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Part 3 of 5: Digital Customer Service Champions — Brands Leading the Way

A look at 4 companies that are championing various areas of mobile and social customer service through better and stronger relationships.
Photo from Leadership Hospitality

Welcome back to our 5-part series on the The Future of Mobile and Social Customer Service! In Part 2, we gave our predictions on 5 future features that will enhance your digital customer experience strategy on different channels.

In this post, we will discuss 4 companies that are championing various areas of digital transformation through mobile and social customer service.

1. Delivering proactive social engagement (Hilton Hotels):

How they champion: Most brands are generally reactive on social media (i.e. they wait until customers contact them before they respond). Hilton Hotels, on the other hand, has taken a more proactive customer-centric approach with their digital channels, subverting customer expectations. Last month, we spoke with a Senior Director of Strategy at Hilton and she emphasized how they have been engaging travelers on Twitter. This was the ideal channel for Hilton to build a relationship with customers on the go.

Enter “Hilton Suggests”: An initiative launched in 2012, Hilton staffs a team of 100+ customer support agents who assist travelers in various destinations seeking recommendations via Twitter. The process is simple, yet powerful:

Step 1: Support agents will identify specific location mentions/hashtags on Twitter (Cities, Airports, etc.) and confirm that the traveler is seeking help.

Step 2: Based on the location, an agent will reply to the traveler’s tweet with specific recommendations, related content on their blog, or just wish them a great trip

Chatdesk analyzed thousands of Hilton Suggest tweets within a 3 month period and were amazed to see a 45% traveler response rate, quite high for engaging travelers who may not be Hilton customers.

Following Hilton’s cue, we have observed other leading brands, such as Staples and JackThreads, launch effective proactive customer interactions on Twitter. Look for others to follow.

Example: A Hilton Suggests conversation on Twitter

2. Leveraging “Voice of Customer” Analytics (Zappos):

How they champion: How does Zappos, a global leader in customer care, provide even better service to their customers? By turning its call center into an additional marketing arm. The Zappos team uses multi-channel Voice of Customer (VOC) data and customer feedback to drive effective service-to-sales campaigns.

We recently heard from Todd Martin, Director of Customer Service Technology Systems, around their VOC efforts and below were a few takeaways

  1. Customers are segmented into 11–12 groups, using key data such as purchase trends, contact history, and geo-location
  2. Based on these groups, customer loyalty agents prioritize personalization and tailor their touchpoints to provide unique customer service experiences (Ex: guided conversation workflow within an agent’s CRM that prompts a special product offer based on customer’s purchase history)

This omnichannel approach offers customers a consistent experience across all customer support channels, increasing sales.

Zappos’ service-to-sales conversions have doubled as a result of their VOC analytics efforts.

3. Offering live-video and screen sharing support (Intuit TurboTax):

How they champion: Who says filing your taxes can’t be easy? With its “personal tax adviser” experience, Intuit’s TurboTax has been on a mission to make tax filing painless. A new key service feature allows customers to receive tax guidance from an expert over live video.

Looking to enhance their customer experience, Turbotax identified higher call handle times as a result of support agents spending a lot of time explaining how to navigate the TurboTax app over the phone (e.g. select the button at the top right).

To address this, TurboTax launched its SmartLook feature. SmartLook allows you to connect with a live expert who you can see on your computer or mobile device. Support agents are only able to view the customer’s screen (not the customer) and they provide guidance through drawing on your screen or providing direct answers.

As a result, TurboTax was able to significantly increase customer satisfaction, reduce handle times and gained a popular fan along the way.

Example: Turbotax's "Smartlook" Live Video Experience on Mobile

4. Utilizing Chatbots/Machine Learning (Lufthansa):

How they champion: Consistently named one of the “Top 10 Airlines” by Skytrax, Lufthansa has made customer service innovation and digitization through artificial intelligence one of their strategic focuses.

They’ve been quite busy over the past two years, launching an innovation hub to create new solutions for their users and launching a real-time self-service chatbot for Austrian Airlines, a Lufthansa Group subsidiary.

Mildred, Lufthansa’s “chatbot assistant” on Facebook, is probably their most ambitious innovation yet. Key features are below:

  1. Customers are able to ask Mildred flight information (airport/city landmarks, class, date, etc.) and she will send back the cheapest flights and provide a link for you to book — all through Facebook Messenger, though not on web chat.
  2. Using natural language processing, Lufthansa allows customers to have a human conversation compared to the traditional search engine-style approach, creating a friendly user experience.

Initial feedback has been positive. Look out for more customers opting for mobile bookings vs. traditional web search engines (e.g. Google, Bing, etc.)

Example: Lufthansa's "Mildred" Chatbot Experience on Facebook Messenger

You don't need a Forrester & Gartner report to demonstrate the importance of effective customer engagement on social platforms. As millennials and Gen Z become increasingly popular customer bases, companies must adapt their customer experience strategy. To summarize, below are 4 areas where companies are championing mobile and social service in the customer journey:

  1. Hilton: Delivering proactive customer engagement on social media channels
  2. Zappos: Leveraging “Voice of Customer” Analytics
  3. TurboTax: Offering Live-Video and Screen Sharing Support
  4. Lufthansa: Utilizing Chatbots/Machine Learning

In our next post, Social Writing Guru, Leslie O’Flahavan, will provide tips on how to empower your Customer Service team to use a brand voice that builds rapport with your company and improves your overall customer experience.

Do you know of any other brands that are effectively utilizing social/mobile customer service? Let us know other examples in the comments!

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