Social Media Killed the Call Center Star

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Social Media is changing the way customers engage with brands. This works both good and bad ways, depending on how the brand utilizes social media. Social Care is the new wave in customer service, but really is just another channel for delivering what should be uniform customer service across all mediums. Here’s one customer experience with a few good examples and why he takes it personally.

Image courtesy-Social Bakers
Image courtesy-Social Bakers

The transition of customer experiences from traditional methods like walk-in to call centers and now more recently to social media has seen an interesting pattern. Like fish, customers generally swim in a common direction. This causes pressure to create new, more effective and efficient methods of channeling new volumes of demand.

A recent series of experiences has left a smile on my face, and I think this deserves my latest article on the waves that social media is creating in becoming the single most important way of retaining customers.

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After having deployed what has become a highly effective social care model at one of my former companies, wi-tribe Pakistan, I have since begun to implement the same principles at a much larger institution, British Council. While I am responsible mainly for the wider south Asian region, which comprises 6 countries, this is a global initiative I am working on with the HQ teams as well as my incredibly supportive counter-parts across the 8 regions we cover globally (110 countries).

#Socialcare as we dub it, in honor of my previous effort in 2010, has been making the headlines since the turn of 2014. Social Bakers, the world’s expert in social metrics, have even developed a rating standard, which I have absolutely set as my first target.

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While KLM retains the title for #1 in social care by the Bakers in Prague, it’s only recently that I have truly encountered what that means as they attempt to book my tickets to Rome via twitter in their effort to re-acquire me as a customer, which is far costlier than retaining existing customers.

At the same time, the largest bank in Dubai, Emirates NBD has also delighted me by providing the simplest but most essential of customer service by responding on twitter, then following up by calling me on their initiative. They looked up my information and called me…I was pleasantly surprised; already exceeding the call center level of support and product knowledge.

At a recent training I held with a colleague in Sri Lanka for our regional customer service team, I shared a slide which stated “to provide good customer service, simply provide customer service”. Everyone is competing to delight the customer with nifty tricks and clever tactics, when I came to realize that if you just provide basic customer service, you are already exceeding your industry’s current standard. Maybe in that effort the delight factor will surface anyway.

Most companies are not very socially savvy. They may be present on social media, like my favorite airline Emirates, however responding to customer queries or providing hands-on support is an entirely different matter.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the Game changer.

While my relationship with the Dutch airline and Emirati Bank evolves, it’s nice to know that the basic essence of #CustomerService still exists. Only difference is, it has since changed homes.

Social Care is ‘Social Media’ integrated with ‘Customer Care‘, to be confused with its traditional definition but not just for the elderly, for all mankind.

See it for yourself, follow:

@KLM, the world’s first airline for good airline social care

@EmiratesNBD, Dubai’s largest bank, for good banking social care

@witribePK, Pakistan’s favorite broadband company, for good internet social care

Infographic- Socially Devoted.
Infographic- Socially Devoted. Image credit-Social Bakers

(Zohare is a Regional Head of Digital for Wider South Asia at The British Council, responsible for strategy, management and the operational success of their digital presence. Previously he was with the likes of Ooredoo (formerly Qtel Group), Acumen and Nortel.

A graduate of Bucknell University (USA), Zohare has extensive experience working with global leaders in Telecoms, Venture/Patient Capital and Social Enterprise. He believes strongly in the synergy between digital and offline engagement strategies.

Zohare is just trying to demystify digital by making it user-friendly. He tweets as @JJBaybee)

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