In today’s ‘always on’ business environment customer service is key to every brand, especially those within the service sector where Twitter is your new hotline number. So how does that tie in with what the Clue Train Manifesto says – that markets are conversations?
A focus on addressing customer concerns or complaints has proven to be pivotal, but it’s just as important to remember the casual conversations you can have with your consumer.
This is where Tesco Mobile separates itself from its competitors. The brand has built its Twitter strategy around replying to customers.
Over 90% of their tweets are replies, and each reply is chatty and informal. Here are 4 ways Tesco Mobile owns the unique space of customized, effective yet cheeky customer relations.
1. Instant Replies
Tesco Mobiles made over 10,000 replies in a period of two months. The brand takes an average of 3 hours to reply to a mention and over 60% of the replies are made within one hour. They also have a uniform reply cycle, meaning they reply to as many tweets as possible (?) on any day and quickly respond on any day of the week. While a regular call center is typically open only five or six days of the week, the Tesco Mobiles Twitter support center is open all week long.
2. Cheeky lines make for a whole content strategy
You’d be surprised at how much people enjoy bold, tongue in cheek replies. It’s safe to assume many brands impose strict guidelines on what can and cannot be said and subject each tweet from an official handle to multiple rounds of scrutiny but in the case of Tesco Mobile, creative freedom has resulted in a positive reaction.
Except for the handful of tweets that carry a link, almost all their replies are custom typed plain text. Tesco mobile employs mischievous lines and irreverent remarks to capture the reader’s attention. Their humour has become so popular that people now tweet the brand for no reason at all.
As a result the brand engages in a variety of conversations with their end customer, making their markets about conversations. That’s how they keep in line with the Clue Train Manifesto.
@AdamKirk97 We’re sorry babz, we thought we’d left our house key at yours. Panic over. Forgive us?
— Tesco Mobile (@tescomobile) February 21, 2014
@NiitroPD_AFC Mate, your buffness is off the chart, shame it’s the wrong end. — Tesco Mobile (@tescomobile) January 20, 2014
Recently AdWeek did a feature on Tesco Mobiles and caught up with their agency, Jam which explained how the brand’s hilarious Twitter feed is no joke and that the strategy is a conscious effort to re-energize the brand’s online presence. Daniel Deeks-Osburn, brand manager at Jam, said “By creating content that’s authentic to the brand and consumer, we’re creating a story people want to engage with. That’s true brand advocacy.” The strategy has gone a long way to make Tesco Mobiles a customer service leader as the brand’s efforts have been acclaimed by many.
3. Exclusive customer service handle
Though Tesco Mobile answers and solves concerns under the @tescomobile handle itself, the brand has also set up a dedicated handle (@tescomobilecare) that focuses entirely on support. This Twitter account clearly establishes the faces behind the tweets and supplements the main brand handle .The only downside to the handle is that it operates only during the day shift.
So does it make sense for brands to have separate Twitter handles for customer support and to redirect users to another handle? Micah Solomon, customer service expert and author of High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service believes that this strategy works as long as no one falls through the gaps, ““redirected” should be something different from “ignored.” Proper redirection involves a) doing the redirect correctly and b) ensuring through follow-up that nothing fell through the cracks.”
According to Solomon, what is unacceptable is when a customer’s complain is forgotten, or help is denied due to insufficiency of information or authority. “There are a few different ways to approach this, but “calls” getting “dropped” isn’t acceptable. Nor is what an airline did to me the other day: saying “baggage lost isn’t handled through this account.””
4. Don’t build walls on your Facebook “wall”
In the process of exploring Twitter’s fluidity as a customer support channel, brands often forget Facebook. Though a brand’s Facebook wall can be locked and restrictions on posting content can be imposed, an angry consumer will not refrain from posting a comment on one of the brand’s promotional posts. To avoid this kind of a reaction, it’s always smart to keep the doors open and allow people to voice their issues.
Tesco received almost 600 fan posts in January and February, and they replied to over 92% of these posts. What is perhaps most interesting about their replies is that they don’t direct the consumer to a helpline number or email but have multiple dialog exchanges with the person and arrive at a viable solution on the social network itself.
Customer service has always only aimed at resolving an immediate consumer issue whereas Tesco Mobile has taken it one level higher and converted it into customer relations and conversations. Customer service, though essential is remembered only temporarily whereas building a relationship with the consumer creates a special brand-human bond. And that is the kind of equation that will benefit any brand in the long run.
So what is the result of all this focus on customer care on social media? Interestingly, in a recent Mobile Network Provider Satisfaction Survey, Which? Magazine recommended Tesco Mobiles and commended its customer service. The brand was also voted 12th best brand at customer service by Marketing Week’s Top 100 Brands for Customer Experience.
Unmetric compiled this report by sourcing data from its own benchmarking platform. Data and insights on brand activities on Twitter were analyzed for the period of January 01- February 28, 2014. To access all this data, sign up for a 6 day trial.