Friday Download – 27 May 2016

A-SOS

One common role of social media networks for consumer brands is customer service outreach. They are a boon for companies, improving abilities to identify and respond to issues in real time, creating massive a more efficient system for customer relations. Some companies go a step further in these efficiencies – creating ‘bots’ to answer customer complaints. This makes sense for some companies. If you’re receiving hundreds (if not thousands) of requests per day, you’d have to employ a pretty sizeable team to respond to all of these issues. While bots – software generating automated responses to customer queries – can save a lot of labour, they also negate the personal attention customers expect from brands, potentially exacerbating a negative experience.

The online clothing outlet ASOS learned this the hard way this week. As one customer filed the same complaints, he kept getting the same responses. To make matters worse, when his friends started commenting on his posts with some friendly banter, ASOS’ bot identified their posts as more complaints, triggering more automated responses asking for their details. At that point, the jig was up. Some of the comments from customers were pretty witty (telling one bot that her fellow bots had all been sacked, for example), but the outcome isn’t great for ASOS, creating a negative news story out of an individual customer complaint. So, remember that the human element is critical on social media. Even if bots are your first line of defence, consider a trigger than flags issues to the human professionals in your customer relations teams.

That’s not to say all bots are bad. There’s something to be said for transparency in using bots for a proactive customer experience, as long as customers don’t feel like they’re being ignored or you’re trying to pull the wool over their eyes. Who knows, you may even chat with a bot to book your next vacation.

MAKING ROOM

Some great news came out of Twitter this week, which should make the more voracious tweeters among you pretty happy. Our summary below:

  • Added media – photos, GIFs, videos and quote tweets – no longer count as characters within tweets.
  • Retweet and Quote Tweet buttons are now available for your own tweets, letting you extend the lifespan of a tweet you think is still relevant or comment on a past prediction.
  • Tweets starting with handles (the @ symbol) will now go out for the world (all of your followers) to see, so no more need to add the ‘.’ to make your tweets public.

Twitter hasn’t yet confirmed when the changes will go live, beyond saying ‘over the coming months’, but we’d imagine you’re like us in saying we can’t wait!

SNAP TUCK

Something we are asked about pretty often by clients and prospective clients is what content they should bother sharing and, in the case of companies like banks or engineering companies, how many people will find this content interesting or tangible. Here with a lesson on unlikely followerships, Dr Miami. Dr Miami, also known as Dr Michael Salzhauer, is a plastic surgeon based in – you guessed it – Miami, Florida, who has become prolific on Snapchat, broadcasting daily life in the office and surgeries. If you’re brave enough to check out his grisly recordings, you’ll be in good company. An average of 800,000 people tune in to watch videos ranging from educational walk-throughs of each incision to the 44 year old dancing around to Fetty Wap holding onto a suction tube during a liposuction procedure. It’s pretty random, a little gross and hopefully educational for those wondering how to cultivate an interesting social media presence for their company. Dr Miami uses a mix of principles we advocate in any social presence: be human; be engaging; be visual; and always add value. Oh, and on the subject of value, he claims that his presence on the platform has grown his business by fivefold.

ALSO THIS WEEK

Wall Street banks putting social media game into overdrive [CNBC]
Facebook trying out continuous live streaming [CNET]
A Facebook feature could sway voting in the EU referendum [FT]
Google Maps to get promoted pins for local businesses [Android Authority]
It’s official: We now get most of our news from social media [Mashable]
SWIPE: The best of the web comes in a hot new physical magazine [The Memo]

AND FINALLY

We ignored the hype about the Chewbacca mask video this week and totally should not have. Members of the team might also be on my way to buy one…

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