Whether you run a business or not, everyone knows ‘the customer is always right’ is the sacred rule of customer service, even when they are wrong. Good customer service is integral in ensuring that customers are not only happy, but they continue to purchase from you and spread positive word-of-mouth.
A few years ago, various companies set up dedicated call centers to serve their massive customer base, with a purpose to provide the best customer services catering to their complaint resolution efficiently. With the evolution of the internet and its widespread access, new techniques to provide positive customer service, such as the ability to email, WhatsApp, or register complaint through the website are introduced for timely resolution.
However, the biggest game-changer for customer service has been social media. With people empowered to share their experience to hundreds and thousands of people in their community, brands need to be quick and efficient when it comes to resolving complaints. This is particularly important when the complainant talks directly to the brand through their inbox or comments on their post.
For example, let’s say a disgruntled customer comments on a post about poor product or service will garner massive eyeballs including brands existing and prospective customers. This can have a negative impact on sales and even their brand image. On the other hand, if the brand is quick enough to respond, empathize, and resolve the customer’s issues, this would reflect positively on sales and further improve the company’s brand image.
All-in-all, the importance of customer service on social media cannot be understated in today’s digitally connected world.
This is particularly difficult for Internet Service Providers (ISPs). ISPs have one of the lowest customer satisfaction rates out of all industries worldwide; this means that a large proportion of their engagement on social media is complaints by their customers. Handling such a large volume of complaints is time-consuming and usually requires a dedicated team working round the clock. It also means coordinating with various stakeholders including, Technology, IT, Customer Care, Technical, Business and Operations teams in order to resolve issues in real-time.
In order to get an idea of how brands provide customer service on social media, we researched how PTCL, one of the largest ICT service providers in the country has evolved in the new digital age. The brand has a large social media presence with over 1.3 million followers on Facebook and 183k on Twitter. Considering that they post on a daily basis, PTCL gets hundreds and even thousands of comments on each post that includes complaints regarding their service. Based on this, they must receive hundreds of inbox messages daily. We looked deeper into how the Customer Service team responds to these comments and interestingly discovered three points that they focus on.
Clarity & Efficiency:
When it comes to getting a new internet connection, people tend to have a lot of questions they want answered. These vary from the cost to internet speed, coverage to products & services are available. PTCL, with its wide range of product offerings, gets several questions regarding their services. The Customer Service team on social media seems to be able to handle that without any issue. Their responses are simple and clear and provide all the information that the customer is asking for.
Furthermore, the team also appears to have their complaint handling system perfectly synced as per customer needs. Since sharing private information is unwise on a public forum, PTCL Customer Service team requests customers to share their details in inbox. From there, another Customer Service Representative takes over and guides the customer on complaint resolution or product information.
It is interesting to note here that PTCL’s Customer Service team stays professional throughout their conversation with the customers and stays courteous and friendly. What’s more impressive is that they converse in the same language the customer uses, be it English or Urdu. Clearly this process is working for them as whenever they check back with the customer, the issue is resolved, and the customer appears satisfied.
Browsing through PTCL’s Facebook official page, we noticed that not only every comment was replied to, they were responded to in timely manner. We deduced from this that PTCL has a dedicated Customer Service and Community Management teams for their social media management, who are available 24×7. Today’s customer requires quick and prompt response and resolution to their queries, thus will appreciate this effort from the national carrier.
Now, while we cannot see their inbox, we do get a sense of how they are faring in that domain. Anyone who knows about Facebook’s response rate knows that Facebook displays a page’s response time once they achieve a 75% response rate. Since PTCL’s FB page shows a response rate (within a few hours), we know that they answer at least 75% of the messages that they receive and they do respond quickly as well.
While Twitter does not show a response rate, a little research led us to notice that PTCL Customer Service team replies proactively on the micro-blogging website as well. This can be further corroborated by Twitter users.
Personality & Proactivity
When it comes to customer service, no one likes talking to a robot. People want a sense of satisfaction that they have been heard and that they are talking to another human being, who is willing to resolve their problem. Thus, the human factor is necessary. In order to do so, PTCL ensures that their responses are lively, empathetic and friendly. They make sure to address the customer by their names, they reply in the same language used by the customer and they use a courteous tone. Interestingly, to create more engagement, they have adopted another strategy that is quite innovative and enjoyable. They are using GIFs in their communication to make it more friendly and creative.
The use of GIFs makes the brand seem more approachable and relevant, rather than monotonous and boring.
It is also pertinent to mention that how proactive and committed PTCL is when it comes to social media. On Twitter, people who want to contact the brand have two options. They can send a Direct Message (DM) or tag them in their tweets. However, some people just mention the brand by name in their tweets and don’t tag them. This means that the brand doesn’t get a notification for the tweet. This practice does not hinder in anyway the efforts of the company as they somehow still manage to reply to tweets that mention them, regardless of whether or not they are tagged!
From their fast response to being super proactive, PTCL Customer Service team is doing a fine job in handling complaints on their social media platforms. While they still get complaints on a daily basis, people are satisfied by how the company is responding to their complaints in a proactive manner.
We came across an incident the other day, which can only be described as a success story in the field of Customer Service. In current situation people are more dependent on internet as you can see below PTCL team was very empathetic and resolved the customer’s issue without any delay.
And this isn’t the only story out there. All throughout PTCL’s social media, you can find customers who received help through social media and had their problems resolved.
This surely has given us hope and strengthened our belief that if an individual or a company puts focus on their customers, customer excellence is not far. We hope other ISPs and brands can also learn how to quickly adapt to the new digital age like PTCL.
As the saying goes: A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all – Michael LeBoeuf.