Twitter Offers Chatbots In DMs

Twitter is upping its chatbot game.

To better help brands converse with users and offer customer support, the company is launching two new products that will help answer basic questions and address complaints. The new features let companies partner with nearly a dozen third-party services to build automated-message systems specific to each brand.

One of the new products, Welcome Messages, lets businesses “greet” users when they receive a direct message by automatically replying with information about what they can expect from the online exchange. Another product, Quick Replies, lets businesses prompt users on how to get their questions answered without involving a human (or if they need a living, breathing person, to know how they can find one to talk to), not unlike an automated system for customer-service calls.

Nearly a dozen brands are launching automated messaging services using Twitter’s new products, including Evernote, Pizza Hut, Spotify, Tesco, Norton and Airbnb.

The number of tweets from customers to brands’ customer-service handles is on the rise, with total volume increasing two and a half times in the past two years. Direct messages across the platform are also rising steadily. According to the company’s first-quarter earnings letter to shareholders, total unique DMs were up nearly 50 percent in the past year.

Lord knows, I am a fan of this . Last month I spent about 2 weeks in a deep DM session with TMobile to resolve an issue:

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Some Airlines Actually Care.

You’ve seen me banter back and forth with airline carrier Jet Blue. Part of the reason I use them is because they have a great customer service and social customer care acumen.

Recently, GetAirHelp, a legal service that seeks compensation for passengers when a flight has been canceled or delayed, released a survey ranking 34 airlines, not only on performance and delays, but on whether — and how quickly — those airlines are willing to settle up with passengers seeking compensation.

The highest ratings go to Qatar Airways and KLM, while easyJet and SATA International (a Portuguese airline) bring up the rear, according to AirHelp’s survey. The three American companies that were ranked fall solidly in the middle, with Delta leading the way, followed by United and American.

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To use AirHelp’s service, fliers enter the details of a delayed or canceled flight online and AirHelp initiates a claim with the airline.

To date, the business says it has helped nearly 350,000 people file claims and collect more than $33 million in compensation. Along the way, the service has amassed vast amounts of data, which informed the latest survey. The survey ranked the airlines on the following:

• Quality performance, using the scores of Skytrax, an international research organization that publishes independent reviews and ratings of airlines.

• Delay performance, based on departure times in the fourth quarter of 2015.

• Claim processing, using data based on how an airline handles and processes claims, including wrongful rejection of claims.

Here are the 10 top-ranking airlines and their AirHelp scores. I wonder why Jet Blue didn’t make the cut?:

1. Qatar Airways, 8.9
2. KLM, 8.5
3. Air Baltic, 8.2
4. Air France, 8.2
5. Lufthansa, 8.2
6. Air Canada, 8
7. Emirates, 7.9
8. Croatia Airlines, 7.9
9. British Airways, 7.8
10. Finnair, 7.8

Here are the American rankings:

15. Delta, 7.6
20. United, 7.4
21. American, 7.35

Here are the bottom 10:

25. Norwegian Air Shuttle, 7.1
26. Icelandair, 7
27. Alitalia, 7
28. Iberia, 7
29. Aer Lingus, 6.8
30. TAP Portugal, 6.8
31. Swiss, 6.4
32. Virgin Atlantic, 6.2
33. easyJet, 5.8
34. SATA International, 5.2

Brand Tweets: Papyrus

Going to Papyrus is bad for me. I usually plan to buy one card. I come out with cards, candles, journals and smelly pens. It’s a sickness. Well, when I heard that they had a perks program, I was over the moon. That is, until I found out that all that glitters isn’t gold. Here’s how I reacted:

Papyrus

Brand Tweets: Quaker

I’m obsessed with talking to brands on Twitter. I get such a kick out of these interactions and so I thought I’d share them this year. They are super helpful, I get exclusive tips and I feel more connected to the brands. Besides, as I said in my previous post, brands that interact with customers via social win big. Below is one of my favorites:

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Oh, and here’s that reciepe. I haven’t tried it as yet but it sounds like it would hit the spot, post Juno.

4 Social Customer Care Rules to Follow.

T-Mobile. KLM. American Express. These companies do social customer care really well and there’s a reason.

According to a 2014 report from Aberdeen Group,companies with a social care program simply do better than their counterparts. Companies with social care experience see a 5.6% year over year increase in first-contact resolutions, 6.5% increase in agent productivity, and a 17.5% increase in SLA attainment. It’s also five to seven times cheaper to keep a customer than to acquire a new one.

That said, doing social customer care right goes beyond just responding on Twitter or Facebook. You need to create an infrastructure that supports scale and is strong enough to withstand crises.

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Here are just four things you might want to consider in building out your social customer care program.

1. Know Your (Un)happy Customers – Social is one of the first touchpoints for the progressive brands. Most customers are engaging on your brand’s social media channels before they even pick up the phone. This behavior presents brands with the opportunity to resolve issues before they escalate. But the first step is being aware of these conversations. Proactively look at all conversations that could be occurring about your brand via social listening. It keeps you aware of all online mentions of your brand or competitors across hundreds online sources such as social media, news sites, blog posts, videos, and more. It helps your company anticipate and manage negative scenarios before they escalate into a crisis.

2. Communicate Well – It’s imperative that your customer service team, or any team engaging with customers online in a public way for that matter, receives consistent training on how to communicate externally on behalf of your brand. So, ask yourself: Is customer service a part of your social media playbook? Conversely, is there a social media section of your customer service handbook and related training materials? Are there tests in place to ensure that individuals meet a basic criteria of understanding in terms of communication before they are given access to social media as part of their jobs? Is there one brand voice consistent across every location, team, and department at your company? Is there another pair of eyes on social messages or some level of governance? Are multiple departments invested in social care and working from the same platform?

You should be able to answer “YES” to all of the above.

3. Streamline and Personalize Your Engagement – enable the following functionalities in your social media management platform:

  • Customizable approval paths: Depending on the industry, company, and sensitivity of the message, multiple stakeholders might be involved in the message approval. Your social media platform should have approval paths that can be customized to fit your company’s specific needs and it should be scalable enough to include multiple departments, so that all approvals can take place in one environment.
  • Message history: Be aware of past conversations an individual has had with your brand.
  • Audience identification: In addition to conversation history, you’ll also want to create custom profile descriptions of your social audience to provide additional context. This can be achieved through profile tags.
  • CRM integration: The people interacting with your brand on social media are often the same ones interacting with your brand in real life. Uniting your social media platform with your traditional CRM system is necessary to link social profiles with customer information.
  • Pre-approved content repository: A social asset manager (SAM) is recommended for global organizations that need to share content assets across multiple teams and regions. It’s essentially a library of pre-approved content that anyone (with the right permissions, of course) can access.
  • Integration with your paid social media: The worst thing you can do when a customer complains about your product/service is to serve her with a promoted post. Integration across paid, earned, and owned social media in one platform enables you to create automatic rules that prevent users who have raised complaints from being targeted with ads.

4. Evaluate and Optimize in Real Time – The success of your social customer care program depends heavily on your ability to sustain and improve it. There are certain capabilities that you’ll need for optimization.

  • SLA reporting dashboard: How many customer care cases are being resolved? How long does it take for your team to reply? Do your reply rates improve over time? You need SLA dashboards to see your progress in resolving customer problems/inquiries.
  • Audit trail: This allows you to see which agents replied to what, and how they’re replying, which you can use to uncover learning opportunities. Audit trails also provide documentation of your social interactions. Even if a message is deleted on the native channel, your audit trail will store the contents in your platform. This is vital when complications arise.
    Tagging: This will enable you to see what topics are most relevant to your community. If most of your inbound messages related to customer service issues, this would reflect in your reporting and help identify gaps in resources. In addition to inbound tagging, you should also be tagging your outbound messages. This will allow you to see what types of content resonates with your audience. You’ll know for sure if they really prefer videos over the written word, if they like webinars or in-person events, and so on. The more you tag, the more valuable insight you’ll have into your customers’ needs and prospects’ preferences.

Finish Strong.

It’s hard to believe – 2014 will soon be over. This year has demonstrated tremendous lessons, both personal and professional. Here are my top five:
1. Great leaders make the difference. When the wrong people are in position, it can be damn near impossible to get things done. Being a capable leader doesn’t simply rest on your credential or a title. I’m means articulating a vision and trusting your team to execute. It means leading by example and never stooping to the lows of office politics. It means openly, genuinely and frequently recognizing the accomplishments of your team and not magnifying their failures. Dear friends, not all are built to be leaders.
2. Social customer care is everything. I’ve always been obsessed with social customer care before I even knew what that meant. ‎Three years ago I tweeted at Anthropologie and I remember, clear as day, they responded, located the item I was looking for and sent me a coupon within a matter of hours. To this day, I tell that story – they have set the standard for me. I cannot tell you (I’d be too ashamed to) the amount of money I’ve spend with them since then. Yes, I love the uniqueness of their merchandise. But more an that, I’m a fan of the brand and how they handled that incident. This year, as I encountered Pret a Manger, USPS and everyone in between, I carefully watched their moves when it came to customer response. Strong customer response via social matters to the bottom line.
3. You can’t control everything. This year ‎almost everything that I thought I could control slipped right out of my hands. I won’t go into too much detail but we have all heard the saying, “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” That’s the absolute truth. At the top of the year, I became aware of the Sand Mandala. It is is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation and destruction of mandalas made from colored sand. A sand mandala is ritualistically destroyed once it has been completed and its accompanying ceremonies and viewing are finished to symbolize the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life. . It amazed me that these individuals would spend so much time creating something so ornate and then destroy it.  It’s great to focus on a goal but not to be so tied into the process of how you ‎get to the finish line. finish-line-900
4. Take a risk and if you fail, take another. This year, I continued to try out new ways to engage my organization’s social audiences. The previous year, our Facebook and Twitter Chats had been successful. I decided to explore the possibility of using livestream video to bring our annual plan meeting to various stakeholders. Weeks of planning went into the ‘how’ as it was the first time the organization would attempt this type of broadcast. There was hurdle after hurdle: we didn’t have the proper equipment, the internet speed at the venue was shaky. Even two minutes after we went to air there was a glitch – Youtube shut us down as it was picking up the ambient house music and that was in violation if copyright regulations. My team quickly worked on a resolution and it was fixed just as the Chair and CEO stepped to the podium. Had we given up at any point, if we were not relentless about achieving the goal at any cost, we would have failed.
5. You belong. I’ve been attending conference after conference for a solid month. I wanted to gain knowledge in my area of expertise, showcase my skill-set as well as meet leaders in my industry. There was a VP of a worldwide company who was set to panel at one of the events I attended who I was anxious to connect with. I checked his name on the program, determined to speak with him at some point. At the end of day two, I had my opportunity: there he was, packing up his bag and standing alone. Yet, I felt my legs carry my body right past him and out of the door. “Wait, what are you doing?!” I literally said aloud. I walked back to him, stuck out my hand and introduced myself. Long story short, he gave me his direct line and email address. Had I allowed fear to grip me, I would have walked right out of the venue and been cursing myself on the ride home.
In the next 30 days, my focus will be on mindfully observing and influencing the above areas. I’m a strong believer in pushing hard the last leg of the race. Usually, I crank up my Jay Z and I go numb as I run to last mile. Nothing else matters. I’ll let you know how I do.