Shocks & Stares » Customer service http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares H&K\'s Financial & Professional Services Team Blog Tue, 19 Mar 2013 08:00:56 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Digital Customer Service – 5 brands getting it right http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2012/01/digital-customer-service-5-brands-getting-it-right/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2012/01/digital-customer-service-5-brands-getting-it-right/#comments Thu, 12 Jan 2012 16:05:41 +0000 David Chambers http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=481 This post is by Sallie Bale, who is in the process of setting up her own account, but was desperate to just get blogging!

Spurred on by a recent article, ‘Why social customer service will come of age in 2012′, below is my work-in-progress Top 5 social media customer service channels. As that Econsultancy article points out, social media and customer service should be a match made in heaven. But so often due to a lack of knowledge, money or attention, some brands can get it pretty wrongg as we have seen over and over again.

As with many new issues, organisations often have a tough time understanding how digital customer service will work with their current offerings or processes. Mashable reports that many organisations are battling the same issues, which they distilled down to: Integration, Scaling and Crisis management.

I expect that many brands think they’re “opting out” of using social media channels in this way, but in some cases this simply is not an option; the customer is likely to use it any way. Referring to a study on WARC, Lawrence Fenley, MD, Sitel, said: ” With easy access to real-time information, a new generation of ‘always-on’ consumers is more empowered and demanding than ever.”

These sentiments are echoed by Mark Hillary in his insightful thought piece in the HuffPo. He asserts that the way corporate customer service is run hasn’t fundamentally changed in a very, very long time. He points out that the crucial difference between traditional customer service and social is that it is so easily amplified within the target market. To sum up, he argues:

“Consumers will complain using their own channels whatever you as a company ask them to do, so social media for customer service can no longer be ignored. It’s no longer a cool, trend-setting, inclusive, and awesome area to explore. If you are not answering your consumers within the social web then they will just assume that you are ignoring them.”

And so, with that in mind, here is my Top 5 list of great customer services channels:

1. First Direct

Witty, unafraid and funny. First Direct’s Twitter team are friendly, well trained, informative and engaging. But they also use humour to diffuse tension:

@uwitness: Dear First Direct – one quick way to put me off you as a bank is to send me an offer related to Jamie Oliver. Just saying.

@first_direct: @uwitness Sorry – are you more of a Nigella fan?

2. Marks & Spencer

It’s helpful, engaging and informative. It’s a human voice of the brand. It’s apologetic when necessary, and isn’t scared to use the word “sorry”. And, if you’re really nice to them, they will go off and find that thing that you saw in an advert last year and find out which stores stock it. Well done M&S.

3. Dell

It’s an oldie, but it’s a goodie. The Dell approach is to have over 30 different Twitter accounts, each for a different market/segment/purpose, and they pull it off quite well. Definitely not a strategy for the faint hearted or those with short purse-strings though.

4. Xbox Support

Xbox Support has won awards for their online support services. From what I’ve seen they’ve thrown a huge amount of money behind it to ensure they pick up everything possible. Good work, if you have the budget.

5. Bank of America

Striking a second blow for the financial services industry on this list, BofA do everything right; they reach out to people having problems and direct customers to the right place. This should be the standard; most companies should be aiming for this.

Clearly, there is more to social media than Twitter, but as of yet (and this is a WIP) I’m still searching for other good examples.

I hope that this list expands dramatically through 2012 as organisations wake up to social media as a customer service channel and how to integrate, scale and use it in times of crisis.

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FPS’ Friday Fiver http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/06/fps-friday-fiver-7/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/2011/06/fps-friday-fiver-7/#comments Fri, 17 Jun 2011 17:16:28 +0000 David Chambers http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/shocksandstares/?p=172 Hello again all. It’s been a frantically busy week here in the Financial & Professional Services team, but as ever we bring you the Friday Fiver which rounds up this week’s events. Thanks to contributors Mel, Nick, Jo and Jonathan this week.

Freedommmmmm…Braveheart bonds, kilt edged bonds, Connery bonds and Jonathan’s own personal suggestion of shortbread bond are just some of the names being used to describe new powers that will allow Scotland’s government to issue debt.

Mel's adopted country is about to issue its' own bonds

The Scotland Bill makes provision for the country to raise up to £2.2bn from markets to fund infrastructure projects. There had been calls to permit up to £5bn of borrowing but this idea has been dismissed and Treasury ministers are at pains to emphasise that this does not amount to writing a blank cheque. It remains to be seen what ratings agencies will make of Scotland’s credit worthiness.

However, this week also saw riots on the streets of Athens as the Greek government seeks to implement austerity measure s to cut spending and meet the nation’s debt commitments. The dangers of small economies borrowing big sums of money should be front of mind for Scottish ministers.

We hear all about the Economist…This week,we were lucky enough to meet Daniel Franklin at the FPS Big Bite. The well respeceted Business Affairs Editor has been at the Economist for a staggering 28 years and gave us an insight into the passion that journalists have for this successful newspaper. With a circulation of over 1.5million around the world and 200,000 in the UK you can imagine that the publication only attracts the best of the very best of journalists!

We learnt all about the 'weekly newspaper' this week

After making us promise that we wouldn’t bombard him with emails following our lunch (sorry in advance Daniel!!) he went on to explain the thinking and routine behind The Economist giving the team a useful inside look into the ‘fiercely independent’ newspaper.

A regulatory phoenix …On Thursday the Government published its financial regulation White Paper and draft Bill which will see the creation of the new Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Conduct Authority, and split of regulatory supervision now been offered up to replace the FSA.

Those readers who are equally wizened as this writer (Mel) might have a sense of déjà vue, having witnessed at first hand – working as a fresh faced, hopeful graduate at the Bank of England when the BCCI crisis erupted in the 1980s setting off – the chain of events which ultimately culminated in Gordon Brown forcing the old lady to relinquish her jealously guarded control of the banks.

Fast forward to 2011 and, here we are again!, the previously lauded and internationally revered one-stop financial regulatory juggernaut of the FSA and the ambiguous tripartite structure between HMT, the Bank of England and FSA both now found failing in the aftermath of the latest – and let’s acknowledge – near Armageddon financial crisis.

So another brave new phoenix emerges from the ashes with strengthened and expanded statutory objectives around responsibilities for the insurance sector, an enhanced competition regime and a strengthened role for FOS.

Otto Thoresen, Director General, ABI endorsed these measures but pointed to unanswered questions about how the links between the different regulatory bodies – PRA and FCA – will work in practice and how exactly FOS will work with FCA. Indeed, yes it is important to avoid overlap and confusion. Sound familiar?

The battle for pension reform is about to begin…The pressure has slowly been building on this one, with strikes being pencilled in across the week. But Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander lit the touch paper this morning with an article in the Daily Telegraph outlining the government’s intention to force public sector workers to work longer and pay more for their retirement pots.

Saving for old age is a very hot political potato

Is it fair? Many in the private sector would say so. Will it happen? That’s still in the balance – Alexander certainly came in for a tough time at an IPPR event this afternoon where he outlined the government’s thinking. The key date is 27th June, when negotiations are likely to conclude.

Brand promises & customer experiences…It’s fair to say that financial institutions have endured something of a reputational rocky patch amongst consumers. Many customers have been disappointed with the service they’ve received, coupled with poor products and several miss-selling scandals – a fact highlighted by this week’s episode of Panorama.

Thankfully it seems the industry is finally beginning to wake up and adopt a much more consumer oriented approach. Nick was lucky enough to be able to attend an event at the Financial Services Forum examining the relationship between brand promises and customer experiences. One of the central themes that emerged from the discussion was that a brand is not represented by a new logo or slogan but by the 1000’s of gestures made by the business to its customers across the world every day.

Every interaction is a chance to reinforce the business’ brand values and this needs to be recognised throughout the entire customer journey. Managing expectations coupled with the odd piece of exceptional customer service can go a long way! It was refreshing to see such a detailed deep dive into the lives of the consumer and what struck me was the extent to which experiential brands such as Alton Towers, Emirates and Walt Disney are streets ahead.

Their whole proposition is built around the consumer experience and they understand the importance of recognising this at every level. With regulatory bodies also placing unprecedented levels of scrutiny on consumers rights, perhaps many of the UK’s biggest banks should take a leaf out of the books of Mickey Mouse and Pluto. A smile and a genuine belief in the brand you represent seem key.

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