Archive for July, 2010

More and more organizations are embracing Social Media as an add on to their existing customer service strategies. Gatwick airport is a recent example.
London Gatwick Airport has recently implemented a Twitter account @Gatwick_airport to receive feedback from travelers. According to Samantha Holgate, the Head of Airport Communications, “…the instantaneous nature of Twitter means that a lot of problems or concerns will be brought to our attention quickly. Problems and concerns that we will ideally be able to do something about.” A prominent sign appears next to the Check Information screen announcing the Twitter address.

In an earlier blog post, I highlighted that Tony Hayward, BP CEO had been removed from being the spokesman for the BP Oil Spill. I speculated that there would be soon be a change in BP Management. Politically, BP had to wait until the well was capped so that a new executive would have a chance to prove himself with the press and the public. It was announced this week that Bob Dudley, an American, would be replacing Tony Hayward effective Oct 1, 2010.

Here’s an excellent recent overview video on Social Media statistics. It is oriented towards executives and marketing departments. But there are lessons for Customer Satisfaction, customer service and public relations professionals as well.

Social Media is changing the customer service discipline in many ways. We are now seeing the emergence of Certification courses to ensure customer service personnel have the right skills to engage in Social Media activities on behalf of their organization. There is an implied assumption that the organizations has a strategy and policies to deal with social media. Those policies needs to be communicated as well.

A recent blog post by Seth Godin reiterates the need to under promise and over deliver but bring up the dilemma of how much. Too little expectation setting leads to no engagement. Setting the bar too high means it is hard to over deliver. A technique that really increases customer satisfaction and loyalty is also discussed in this blog post.

United Airlines is in the news again. After the fiasco with United Breaks Guitars, a video that went viral on Youtube about a damaged guitar, United lost a passenger’s luggage and even after 6 weeks, refused to refund the $25.00 baggage fee they charged. The passenger filed a small claims complaint in a US court. He also wrote about it in Yahoo Finance.

In my years as an Executive at IBM, one of the key factors that affected Customer Satisfaction was the existence of a Technical Sales Organization. A technical sales organization is different from customer service. Customer service gets called after the product is purchased and being used. Technical sales are involved in the sales process before the customer buys. In fact, Technical sales is often a key element of the sales decision process. The Technical Sales organization is a key factor in ensuring customers will be satisfied after the implementation is completed.

Get Satisfaction is a Complaint Aggregator, one of many showing up on the web. Some companies use them as their ‘complaint site’, or monitor the comments, questions and customer service. But other organizations do not know about them nor use them as their official site. 37Signals, a Software organization, recently took Get Satisfaction to task for the lack of transparency. The Get Satisfaction site does not make it ‘evident’ to the user that they may not be on the organization’s official web site.

BP’s Oil spill has put it in the spot light, mostly with negative publicity. BP has attempted to fight back with improved communications on the $20 Billion fund, a new leader and Gulf Coast Restoration organization, clean ups and preparations for hurricanes. It has prepared 4 videos on these subjects but then make them hard to find except on the BP site. Small changes in the company website to improve search engine optimization would help BP’s reputation management cause.

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