“Sorry Ma’am, you still have another 9 months on your contract until you’re eligible for an upgrade”. How many times have we all heard that when talking to our phone company. I, for one, have put up with a phone that didn’t accept incoming calls, couldn’t send texts, or would just randomly dial people in my contact list when I was on the phone with someone else. But why?
Well, for one, I didn’t want to pay. Why switch now when I can spend just a little bit longer putting up with ‘okay’ (read: barely permissible phone) and save some money?
I remember when I didn’t want to give up my Blackberry… I couldn’t say goodbye to BBM! It was my lifeline! But BBM quickly became irrelevant… it wasn’t the way people were communicating anymore.
With the announcement of yesterday's iPhone 6s I can’t help but think back to these times in my life and realize that sometimes you can’t sit still and wait for an upgrade. You need to keep up with the times! There is so much happening and developing every day, and old systems and technologies are becoming obsolete (does anyone still have a Blackberry?).
The timing of this realization was funny. The same day Conversocial, where I work, released new features and functionality and set the tone for what the standard in social customer service should really be today. We’ve offered an ‘upgrade’ to those systems that are still living in the social of the past. Today’s customers are mobile and social and they demand quick and personalized customer service on the channel they’re reaching out on. The new standard of #socialfirst allows brands to provide just that.
As a lover of travel and a social customer myself, I’ve experienced a frustration with the lack of a #socialfirst approach many travel companies (airlines/buses) still face. To be honest, I’m quite shocked when I don’t have my question/issue resolved by an airline or bus I’m traveling with - let alone not being responded to! Here are some recent personal examples. You’ll note that some couldn’t help me at all, while some just flat out didn’t respond:
@taylreduarte Hi Taylre, Sorry but we are not able to make flight changes via Twitter.— Porter Airlines (@porterairlines) June 18, 2015
@taylreduarte You will have to contact our call centre, manage your booking online or in-person at the airport.— Porter Airlines (@porterairlines) June 18, 2015
@megabus can you help me figure out wifi? No networks showing up and need to use my computer on this bus ride!! (NY-BOS route)— Taylre Duarte (@taylreduarte) September 3, 2015
@taylreduarte Hi Taylre, we'd be happy to answer any general question about the program. If u have a flight or account question, 1/2— Aeroplan (@Aeroplan) May 12, 2015
@Aeroplan Thanks for the response. Curious why you can’t discuss flight questions over Twitter? I already called and waited 1 hour this am— Taylre Duarte (@taylreduarte) May 12, 2015
@taylreduarte You're welcome! :) The reason is because our Social Media Team doesn't have access to the same tools our Contact Center does.— Aeroplan (@Aeroplan) May 12, 2015
Now, who knows why these companies have chosen to approach social the way they have. Perhaps, like the Blackberry, they’re still holding on to a legacy (and dated) technology. Perhaps, like me, they are stuck in a contract and want to save money. But is this really getting them anywhere? They are missing out on some major opportunities.
So what can these brands, and others facing the same challenges do?
- Respond quickly and in the channel your customer is reaching out to you on. Furthermore, resolve in this channel using a 360 degree view of the customer.
- Be Proactive. Often times travellers complain to their friends on social but don’t think they’ll get any help so don’t bother asking for it. Don’t wait for these customers to come knocking on your door to complain - proactively jump into conversations and offer to help out without even being asked. Surprise and delight
- Finally, show empathy to your customers. We all know how hectic and stressful travel can be. Listen to your customers concerns and show that you are there to help out.
Take a look at @FlyAirNZ, @AerLingus, or @FGW for some great examples of travel brands serving their social customers. Now THAT is some awesome customer service. There are plenty of other great examples out there, just reinforcing the fact that the conversation has already started. Will you be left behind?
Please feel free to send me a message if you’d like to learn more about how Conversocial can help upgrade you to the new standard of social customer service.
Follow me on Twitter @taylreduarte for more social customer service insights.