What does the term “customer service” conjure up in your mind? Maybe calling up a 1-800 number to be met with an automated voice, robotically offering you a menu of problems you may have. So you dial 0. Again. And again. You can feel your blood pressure rise, and by the time you actually speak to someone, they tell you they are transferring you to someone else. Any normal human being would be frustrated and frazzled.
Fast forward to the era of social customer service.
The average consumer spends 50 minutes per day on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. There are 500 million tweets per day. Why not meet the customer where they are spending their time? Smart, savvy and creative companies are adopting a socially mature mentality of meeting the consumer on their turf, striving to please and upserve, and most importantly, staying human.
Let’s meet 3 companies that are are managing to keep their customers satisfied while keeping it real.
Zappos, the online shoe retailer, has effectively set the gold standard for the new wave of customer service. The fact that they are owned by Amazon doesn’t hurt that fact, given the online retail giant’s stellar customer care reputation. What’s unique about Zappos' style of customer service is its creativity and taking full responsibility for purchases, from start to finish. They are also known for their human authenticity which earns them solid brand loyalty. No more monotone, robotic voices reading a script, Zappos brings life and personality to the formerly stuffy world of customer service.
The brand is most famous, however, for its customer-friendly return policy: a 100% percent satisfaction guarantee, with the company actually encouraging customers to purchase multiple pairs of shoes and return what they don’t want. They have at times even offered their loyal customers next day shipping for free, just to show appreciation. There are many fun and heartwarming stories on the Internet about Zappos’ excellence in customer service.
Zappos has ten core company values, and the first one is “Deliver WOW Through Service.” The many Zappos stories prove this core value and highlight why they set the standard for the new era of customer service
Audi, the luxury car brand and Conversocial client have taken the challenging world of automotive customer service to a whole new level. The Audi brand was recently awarded several top spots in the J.D. Power 2016 Customer Service Index: Named as the #1 brand, they were also named #3 in Gen Y Satisfaction among Premium Brands, along with high ratings for the Service Advisers.
Audi seems to adapt to the ever-changing climate of social media and customer service, with their awesome Instagram campaigns and their utilizing social media channels to bring in real revenue.
In October 2014, Audi UK received over 4,500 messages on its Facebook and Twitter channels. There was a particular interaction on Twitter that exhibits how a quick and professional response led to a substantial purchase and a loyal customer. A potential customer named “Jez” tweeted to Audi UK and Porsche, challenging them to beat the not-so-nice customer service experience he had at Aston Martin. Audi UK then tweeted back less than an hour later, offering assistance which eventually led to the customer purchasing the car for approximately £90,000. The happy customer later said that he was “made to feel very, very special at Audi.” This story shows how Audi’s efficient and timely customer service approach on a social media channel brought in real results as well as strengthened their customer service reputation.
Hyatt, another Conversocial client, with a solid customer service foundation and rich history of service in the U.S. and beyond was one of the first brands to go social with Facebook Messenger. They were the first travel brand to use Facebook Messenger, an innovative step for the established and well-known hospitality brand.
The company uses Facebook Messenger to interact with customers 24/7. They brought the use of Messenger into their “Global Control Room” service, which is a dedicated team of trained customer service representatives, who manage a host of social media outlets 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Customers can simply go onto the Hyatt Facebook page and send a private message. In the “About” section on the Hyatt page, it is noted that the company is “Very responsive to messages” which means that 90% of the time, the response time is within fifteen minutes.
Dan Moriarty, Hyatt’s former Director of Digital Strategy and Activation, was very proud of Hyatt’s early adoption of Facebook Messenger. In an interview earlier this year, Mr. Moriarty discussed how shortly after adopting Messenger as a channel, the number of messages on Facebook had increased significantly which looked promising. He noted some simple and positive conversations from Facebook Messenger from the same in October 2015: a satisfied customer from Park Hyatt Washington in Washington D.C. raved about his great experience at the hotel. A traveler in Chicago asked about hotel locations in relation to his meeting address, then immediately booked a room through Messenger. A chilly traveler in Germany requested an extra blanket for his hotel room since he would be arriving late. These conversations were quick, efficient and in the best interest of the customer.
Hyatt, being an early adopter of Facebook Messenger, sets the bar high for the hospitality industry as well as other industries, by taking social customer service seriously and incorporating it fully into its company culture.
What we can learn
Both new and established brands can learn from these three forward-thinking companies by upping their customer service game. Secondly, we learn that bringing professional yet human, scalable and resolution-focused customer service can translate into the same success enjoyed by Zappos, Audi and Hyatt- not a small feat in this new and ever-changing world of customer care.