Social Media and Customer Engagement – A Tale of Two Experiences (part 1)

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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The Study

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

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:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/chadmyers/status/57535948287787009″]

Here’s the reply from Zappos:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/Zappos_Service/status/57542044247265280″]

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:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/ryangizmo/status/57512345823485953″]

If you click on the bit.ly link, you’ll see that Ryan included a webpage he was viewing.  Here’s the reply:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/Zappos_Service/status/57513992972804097″]

Response time:  A smokin’ 6 minutes.  Here’s Ryan’s anwer:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/ryangizmo/status/57515235149484033″]

…and back to Zappos, because because we want to know how it resolved, right?

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/Zappos_Service/status/57517721285443584″]

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.

Delta Airlines

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:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/cwebbie/status/57826466502680576″]

And here’s the reply from Delta (in a lightning 9 minutes):

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/DeltaAssist/status/57828638644645888″]

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

Conclusion

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.

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  • Alexdail

    Thanks for your article! The examples are what really made the post for me. They gave me a good indication of what “voice” is on twitter and social media in general.

    • Pat Perdue

      Thanks Alex! I appreciate the feedback. It was certainly a fun article to research!

  • Alexdail

    Thanks for your article! The examples are what really made the post for me. They gave me a good indication of what “voice” is on twitter and social media in general.

    • Pat Perdue

      Thanks Alex! I appreciate the feedback. It was certainly a fun article to research!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Briley-Kenney/5018867 Briley Kenney

    Great article Pat! Excellent idea to show an in depth look at how Social Media customer service methods are being implemented. I think I’ll use a similar idea in a future article. 😉

    • Anonymous

      Thanks so much Briley! That’s very kind of you. The great thing about customer / brand interaction on Twitter, or on the company’s Facebook page, is that the exchanges are there for all of us to see. How companies treat their customers is now very public knowledge, and we can easily choose to work with only those companies that treat their customers with respect. Thank you again for your comment – and please let me know when you write another article. I’d love to read it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Briley-Kenney/5018867 Briley Kenney

    Great article Pat! Excellent idea to show an in depth look at how Social Media customer service methods are being implemented. I think I’ll use a similar idea in a future article. 😉

    • patperdue

      Thanks so much Briley! That’s very kind of you. The great thing about customer / brand interaction on Twitter, or on the company’s Facebook page, is that the exchanges are there for all of us to see. How companies treat their customers is now very public knowledge, and we can easily choose to work with only those companies that treat their customers with respect. Thank you again for your comment – and please let me know when you write another article. I’d love to read it!

  • Pingback: Social Media and Customer Engagement – A Tale of Two Experiences (Part II) — Inspiring Customer Experience()

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