Okay, here’s a situation: You need to reach out to a company because either you want to tell them how great they are, or you want to tell them about an issue that you need resolved. You have two options: Find the company’s phone number, dial it (if you’re not on your mobile), risk suffering through a pre-recorded message that says the company you’re calling is receiving a higher than anticipated volume of calls, then explain your issue to a customer service agent. Kinda sounds daunting, doesn’t it? Your other option is to grab your blackberry or iPhone and simply Tweet it, and do whatever you were doing until there’s a resolution. Sounds way, way more convenient, right?
If you agree, you’re not alone. Increasingly we’re opting for social media as a way to interact with companies we deal with. And we expect a response. Indeed, not getting a response puts our relationship with the brand in jeopardy. With that in mind, I decided to take a look at how we’re all doing in the “response” side of things on Twitter.
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In my not-at-all-scientific study, I reviewed sample Twitter interactions between customers and key companies in my review (Zappos, Delta Airlines, ATT, and Comcast). Considering key performance indicators such as speed of response, tone, individualization (i.e. did the responder sound like a human, or a company), and a focus on issue resolution, I found some predictable, and fascinating trends.
In part one of my results, we’ll be looking at Zappos.com and Delta Airlines.
Zappos.com is the gold standard for customer service, and a big part of that is how they communicate with their customers online. The below exchanges demonstrate how Zappos uses Twitter to increase brand engagement, solve issues, and drive sales. First, a tweet from a customer, Chad, expresses a problem:
Here’s the reply from Zappos:
The response time is 24 minutes. Pretty quick. Also, since the issue seemed to be a little complex, Zappos required a phone component in order to fix Chad’s problem (They would need to validate some things like customer identity, payment, etc.). This represents a neat example of how off-line, and online customer service work best when they work in tandem. Here’s another example of how Twitter is used to handle sales:
If you click on the bit.ly link, you’ll see that Ryan included a webpage he was viewing. Here’s the reply:
Response time: A smokin’ 6 minutes. Here’s Ryan’s anwer:
…and back to Zappos, because because we want to know how it resolved, right?
You’ll notice the response time for each is consistently swift throughout the exchange. As well, the “voice” of the replies from Zappos sounds distinctly, and like-ably, human. Everyone loves Zappos for their customer service. The above demonstrates why, as well as how we can learn from it.
Still wanna play? The below is from Delta. Not a top tier beloved company (brilliantly expressed in the below tweet), but clearly fighting to get there. And with exchanges like the below, I think they have a fighting chance. Check it out:
And here’s the reply from Delta (in a lightning 9 minutes):
That is so cute that it genuinely warms my heart. Next time my Delta flight is late, maybe I’ll cut them some slack. After all, I wanna be Delta’s heart too!
Delivering consistently great customer experiences on Twitter (and other forms of social media) is more than just having a social media presence. Speed of response, tone of response, and a focus on the customer’s issue all work together to create a customer / brand relationship that is personal, rather than transactional. All of the above examples showed quick speed of answer (the longest interval being 24 minutes) and friendly, authentic language. Kudos to Zappos.com and Delta Airlines.
Part 2 of Social Media and Customer Enagement – A Tale of Two Experiences features Tweet exchanges from companies that may benefit from the above lessons. It’ll be fun! As always I’d love to hear your comments. And if you’d like some guidance on how your company can engage your customers using social media, contact us. We’ll make sure your customers love you.