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Social Hand-offs a Must

Too often social media teams are an island. They sit as the advance guard under comms departments, digital teams and in marketing. But how do they hand-off to the rest of the business.

My recent experiences with Air New Zealand illustrate how important this is. I’ll spare you the service angst they’ve caused me over the past week but lets say it was enough to illicit a Tweet or two. Their social team clearly picked the tweet up and responded giving me an email to communicate with them – which I promptly did. Then silence for four days. (I’m guessing that had something to do with a long holiday weekend in NZ). Frustrated by this, I tweeted again. That quickly resulted in a call from a nice chap who, having not read my tweets or email, listened intently to my frustrations before indicating that, having taken all this on board, would send me a letter.

Now, I’m not sure the last time I got a letter so that’s something to look forward to. Although I’m not actually sure where the key to the letterbox is either.

In this are some lessons:
1. track those hashtags and respond to customers – Air NZ did OK on this front.
2. give the customer a way to reach you and take the conversation offline – OK on this one as well
3. respond to complaint and close, preferably that day – fail
4. if passing the complaint on, pass on all customer comms – fail
5. communicate through the customer’s preferred channel – fail
6. do all of this 24×7 or close to it – fail

I’ve had the opportunity to see many social teams now and most run into difficulty because they are under-resourced and lack systems. A platform like Salesforce and RightNow would have enabled Air NZ to pass off the customer complaint, apply a “sundown” rule for resolution, and ultimately increase customer satisfaction. The smarter social teams have put the response capability in their call centers where they have both systems and scale.

No matter how good your marketing your brand, you will ultimately be judged by how you made customers feel. Each negative customer experience is a chance to turn that not just to a positive, but to a positive +1.

There are lots of lessons here for teams looking to improve customer satisfaction through social media monitoring and response. Perhaps the most important is getting the hand-off right.

One Response

  1. By Ben Kepes on October 30th, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    Having spent a bunch of time sitting on Air NZ’s planes (and with their people) I can say that this isn’t a process failing but a systems one. All those different systems are completely siloed and hence different departments (marketing, HVC, social etc etc) have no visibility over what others are doing. I’ve long advocated for a single system of record for AirNZ that covers both operational customer records alongside marketing campaigns and social channels.

    It’s not rocket science but takes a willingness to move on from sunk costs and actually communicate beyond platitudes and feel good marketing campaigns – the jury is very much out on that one….

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