Friday, June 9th, 2017 | 6 min read
I recently took a trip to Las Vegas during which everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. I had a two hour delay to check into my room, a dinner that was much longer than it should have been, and a room service order that never actually showed up.
I voiced my frustration on social media, and the hotel brand quickly responded and followed up via direct message to resolve my issue, connecting me with the senior guest services team (which was not briefed on my situation).
While the guest services representative apologized and offered to take care of my next stay, there was a clear communication gap between the social and customer care teams, and a lack of insight into my data as a customer.
To make lemons out of lemonade, here are some lessons other brands can learn from my disjointed customer care experience:
Whether it’s in person or online across social channels, your customers talk. They’re more likely than ever to share their experience, especially if it’s a bad one. In fact, after a negative brand experience, 50% of customers share their negative experience with friends, and nearly 35% air their grievances specifically on social media.
To avoid a hit to their reputation, brands need to be sure that their customers have the best possible experience, both online and offline. For many, the right technology can be the key to bridging these gaps across channels.
Above all, brands need to use technology that helps ensure a consistent experience across the board. This may mean establishing a system that consolidates customer data across channels, or having software that allows for cross-channel customer profiles.
Larger brands may need to align internal communication or put regulations in place to ensure cross-channel consistency, but smaller brands may be able to experiment with technologies that, for example, allow for mass communication in a crisis situation, or expedite complaint resolution with chatbots.
With the right technology, customer care can not only be improved, but revolutionized over time.
One of the key lessons of my recent experience is that customer care is often too fragmented. I shouldn’t have had to raise complaints with multiple managers and the online care team, only to receive a substandard resolution
While a bad experience can be saved by a well-planned, unified response, it can’t be executed without clear and consistent communication across an organization. More often than not, teams within an organization all have insights into the customer experience that are not being fully shared and aligned throughout the organization. The good news is that social media can serve as the vital connective tissue throughout a company.
Brands need to be cognizant of their social team’s insights on what issues are widespread and what resolutions are (and aren’t) working. They’re listening to what customers are saying, and this is especially crucial as customers turn to social more than ever.
On Twitter alone, customer service interactions have increased 250% in the last three years. A brand’s social team has the inside scoop on how to make things better; they can see when things are broken, and they can pass along the information that can help separate teams unite to solve problems.
Maintaining a single, accurate view of your customers is not just about collecting customer data. Your data must be unified in order to support cross-channel customer service, and this can be achieved only through the marriage of social, customer experience, and front office functions.
In Las Vegas, this came into play during my final conversation with a customer care representative, who told me that the customer care team should have known about my entire history with the brand before we spoke (in order to eliminate the uncomfortable situation that followed). This was obviously not the case.
Unfortunately, today, as much as 80% of data collected is never used to make improvements to customer experience. Brands are so caught up trying to collect data, that they don’t ensure that they are using it to improve their business functions. While it’s possible that the brand I stayed with on my trip did have the data available to ensure a great care experience, it wasn’t distributed across appropriate teams in order to do so.
This brand, however, is not alone. As few as 23% of companies today are able to integrate customer insights in real-time. To get started, aligning customer care and social teams may be the right first step to both leveraging customer data and aligning business functions to improve customer service.
Customer care is a game-changer. Today, 69% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product or service with a good customer service reputation. On the other hand, according to Bain and Co., a customer is 4x more likely to buy from a competitor if their issue with a brand is service-related, compared to an issue that is price or product-related.
For brands, every interaction is an opportunity to satisfy your customer and create a positive moment that makes the experience worth sharing.
Do this right and eliminate the disconnect that continues to trip up brands today by unifying your data, layering your social and customer care efforts, and aligning your teams to fully resolve any customer care issue that comes your way. With any luck, your brand can avoid providing the sort of experience that I’m eager to forget.
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