This is the first post I’ve written for a few weeks and since my last post, my Klout score has miraculously risen from 52 to a high at one point of 60. I’m realising though that to actually maintain that score takes a lot of effort, and to increase it, even more effort. Part of the reason for the increase in my score was that two followers gave me a ‘K+’ for customer service. So I’m hugely grateful to @KRCraft and @JustinFlitter.

But what does this really mean for me?

Am I suddenly more social? And because my score goes down because I’ve got other things to do, does that mean I become less social? I’m not sure.

If I think of this from a social customer care context what are the implications of someone with a rising Klout score? Do they suddenly become more influential? More dangerous? A greater risk if I ignore them should they complain? Should I suddenly ‘follow’ them, try to become their friend, try to have a conversation with them?

And conversely if their Klout score should start to fall, should I care a little less about them? If they complain and their Klout score is below 50, should I not be so concerned?

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I read two articles recently.

The first – How long is too long to wait for customer service. This short article showed two lists. One with the ten companies with the shortest call hold times, the other with ten companies with the quickest email response times.

This got me thinking about the notion of ‘quickest’.

Is being on hold for three minutes ‘quick’? I know that it is quicker than being on hold for ‘four’ or ‘five’ or ‘15’ minutes.

Is having your email answered in 48 minutes or five hours or three days ‘quick’?

Does the ‘quickest’ email or the ‘shortest’ call hold time suddenly become the slowest or the longest when you don’t get what you want?

What do you focus on? Trying to give the customer what they set out to achieve? Or being the quickest?

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The other article I read was an interview on the Econsultancy blog – Start me up! A profile of email sentiment service Chorus. According to the interview: Chorus is sentiment analysis for customer support emails. The post finishes with one of the founders sharing their vision of the future for Chorus: …always being able to answer the question “which customer needs my attention the most right now”.

Effectively, Chorus tries to rise above the traditional time-stamped nature of customer service, and brings in elements such as ‘sentiment analysis, social influence, topic and theme’. The end result is a far richer customer service picture that allows me to in theory, and this is my interpretation, prioritise:

  • issues over customers
  • customers over customers
  • issues over issues
  • customers over issues

This got me thinking about change and how over the last two to three years the changes that have taken place within customer service are truly profound.

For companies, they have a far richer set of tools to communicate, engage and understand their customers, and a far more complex and disjointed customer service proposition to participate in.

For customers, the changes have been no less dramatic. The decentralisation of the service ecosystem on the one hand combined with the democratisation of communication channels on the other.

Software such as Chorus is just one part of that emergent ecosystem. The thought I struggle with, however, is that unless companies choose to focus on resolving root cause, the true potential of social will continue to be overlooked in favour of short term PR plasters.

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So what is the connection between these three stories?

I’m not sure to be honest. But I do know this. Customer service is in a period of transition, new ways of working and communicating are emerging alongside ‘how we’ve always done it’. Whether you succeed in this increasingly social world is not down to the incredible technology that bombards us every day, but rather the thinking that lies behind it. Where you choose to look is down to you.

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