1% of the world’s population every day, that’s around 68 million people…that’s more than the entire population of the UK.
McDonalds serve over 75 burgers a second, that’s about 6.5 million a day (that doesn’t count nuggets and salads)
McDonald’s $32 billion revenue makes them the 68th biggest economy in the world…just above Ecuador.
If you gathered up all of the McDonalds employees from the USA only, there would be more people than the combined population of Iceland and Luxembourg .
The Queen of England owns a McDonalds franchise.
Over the next 3 years McDonalds will be opening a new restaurant in China…EVERY DAY!
Americans alone eat 1 billion pounds (weight) of beef at McDonalds every year.
One of the questions that Outside-In companies ask themselves is ‘What business are we REALLY in?’. If you think that McDonalds is just a fast-food joint think again, McDonalds is actually the world’s largest distributor of toys…bigger than Toys ‘R’ Us, bigger than Hamleys, bigger than Schwarz, even bigger than Santa! Now who would have expected that from a fast-food joint?
So remember, creating our successful customer outcome (SCO) and aligning everything we do towards achieving it and asking ourselves ‘What business are we REALLY in’ extends our scope, transcends the enterprise boundaries and stops us from thinking the same old way.
I recently saw some stories about how Apple are planning to provide American schools with iPads so that the old, expensive, outdated, dog-eared, back breaking text books could be condenced to iBook format to make learining easier and more interactive and not to mention more cost effective.
There was a lot of talk about this being a charitable dedication towards a nations education. This may hold some truth, however I disagree that this is the main reason for doing this. I personally think it may be one of the biggest game changing plays of the decade.
In Ouside-In companies, like Apple, we ask ourselves a number of questions to reframe how we think and drive innovative ideas. One of these is: ‘Where does the process REALLY start?’ I think that this is a brilliant stratagy to sell more Apple Macs and MacBooks and well and truly sink Windows.
So lets ask ourselves, when we buy a computer – where does the process REALLY start?
When we walk into the shop? When we browse online for reviews? When we first discover the need for a computer? Or even further back – When we first start to use computers on a regular basis…in school.
So you may be thinking, ‘WOW, great insight James! How does this help me sell more Macs?’
Lets think this through, most school computers are on Windows so most kids get used to Windows operating systems from an early age and so when buying a computer later in life for themselves (or when their parents do) they will stay with what they know - Windows. So… if Apple can get a whole generation and generations to come hooked on Apple’s operating systems from the start, then when they make the decision to buy for themselves they will go with what they know – Apple!
On top of this there has been talk of giving every kid in America a free iPhone 3, another ploy to get the future generations hooked on Apple (they don’t make their money from phones anyway, they make it from the app store) This proves grim news for Nokia too but ill talk about this another day.
So in summary, on one hand a charitable dedication to the advancement of learning on the other hand possibly one of the biggest game changing business moves we are likley to see this decade.
What do you think?
Who is your customer experience competition? Those of you only looking inside your own industry need to take a look around, as your competitors are not who you think they are – especially online. Organizations should be asking this question: Which companies have the best practices in customer focus across all industries? I recently exchanged Facebook messages with Deb Robison a smart marketing and social media gal. She wanted to share a customer service story with me and get my take on it. Here is her story:
I got a new computer recently and needed to order some accessories. Around this same time, I needed some shoes and books. I placed orders with Zappos, Amazon, Apple, and a designer’s shop, Jonathan Adler. Of course, the three big guys sent me order acknowledgment and tracking info all through the process. I got an order notification from (ordered a laptop sleeve) Jonathan Adler, then nothing, so a few days after I placed the order, I sent an email asking if my order had shipped. Later the next day I got an email from a customer service rep explaining that they did receive my order and that “my colleague is trying to find your bag at one of their stores.” Once it ships, I would get a shipping notification. That was two days ago. And, I noticed they have already charged my credit card.
So my question is this – are my customer service expectations skewed because I have dealt with some big companies that have solid customer service and shipping systems in place? (Note: Zappos had the best and most prompt services of the three big companies, of course.) Jonathan Adler is a smaller brand, but a high-end one and kind of trendy right now, so is it fair for me to set the same expectations on them?
My expectations have clearly been shaped by the immediacy which other retailers respond & deliver. Is that fair? As customers, we never had this kind of relationship before. We used to get out the catalog, fill out the form, put a check in the envelope and wait.
Yes, Deb, customer expectations are absolutely set based on our experiences with companies such as Zappos and Amazon. In fact, every interaction we have with a company sets our expectation for the next interaction, whether with that business or with another completely different organization. Additionally, the online experiences that customers have with companies, whether on the company website or via social media, are creating a higher degree of visibility. In social media, this becomes even more important as the social customer’s friends and followers are also watching, and sometimes sharing the experience with their network (unfortunately, this is more often the case when the experience has been poor).
Customer Expectations of Service It is important to understand the needs of your customers, as well as their wants and desires. It is also critical to understand what they expect when they contact your company. Typically, customer expectations of service tend to fall into three areas:
- Customers want fast service: They want their problems solved or questions answered quickly. “Help me get back to what I need to do.”
- Customers want friendly service: They want to feel that the company appreciates their business. “Help me know that you care about me.”
- Customers want it to be easy: They want to be able to accomplish the task in the most efficient way possible. “Help make this simple for me.”
The three areas listed above may change in priority based on who your customer is, what kind of relationship they have had with your organization, and, as mentioned by Deb, what types of interactions they have had with your company and with others. Do you know what your customers want from you?
Taking Action What can you do tomorrow to improve the experience your customers are having with your company?
1. Ask your customers. Really – go ask them! Find out what they expect from you, what you are doing well, and what you need to improve. Your customers will probably be happy to tell you, and they will also be glad you asked.
2. Look in the mirror. When is the last time you or someone from your organization called into your customer service line? Ordered something from your website? Tried to get help via your social media channels? Find out what it feels like to be your customer; I encourage you to look for both areas of improvement as well as your own best practices to share with your organization.
3. Look at the competition – from your customer’s perspective. Understand who is competing with you for the best customer experience, keeping in mind that it may not be anyone within your industry.
A world-class customer experience doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a plan that can be executed across all aspects of your organization. Your customer experience strategy should facilitate consistent treatment of customers, cultivate customer trust, and enable meaningful interactions at all points of customer contact. Most importantly, it should meet and exceed customer expectations. Now you have a customer experience that will ignite passion, inspire brand loyalty, and cement relationships.
Article by Becky Carroll @ www.customersrock.net