Personalized Tweets Mean Higher CSAT Scores

Many companies have already jumped onto Twitter to increase customer satisfaction, reduce operational costs and provide exceptional customer service, have you?

If not, you should likely reconsider.

Customers have taken to Twitter in droves, seeking out customer service. In fact, just over the past two years, there has been a 2.5x increase in customer service conversations on Twitter, a recent Twitter study reveals.

Social media has revolutionized customer service, but it’s no longer enough to just be on a particular social platform. Consumers are particular about when they want their service on social media (immediately) and how (personalized). By taking swift action and acting more human, companies can exceed customers’ expectations.

Reply, and make it fast!

The instantaneous nature of Twitter, coupled with the opportunity to personalize every interaction, is not only a chance to solve problems but also to show potential customers that the company cares and wants to make things right. As a bonus, customer service on Twitter can save companies up to 80 percent per interaction compared to phone calls, the unabridged Twitter report notes.

Consumers value customer service as the largest overall factor in customer satisfaction, more important than the brand itself or bang for the buck. When done right, customer service on social is a huge boost to a brand.

And companies have good reason to turn to social media. Around 85 percent of customers who have a satisfactory customer service interaction on Twitter are likely to recommend the brand to others, the Twitter study explains.

But, for a social media customer interaction to be considered positive, it has to happen quickly. According to the Twitter study, customer service response times on Twitter vary from 4 seconds to 221 hours. Despite the varied range, 60 percent of consumers still expect brands to respond to customer service requests in less than an hour.

A 2015 report sponsored by BT and Avaya found even more demanding results with autonomous customers, consumers who are super-charged by access to online information. The study, based on the views of 5,500 global autonomous customers, revealed that 70 percent expect a response to a social media comment within 15 minutes. More so, one in three agree that, for an urgent or emergency issue, Twitter/Facebook is the best way to get customer service.

Unfortunately, customers still often don’t get a response at all. Consumers in the Twitter study reported that only 9 percent of them heard from a brand after mentioning it on Twitter. Considering how the Twitterverse can quickly turn on a company (in the worst case, creating a PR nightmare for the brand), quick response is critical.

Be human

What exceptional Twitter customer service boils down to is the cliché heard ‘round the world: “be human.” Humanizing your brand means avoiding robotic copy and paste responses, and really tailoring the reply to the customer.

Personalizing the conversation and connecting with the customer is key. The BT/Avaya research revealed that four in five respondents said customer service agents should be instantly familiar with consumers’ contact histories.

More so, when a brand includes the Twitter user’s name as well as its brand representative’s name, consumers are more likely to recommend the brand, according to the Twitter study. Customers are 22 percent more likely to be satisfied with a brand after this sort of personalized customer service interaction.

Ultimately, a lot of factors go into getting customer service on Twitter right, but acting swiftly and human are critical to being #CustServ champions.

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Get out of the Queue: Drive Your CX with Attribute Matching

At this point, nearly every company is working overtime to realign around two simple words: customer experience (CX). So much so that nearly 90% of companies now compete solely on CX—a drastic increase from 36 % in 2010—and 50 % of consumer product investments are expected to be redirected to CX innovations—like attribute matching—by the end of this year.

But what exactly does the CX consist of, especially in today’s new world of digital business innovation? This next-generation CX is supported by several advanced technologies—big data analytics, omnichannel, automation—however, these investments are all aimed at driving one thing: contextualization.

The rise of contextualized service—the ability for companies to not only gain insightful information about their customers but also deliver information in a way that is relevant and meaningful to customers based on individual circumstances to improve their experience—has evolved the CX to a point where it looks virtually nothing like it did as recently as 10 years ago. Whereas consumers once primarily focused on the act of purchasing, driven by such things as product quality and price, they now focus on the richness of brand relationships, driven by the personal value that companies deliver throughout the customer journey. Just consider that 70% of buying experiences are now based on how customers feel they are being treated. This is the key factor that sets apart market leaders like Amazon, Trader Joe’s, and Apple from the competition.

According to Accenture, there is an estimated $6 trillion in global revenue up for grabs due to dissatisfied customers constantly switching providers. The ability for companies to offer contextualized service is vital for operating at the speed of the consumer and capturing more of this market share. There’s just one thing preventing companies from seizing this limitless potential: the traditional call queue.

Every customer is familiar with the call queue. This is the place where statements like, “Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold,” and “Let me transfer you to a specialized team who can help you with that” perpetually live. It’s where exhaustive efforts to route customers to the correct service rep become lost, or where consumers must repeat the same information to multiple agents across different teams. It’s the greatest barrier preventing companies from being more dynamically connected to their consumers, and one of the greatest reasons why customers reduce their commitment to a brand.

Driving Contextualization with Attribute Matching

In a world where customers demand a profound level of connection and transparency, organizations can no longer support a contact center environment in which calls are distributed among agents who are organized by function (i.e., sales, service, support). In today’s smart, digital world, companies must transform the traditional call center into an integrated, digital communications hub. This means moving away from a siloed, metric-driven queue and instead working to put customers in touch with the best organizational resource depending on their exact need or circumstance as immediately as possible. The most effective way to achieve this is to migrate from archaic infrastructure towards an integrated, agile, next-generation platform built on open communications architecture.

Open communications architecture allows organizations to seamlessly collect, track and share contextual data across various teams, processes, and customer touch points. This integrated environment supports a real-time data repository from which businesses can pull from to route customers based on needs beyond traditional characteristics (like language preference). Rather, the technology allows companies to build customized learning algorithms that drive anticipatory engagement, enabling them to match customers based on next-level variables like personality, emotion and relatability.

Imagine, for example, a hotel routing a customer directly to an IT staffer after seeing that the person tweeted about a poor in-room Wi-Fi connection. Imagine a bank being able to route a customer to a money management expert after seeing that the last five questions asked via live chat were about account spending. Imagine an athletic apparel company matching a customer with an agent who is an avid runner after noticing that the individual recently signed up for a 5K.

The future of the CX means creating and continually building a contextualized view of customers throughout their entire brand journey. It means going beyond customer service to establish unparalleled, organization-wide relationships. It means transforming peoples’ lives, verses simply answering questions. This is what companies must work to align themselves with. The good news is that technology has evolved to a point where they can now easily, effectively and cost-efficiently do so.

Interested in learning more or getting beyond the queue to Redefine Your Customer and Employee Experiences? Contact us. We’d love to hear from you.

How Switching to Proactive Customer Service Could Save You More Than $500,000

This first week of October is recognized as Customer Service Week. I’ve previously written about how delivering excellent customer service is in our DNA here at Avaya, and the long list of CSAT awards we’ve received is evidence of that focus. Today, I’m introducing a series of blogs and videos about how Avaya delivers impressive value within our Support Agreement through our tooling for connectivity, alarm management and diagnostics.

Over the last four years, the support industry has changed, and so has Avaya Support. As this infographic shows, Avaya has not only been keeping up, but taking a leadership role in shifting to a self-service and proactive approach.

Gone are the days of staffing dozens or hundreds of human engineers to stare at big screens within a network operations center. Today, automated tools monitor for inbound events and take corrective action without the need for all those people. With these tools and Avaya Support’s unrelenting drive to use the KCS initiative to never solve the same problem twice, Avaya has reduced our time to resolution and improved customer satisfaction.

We know that when our customers leverage the full value of their Avaya Support coverage, they avoid more outages, have faster issue resolution and are overall happier with their Avaya solution.

That is why I’ve been so focused on educating our customers and partners about what our tools can do and the resulting value they create. Once the parties involved understand that value, the account teams can work with the partner to get those tools implemented, including registration and onboarding via our Global Registration Tool (GRT).

These capabilities help Avaya shift out of reactive support and into a higher-value-add mode of proactive support.

  • Reactive Support is the term we use to refer to traditional maintenance support. It’s where both parties wait until the solution has a problem, and then the customer contacts Support looking for assistance. The focus at that point is on restoring service and taking action on the root cause of the problem.
  • Preventive Support is the term we use to refer to taking steps to implement known best practices for your solution. Examples of this would be installing the latest and greatest patches and service packs and ensuring you have adequate uninterruptible power supply systems in case of an outage.
  • Proactive Support is about identifying serious issues when they are still just symptoms of the actual problem and resolving those symptoms before they snowball into an impacting outage. It also includes taking steps to regularly optimize your solution, improving performance to not only run more effectively but also prevent system outages.

Above all else, we are building tools and processes to help our customers avoid costly outages. According to the Aberdeen Group, across small, medium and large companies, the average outage costs $2,728 per minute. When you combine that with our internal metrics that show the average outage lasts 3.5 hours, the average outage can cost a customer $572,859!

Avaya Client Services (ACS) knows that we can assist our customers in preventing these outages. Internal analysis shows that 71 percent of all customer outages could have been prevented.

Joey Fister has been writing a great set of blogs about how to avoid these common causes of outages. Beyond preventive steps, Avaya Support has tools that take support to the next, proactive level. For example, customers that utilize our alarm management, EXPERT SystemsSM, are 73 percent more likely to avoid an outage.

Stay tuned for the rest of this series, where I’ll speak to how you can get value out of remote connectivity via SAL, alarm monitoring via EXPERT SystemsSM, and the SLA Mon Server that provides endpoint diagnostics and networking monitoring. I’ll also be covering these through a series on YouTube.

Watch the first below:

Contact or follow me on Twitter: @CarlKnerr

4 Things to Watch Out For When Rolling Out Video in Your Contact Center

Video-based customer engagement has continued to gain traction in the market each quarter since mid-2013, when Avaya Client Services President Mike Runda named it a top trend to watch in the “Communication Services Challenging the Status Quo” whitepaper:

“Video can also play a key role in service quality and client relationships. It can strengthen customer ties by helping clients and the service provider get to know one another better. And it can be used to resolve issues, an especially valuable capability for small or midsized business facing support issues. For example, on-site cameras can be used to diagnose physical hardware issues without a technician needing to be dispatched to the site.”

Offering video as an option in the contact center has proven to be a powerful way to provide better customer service. Elevating to a “wow” experience means going beyond just text chat. Where most contact center chats end, Ava the virtual agent searches continue, with customers being given the option to talk or video conference with a live agent. The customer has total flexibility of choice – voice over IP (Web talk), one-way video, or two-way video.

While Web talk is a great way to replace the phone for customers who want to talk rather than type, video changes everything. This transformative technology offers human empathy and the experience of seeing the other person while reaffirming that old but true cliché made famous in 1911 by newspaper editor and editorial columnist Arthur Brisbane, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

In a late October 2014 blog, “6 Developing Communications Services Trends to Watch in 2015,” we stated that video support will reach an inflection point—“if you snooze, you lose.” The blog added,

“At the end of 2013, became the first company to offer one-way video customer support. In 2014, Avaya became the first company to offer both one-way and two-way video support options for customer engagement. Now companies in many industry verticals are adopting—or at least piloting—some form of video. Businesses that haven’t begun to make the move to video will be challenged to catch up with their competitors.”

Improved Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores have confirmed the initial premise that video adds value to support. Customers are much happier when they engage in video conversations with agents/engineers in the contact center. Since September 20, 2014, we have seen average CSAT scores of 5%+ better on video interactions versus the overall average for contact center interactions (4.5 vs. 4.25). Why is video driving higher CSAT scores? It comes down to four key drivers:

  • Video communication is becoming mainstream, thanks to the advent of video Skype and Apple FaceTime.
  • With every blink of the eye, smile or gesture, video enables the agent to react instantly to non-verbal cues, based on the customer’s current satisfaction level.
  • Seeing the problem makes troubleshooting easier and faster, by removing inaccurate verbal descriptions. Resolution times become noticeably faster with video.
  • Video puts a face with a name, adding a personal touch to communications that enable customer and agent to truly engage and build rapport on a human level.

Here are a few quotes from our agents that provide insight as to where they have seen value… “I offered video and was able to view the actual telephone [the customer] was programming and guide him based on what I could see through the video.”

“I love using video, it seems to cut down on outside distractions and keep everyone engaged.”

Deploying video well takes a strong infrastructure and a holistic cultural commitment by customers and agents. Much of the credit for the success we have seen in video goes to our agents who are pioneers leading the way into the new video frontier. Before deploying video in your contact center, here are four key considerations:

  1. Environment: Where and what kind of worker matters. Workers in an office or working remotely matter when you are considering backgrounds, branding and lighting.
  2. Appearance: Just as backgrounds are important, so are the foregrounds where the agent sits. Do they appear to be professional and appropriate for your particular industry or company culture? Is the workplace formal or business casual? Is uniformity necessary? And after everything else, watch for video etiquette.
  3. Acceptance: Expect resistance and questions from your contact center agents. Commitment from the top of the business organization is imperative. Agents may resist or feel uncomfortable. Training or role-playing is essential. Customers may not see the benefit until they are educated and the benefits are shown.
  4. HR/local regulations: Fundamentally, after all else is solved, it comes down to the company and its employees behind the agents. Given today’s global business environment, key considerations are any in-country regulations and work council rules for customers and employees that relate to audio/video recordings and business operations.

Mastering these four key considerations can simplify the process of rolling out a successful video-based support program. Happier agents able to solve problems faster lead to happier customers. Happier customers mean more business.

How could video transform your support experience with the contact center and increase engagement with your customers? What is holding your contact center back from exceeding its customer’s needs? Share your experiences in the comments section below!

Follow me on Twitter at @Pat_Patterson_V.