Joshua March is the founder and CEO of Conversocial a cloud solution that enables businesses to deliver customer service over Social Media at a large-scale. Conversocial is used in the contact centers of hundreds of major retailers, banks, telcos and other brands to enable them to manage the high volumes of complaints and questions they're receiving through social networks like Facebook and Twitter, including Google, Hertz, Tesco, Barclaycard, Hyatt hotels and many more.
Yanique mentioned that his business caters to the type of customer that needs the information now. Gone are the days when you'd write a letter and submit it to the organization through the mail and a couple of weeks or months later you get back our response plans. The clients that we're dealing with nowadays there’re in the now age.
Joshua agreed and stated that we live in an in the moment world where people are expecting almost real-time response to everything. And if you're going to take days to respond, they're probably just going to phone you at that point, people need an answer or they'll just go to a competitor, that's the reality. But on the flip side, one of the great things about digital messaging and asynchronous messaging as opposed to traditional web chat is that it's more like texting a friend and texting a friend it's pretty much real time that they're responding in 5 minutes. And if there is occasionally a message it takes a little bit longer and some are shorter and that's fine. And the traditional web chat world that doesn't work because the web chat world is like sitting there with the chat box open when waiting for a response and so you have to have current agents online responding within seconds. But with an asynchronous messaging you can even out those bums most a lot more easily and you can have a smaller number of agents handling a much larger number of customers as a result. Because as soon as you respond that pops up as a notification on their phone, they don't have to be sitting there paying attention all the time. So, it's very convenient for both the customers and for customer service agents.
Yanique mentioned that a big part of what she heard in a lot of what Joshua said was convenience. She thinks convenience is definitely one of the key differentiators that businesses who are disrupting the whole customer experience platform, they're really killing it in that area and making life more convenient for their customers because that to her is just a very convenient.
Joshua stated that there is a huge amount of data which talks about the benefits for this, his favorite book on this subject is The Effortless Experience : Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by Matthew Dixon, Nicholas Toman and Rick Delisi of CEB, who is now part of Gartner and it's a book that’s given to lot of a lot of his clients and Effortless Experience costly had a huge amount of data from years like large studies and it shows that the most important thing that affects customer loyalty after a service interaction is the effort that they have to put in to getting their true result. When someone has a problem or a complaint or an issue, they just want that issue to be solved as soon as possible, as easily as possible and it's very hard to increase their loyalty following any service interaction even if you really go crazy go above and beyond. They had an issue and you solved it great, they're not going to be ecstatic, maybe they'll be a little bit happier, what happens in the majority of cases, is that their loyalty is reduced and the data shows that if you do anything that makes it harder for them to get their issue solved; it has a massive negative impact on loyalty. If you make them jump through any hoops to speaks with an agent that they have to repeat themselves, they have to tell one person one thing and then they have to speak to someone else and tell them the same thing again. Anything like that which is just annoying and hassle or puts a delay, puts them on hold has a really, really negative impact. And so, if you can just reduce that effort, then you could have a massive impact on Customer Loyalty. He thinks this is the core of what makes social messaging so powerful is that it’s just so effortless. He spent the last year writing a book as well which is going to be coming out this quarter which he’s excited about and it's going to be called “Message Me”, it's all about the future of customer service and looks at the impact of messaging and he talks a lot about effortless experience in that book because he thinks that in many ways they kind of figured out the foundation and they could have asked this question, “How do you make it effortless?” And he doesn’t think that technology was really there at the time when they wrote book to actually implement it. But he thinks that with messaging, we finally do have the technology to implement a service channel which really can be completely effortless for consumers and that's super exciting.
Yanique stated that one of the things that she’s most amazed about as it relates to customer experience as well is regardless of where you are from in the world or however you are socialized, whether you're from Europe, North America, South America or the Caribbean, at the end of the day because we're all human beings, we're all yearning for that connection we're all yearning for some basic needs to be met. As Joshua said, she agreed that if you have to put in less effort you are more likely to go along with that particular service provider because they make life much easier for you. You have so many hurdles to jump over on a daily basis, whereas, if you're running a business, you're a family maker, you have a husband to take care of or a wife, kids up and down, just so many things pulling in all different directions. So, if you can do business with an organization that is looking out for you in that aspect and they're pulling you in less directions and they make it super easy kind of like Amazon, you can sit down in the convenience of your own home and basically order whatever you'd like to order and it's delivered to you, you don't have to go into the store and stress yourself out walking up and do figuring out which aisle it is in. Everything can be purchased with the click of a button, it really does definitely drive you to be loyal to that organization because you look back on those experiences and that's what would make you continue doing business with them.
Joshua agreed and stated that it’s important and he thinks not enough businesses really pay attention to it today. People are used to the point of looking at measuring customer satisfaction and empty apps. I actually love to see more and more businesses measuring customer satisfaction and NPS but he would actually love to see more and more businesses people measuring effort and measure how convenient, how effortless was it for them to get help, he thinks that would be really impactful for a lot of businesses.
Yanique asked if this question is asked after every interaction with their business or is it a question that they ask maybe on a yearly basis based on the customers who are their clients.
Joshua stated that they did the actual, so, before they started working with them so he doesn’t know exactly how they do it. The way that they help their clients do surveys today through social and messaging is that your after-service interaction has been closed and resolved, then they send out an automatic survey inside the messaging thread from the Facebook Messenger or Twitter that ask them whatever question they want to have set up. So, it's after every service interaction, he thinks that's the best way to get that kind of data.
Yanique agreed and mentioned that people do remember the experience that they have had within the first 24 hours and then after that if it's not super great or really bad, they really don't remember the details. So, that question should be asked after each interaction.
Joshua mention that they see that the faster you get out after the issue has been resolved, the higher the response rate.
Yanique mentioned that reading Sci-Fi is a very unusual genre of books to read but she can see where Joshua is coming from with it because it kind of opens your mind to the impossible and that's where we're heading.
Joshua agreed and stated that if you're interested in customer service, the future of customer service, you should read his book “Message Me” which is going to be coming out pretty soon which he mentioned earlier as well.
Twitter - @joshuamarch
Twitter - @conversocial
LinkedIn - Joshua March
Dan's 20-year career has consistently focused on delighting customers, spanning multiple disciplines including Social Media, Customer Service, Marketing, and Digital Customer Experience. Dan is the author of the new book, Winning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media, which is available on Amazon. He also co-hosts the Experience This! podcast, a weekly look at what’s working – and not working! – in the world of customer experience. Previously, Dan hosted the Focus on Customer Service Podcast, where he interviewed nearly four dozen brands which are renowned for outstanding customer service in Social Media, garnering tips and best practices. The podcast was named one of "The 50 Best Customer Retention Podcasts to Help You Attract, Engage and Retain Customers" by NGDATA. A frequent conference speaker, at conferences such as: Social Media Marketing World, Social Shake-Up, Corporate Social Media Summit, The Customer Service Summit, The Secret Service Summit, and more, Dan has also been named to several notable industry lists, including:
Dan has also been responsible for Social Media, digital marketing, and customer experience at several Fortune 300 brands, including being the Senior Director of Global Social Media at McDonald’s Corporation, Head of Digital Marketing at Humana and Head of Digital Customer Experience and Social Media at Discover. He played a key role in Discover winning its first J.D. Power Award for “Highest in Customer Satisfaction.” Dan also holds a B.A. in Psychology and Communications from the University of Pennsylvania, and he has an M.B.A. in Marketing and Strategy from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He resides in Chicago with his family and is an avid Cubs fan.
Yanique mentioned that the whole platform of customer experience over the years clearly has changed as indicated in the introduction where Dan said before traditionally marketers would be using a megaphone and kind of shouting their messages to the customer. A big part of customer experience now especially with Social Media is that the customer now has a platform by which they can express their voice and so testimonials have become such an integral role in terms of customers making decisions. It's no longer what you say the brand is but it's not what your customers say the experience and the brand experience is like.
Dan agreed and stated that we all expect that when we go to a business's website, that website is going to tell us great things about the business because it's speaking, so we're used to that. And that's a good first step to figure out what it is we're getting ourselves into but with almost any product or service the very next step is to figure out what other people are saying and whether that's a ratings and reviews site or it's looking up the company on Facebook or on Twitter. These are really important steps in the buying journey. And so, the extent to which companies can ensure that as prospects go through that buying journey they're hearing good things about their company or if they're hearing complaints that they're seeing a company that cares enough to listen to those complaints and respond to them. That's becoming really critical and he thinks the companies that are figuring it out are the ones that are getting more business because people are taking into consideration besides price and product, they're taking into consideration the willingness of the company to engage with me if I have a problem as a as a big part of the decision.
Yanique mentioned that one of the things that her customers sometimes ask her and as an expert in Social Media Customer Care, she would love to hear his feedback on it. Typically, what do you think is the global standard or do you think it should be a standard based on the industry that you are in if you post complained or comment on someone's social media page. What is a standard time within which they should get back in touch with you. Is it immediately? And when we say immediately, what do we define that as, 24 hours, an hour, 30 minutes?
Dan stated that the time to get in touch with a customer after a complaint or comment was posted does differ slightly by industry. He would say that best in class is 15 minutes or less. He doesn’t think that people expect instant yet unless they're on a channel like a live chat. But he thinks 15 minutes or less is considered best in class. Now there are some caveats to that. If you are an international airline that operates 24 hours a day you know the expectation is that you are available 24 hours and that you're responding quickly because your customers might be stranded in an airport having just missed a flight and they cannot wait for a response. If you are a mom and pop retail store that has one location that's open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm every day, there's probably not as much expectation that you are responding 24/7. And into that kind of a company he would advise that as long as you are upfront with your customers about when you're available and you set expectations properly it's absolutely fine for you not to be available all the time. The challenge is that more and more consumers are evaluating every company they do business with in comparison to every other company they do business with. If you are a restaurant, you're not necessarily being compared to another restaurant, you're being compared to Amazon or Sprint or Comcast or whatever company. I just had a really great experience with on social media and who answered my question in 15 minutes or less. So that's the challenge is that you don't get to say, “Well. I'm just a small restaurant.” And so, my customers’ expectations aren't as high because unfortunately you're being compared to all those other companies. Now the good news is those other companies are also being compared to you. So, when he goes into a restaurant and he has a really nice waiter or waitress and the food is delicious and the overall atmosphere and experience are fantastic, the next day when he walks into the Sprint store or some other place, he is comparing that experience to what he just had at the restaurant. So, he thinks that the short answer to the question is, he has always tried it at the companies he has been at to aim for 15 minutes or less, that is best in class across all industries but certainly depending on the size of your company, the size of your customer base and your hours of operation. There's flexibility there.
Yanique stated that Dan mentioned one very important word that she thinks is critical to achieving customer experience and building loyalty. And that's empathy. And asked if he could just share with us what are his views on empathy and why is it even necessary in our customer service environment regardless of the industry that you're in?
Dan stated that it goes back to what he was describing before is the ability to step into the customer's shoes. He thinks that very often companies create products and services and even worse processes that they haven't actually as consumers gone through themselves. So, they make a lot of sense to the company but as a consumer you're stuck going through a process that is difficult or time consuming or doesn't make sense. And when you have a complaint, what you want is somebody to listen to you and to believe your complaint and to be willing to help and all of that kind of gets wrapped up into empathy and the best customer service agents are the ones that are able to step into a customer's shoes, understand that they're frustrated and be willing to try to help them. When people ask him what kind of people you look for in Social Customer Care. He always says you want to look for the customer service qualities first among which empathy is one of the top things to look for because you can teach almost anybody how to do Social Media. It's very difficult to teach empathy and it's very difficult to teach someone to be great at customer service, to want to solve customer problems, to be willing to listen, to be willing to remain objective and not get emotional when a customer is upset. These are things that are really tough to teach and they're kind of innate in people. But when you find those people that are good at that you can teach them Twitter and Facebook, that's pretty easy. He believes that empathy is one of those things that customers are looking for when they're frustrated and when they find it, it eases their frustration and again can make them actually turn the negative experience into a positive one.
Yanique reiterated by saying you take the same approach that you would take to employ someone that you are putting face to face in front of your customer with the right attitude. And then you can teach them the technical skills but that same characteristic that you're looking for in that individual that's who you're going to put in front of your Social Media as well.
Dan agreed stated that when you've got people answering in Social Media they are the face of your brand. The other thing he advise for social agents in particular is to make sure that they're good writers which is something that you don't need necessarily in a phone agent but when you see companies responding to customers and there are spelling and grammar errors that's a reflection on the company and so the people that you select for this really important role, they've got to be good writers, they have to be able to show empathy and patience and caring and a willingness to solve problems because all of that is reflective of your brand.
Yanique stated that the book actually covers a lot of the areas that Dan speaks to. She is encouraging listeners that are going to have the opportunity to listen to this podcast. This book was actually written by Dan and Jay Baer wrote the foreword to the book. Jay Baer was a past guest on our podcast couple months back so you can always archive one of those podcast episodes and listen to Jay. But it's important and just wanted to emphasize to our listeners that this is an awesome book. It focuses on a lot of areas and questions that Dan may not be able to fully answer in this podcast, he's only touching on little areas but he goes deeper in the actual book Winning at Social Customer Care. So, she would encourage all of you and have the opportunity to listen to this episode to head on over to Amazon and purchase this book because this could be your winning tool for 2018.
Yanique mentioned that it's interesting that Dan said that because we are all customers regardless of the businesses that we interface with or the lives that we lead but a lot of the challenges that we face in life that contribute to our stress level being high which leads to chronic illnesses. It really boils down to the interactions and the relationships that we have with people and a lot of it boils down to the services experiences that we have, how we treat each other, how we respond to each other. If more organizations could make an effort to understand how important this is to their business it would actually improve the quality of life not just in the business but generally how we relate to each other in the world, it would improve the world overall.
Dan agreed and said that Jay Baer was on a previous podcast and Jay wrote a terrific book called Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers by Jay Baer and one of the key takeaways there that he loves is that people who complain about your company, complain because they care. The ones we need to be worried about are the ones that have already picked up and moved to our competition. But the ones that are complaining actually care about our brand and want us to be better. And again, there's a sort of a human nature to that that if we're just willing to listen and hear out a customer that has a complaint more often than not we're going to realize that that complaints are valid and that that customer might actually be suggesting ways for our experience to be even better. And as long as we're open minded about that we shouldn't be afraid of complaints, in fact we should welcome them because it's feedback and feedbacks a gift whether you are a company or an individual, getting honest feedback is a real gift. It's what we do with it that matters and he totally agrees, if we had fewer bad experiences with companies we'd probably all be happier as a population.
Yanique mentioned that she is an Otterbox user, she didn't know they had a water proof case, that's awesome. Listening as Dan said is so important and it's not just about going on Twitter and hearing information or looking at what's there but actually using that information, providing it to the people in the business that can actually do something with that information. So, it's good that they listened, they took it back and the team actually did something by creating a product that customers actually wanted because a lot of times in a business your customers are telling you what they want, it's just if you're really listening to what they want or are you just giving them what you think they want.
Yanique mentioned that she liked the fact that he linked marketing and customer experience because she thinks there is a lot of organizations that have these departments and the departments aren’t even speaking to each other so they’re collecting, doing their own thing but they are operating in silos and she’s not sure if marketing has recognized that what they’re doing connects directly to what the customer is experiencing and of course whatever it is that the customer is experiencing needs to filter back into what marketing is doing on their end to ensure that they’re actually meeting the customers’ needs, that’s powerful and that’s like a BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious) that a lot of organizations that light bulb has not gone off in their business as yet for them to recognize that those departments really should be working in tandem with each other.
Dan agreed and stated that how many of us has gone on to a website and have been greeted with an obnoxious pop up ad from the marketing department, the problem is those ads tends to work which is why companies do it but they work at the expense of annoying the 90% of customers that don’t click on it and that’s frustrating and marketers have to be way more aware of the overall customer experience and their contribution to the customer experience than they are today and he believes that silo busting is going to continue to be a theme in 2018 with companies, the ones that are figuring out to get silos integrated with each other instead of separate are going make great strides towards improving the entire customer journey.
Twitter – @dgingiss
LinkedIn - @dangingiss
Yanique agreed and stated that even though it’s just three basic words, it’s not so much the words but it’s the meaning and the purpose that’s in the depth of those words that you really should extrapolate and try to inject into the DNA of your employees so that they can really function from that mindset because you’re right, sometimes things are very simple and we find the most complicated and complex routes to frustrate the poor customers who kind of want to get in and out in the shortest possible time whether it be online, face to face, over the phone, “It’s just a simple question I want answered” and somehow it’s just a very discombobulate way that the organization has put in place for this. If we could really start with that in mind, do simple better, it will definitely improve the quality of all of our lives.