tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/online-customer-service Latest Online customer service content from Econsultancy 2016-05-11T01:30:00+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67805 2016-05-11T01:30:00+01:00 2016-05-11T01:30:00+01:00 How Indonesian marketers are tackling data management & CX Jeff Rajeck <ul> <li>Nearly eight in ten (79%) said <strong>telephone support,</strong> </li> <li>Three-quarters (75%) indicated <strong>retail outlets / stores,</strong> </li> <li>And nearly three in five (58%) chose <strong>offline brand advertising.</strong> </li> </ul> <p>It seems, therefore, that <strong>offline touchpoints are still very much on the minds of marketers.</strong></p> <p>How do offline touchpoints influence CX, though, and how well are brands are integrating offline with online data to improve their customers' experiences?</p> <p>To find out, Econsulancy recently invited dozens of client-side marketers in Jakarta, Indonesia to discuss this and other customer experience (CX) topics.  </p> <h3>About the roundtables</h3> <p>The roundtables covered three topics all related to CX and were moderated by subject matter experts from Econsultancy and our event sponsor IBM. </p> <p>Client-side marketers brought experiences from many different companies and industries and openly discussed their success stories and challenges with the group.</p> <p>Below is a summary of the main talking points taken from the table with the topic Joining Offline and Online Channels Data.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4562/joining.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>Trends</h3> <p>Participants first discussed the industry trends which were driving an interest in online and offline channel data for improving customer experience.</p> <h4>1. Offline consumer behavior is being used to innovate</h4> <p>Brands are increasingly taking note of their customers' behavior at multiple touchpoints as a way of gathering offline data.</p> <p>One participant, from an FMCG brand, described how they partner with retail stores in order to get data on how customers interact with their products.  </p> <p>Another from the tourism industry has relationships with events companies to do the same.</p> <p>In both cases, the<strong> brands use offline and qualitative data in order to identify customer interests and pain points</strong> which help them improve their product and marketing strategies.</p> <h4>2. Brand touchpoints also being used to gather data</h4> <p>Other brands said that they are using their own offline touchpoints in order to map the customer journey.</p> <p>One participant from the hospitality industry said that they collect data throughout a customer's visit to their hotel.  </p> <p>For each customer, the firm keeps track of the type of room booked, how the customer uses the room, and what the facilities the customer uses when they stay at the hotel.</p> <p>The <strong>online and offline data is compiled and analysed to create a complete customer profile.</strong></p> <p>Then, with this profile the hospitality group can provide better services and market more effectively to each of their customers.</p> <h4>3. The importance of content is increasing</h4> <p>Many brands now use content in order to attract customers, find out what they are interested in, and deliver them the information they need to have a great brand experience.</p> <p>Because of content's multiple uses, it's not a surprise to see that, in a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/state-of-email-and-marketing-automation-in-south-east-asia/">recent Econsultancy survey</a>, marketers in South-East Asia indicated that content marketing was the most likely programme to keep its budget in 2016.</p> <p>One attendee from the building industry noted that<strong> new technology, such as virtual reality (VR), will only make content more popular with marketing departments.</strong></p> <p>He said that providing VR tours of properties will revolutionize the experience customers have with property firms.</p> <p>The data which will be available from such experiential content will be incredibly valuable for marketers in the future.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4563/joining_2.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>Challenges</h3> <p>But along with trends which are helping marketers make more use of online and offline channels, attendees noted that there were challenges as well.</p> <h4>1. Data silos</h4> <p>Participants noted that internal departments tend to keep hold of their own data, and so marketers find it difficult to integrate the data necessary to get a holistic view of the customer journey.</p> <p>However it's important to address this challenge head on, according to one participant, as<strong> internal data integration is the best way to improve marketing strategy</strong> and, as a result, the experience you provide to customers.</p> <h4>2. Outdated database technology</h4> <p>Another challenge that marketers faced was that the database technology used by many of the firms was out-of-date and not suitable for developing a single view of the customer. </p> <p>Others agreed. Participants from our Customer Experience Management table noted that having a high-quality CRM was key to moving forward with CX initiatives.</p> <p>This point was reinforced by a participant from the telco industry who said that <strong>obtaining and utilizing big data is essentially the 'holy grail' of CX.</strong>  The more detail you can obtain about how your customers use your services, the better.</p> <p>So it was overwhelmingly agreed that old database technology was a challenge which had to be addressed by marketers.</p> <h4>3. The not-yet-digital customers</h4> <p>Though Indonesia is rapidly coming online, only approximately 20% of the population use the internet regularly. </p> <p>This is another challenge for marketers as it means that a lot of the data they need to improve CX will be locked up in offline channels and touchpoints.</p> <p>No quick solutions were offered for this challenge, but one participant noted that <strong>the tools to collect and manage offline data were still too expensive</strong> for his company.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4564/joining_3.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>Best Practices</h3> <p>Attendees also listed a couple of best practices for improving how marketers gather and utilize online and offline data in order to improve CX.</p> <h4>1. Convince the C-level that CX is important</h4> <p>After hearing about the difficulty and expense of gathering and analysing data, most participants agreed that <strong>improving CX requires buy-in from the top.</strong></p> <p>In order to do this, marketers have to first come up with the measurement metrics that management look for when deciding whether to invest in technology.</p> <p>As both online and offline data offer the potential to improve CX and increase revenue, marketers should incorporate the 'data story' into future requests for increase in technology budget.</p> <h4>2. Prioritize on improving CX</h4> <p>Finally, participants said that<strong> the priority should be on using data in order to understand the customer journey, the pain points, and the interest customers have in the various aspects of what our brands offer.</strong></p> <p>Too often, one asserted, marketers are busy chasing creative ideas or testing out a new channel and forgetting about what we are all here for, providing a better service for our customers.</p> <p>By working harder on gathering and utilizing our online and offline customer data and spending less time blasting irrelevant message out to them, our marketing should improve CX metrics and improve other KPIs as well.</p> <h3>A word of thanks</h3> <p>Econsultancy would like to thank all of the client-side marketers who participated on the day and our sponsor for the event, IBM.</p> <p>We would like to extend a special thanks to the table moderator for the Joining Up Online and Offline Channels Data table, Pungkas Riandika, Corporate Head of Digital Marketing at Kawanlama Retail.</p> <p>We appreciate all of the helpful discussion points participants provided on the day and we hope to see you all at our upcoming Econsultancy events!</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4566/moderators.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67803 2016-05-10T00:10:00+01:00 2016-05-10T00:10:00+01:00 Practical tips for getting a CX management programme off the ground Jeff Rajeck <p>What does it even mean to launch a CX management programme? And how are marketers overcoming barriers?</p> <p>To find out, Econsultancy invited dozens of client-side marketers in the Indonesian megacity Jakarta to discuss CX management at roundtable discussions.</p> <h3>About the roundtables</h3> <p>The roundtables covered three topics all related to CX and were moderated by subject matter experts from Econsultancy and our event sponsor IBM. </p> <p>Delegates brought experiences from many different companies and industries and openly discussed their success stories and challenges with the group.</p> <p>Below is a summary of the main talking points taken from the discussions around <strong>Customer Experience Management</strong>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4505/cx_management_table2.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>CX management programmes explained</h3> <p>Though participants agreed that Customer Experience was well understood, how to plan an initiative to manage CX was not. (For those still in the dark about CX, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67168-so-what-exactly-does-customer-experience-cx-mean/">read Econsultancy's overview here</a>.)</p> <h4>It starts with strategy</h4> <p>CX management programmes start with a strategy to encourage an organization to improve the customer's interaction with the company as a whole instead of just focusing on the performance of individual touchpoints.</p> <p>It differs from traditional marketing by putting the customer's opinion as the success factor, not necessarily clicks or conversions. </p> <p>The aim is to deliver 'moments of magic' which delight customers, according to one participant.</p> <h4>How do you launch a CX management programme?</h4> <p>Attendees agreed that there are three steps to implementing a CX management programme: </p> <ol> <li> <strong>Map the customer journey</strong>. Note all of the touchpoints customers use before, during, and after a purchase.</li> <li> <strong>Implement central management of touchpoints</strong>. This is required to provide a consistent CX.</li> <li> <strong>Improve touchpoints.</strong> Marketers then improve the overall CX through improving the channels which make up the customer touchpoints. </li> </ol> <h4>How do you measure success?</h4> <p>Instead of measuring conversion metrics of one individual channel, participants said that it is necessary to survey customers to get their opinions and to see how many have become advocates for the company.</p> <p>Using Net Promoter Score (NPS), <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65610-what-is-customer-experience-and-how-do-you-measure-it">described in detail here</a>, is a commonly-adopted metric for measuring CX success.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4508/table.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>Barriers to launching a CX management programme</h3> <p>Participants noted that there are many barriers to overcome when launching a CX management programme.</p> <h3>Organisational barriers</h3> <p>First off, <strong>many departments need to collaborate for a CX programme to be successful</strong>. Sales, Marketing, IT, Retention and Customer Service need to be at the table when a CX management programme kicks off.</p> <p>Also, because cooperation between so many departments is required, <strong>CX initiatives can be hard for marketers to manage</strong>, according to attendees.  </p> <p>Many of these departments do not typically report into the CMO, so starting a CX management programme can require a lot of work.</p> <p>And finally, even when everyone is at the table, <strong>conflicts of interest makes it hard to implement change</strong>.</p> <p>Participants noted that changing the mindset in the organisation from channel-centric to customer-centric is a difficult task.</p> <h4>Overcoming organisational barriers</h4> <p>Thankfully the tables had participants who had overcome some of these issues.</p> <p>One said that <strong>it is important to have someone in management take ownership of CX</strong> to push the project forward.  </p> <p>Without having someone to remove roadblocks in other departments, CX management programmes are very difficult to iplements</p> <p>Another said that <strong>a CX programme also needs someone in marketing to take ownership of the day-to-day work</strong> required to make the programme a success.  </p> <p>Duties for this role include setting KPIs for the various departments, producing KPI reports, and managing the CRM (more on this below).</p> <p>Finally, organisational barriers can be overcome, according to attendees, by having regular meetings with the divisions to give status updates. Without these, CX programmes are quickly forgotten, one participant noted.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4506/cx_management.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>Technical barriers</h3> <p>Attendees noted that CX management programmes require technology to be successful as well.</p> <p>All agreed that <strong>a well-developed customer relationship management (CRM) tool was the most important system</strong> for a CX management programme.</p> <p>This was a barrier for most participants as they were working with a CRM tool which was unable to report on the CX journey or conduct analysis on touchpoints.  </p> <p>Additionally, everyone was having problems with recording, measuring, and reporting offline data.</p> <h4>Overcoming technical barriers</h4> <p>Once management are convinced that a CX management programme is a worthwhile effort, they need to allocate budget as well.</p> <p>Attendees said that when asking for budget for the CRM system, <strong>marketers should also ensure that they have budget for the resource to manage the CRM</strong> as well.</p> <p>In order to get that level of buy-in, argued one participant, <strong>the marketing department should first develop strong KPIs for each department involved in the programme</strong>.  </p> <p>This will help both with budget and illustrate the positive impact the CX programme will have on each department.</p> <p>And finally, with a CX management resource, <strong>the team should commit to delivering data, insights, and competitor analysis</strong> to demonstrate ongoing success. Reporting ROI will help too!</p> <h3>Market barriers</h3> <p>Participants then discussed some of the challenges that Indonesia and other developing markets face when launching a CX management programme.</p> <p>Indonesia has transformed dramatically in the last five years. Internet users in the country have doubled since 2010 and the younger generation are much more 'information seeking' than older generations.</p> <p>So, it is a challenge for companies to keep in step with both the 80% of the country which is non-digital and the 20% which is newly digital. </p> <h4>Overcoming market barriers</h4> <p>One of the most important ways to deliver excellent CX to a market in flux is to acknowledge that<strong> offline interactions may still be more important than digital.</strong></p> <p>Then, when launching your programme be sure to include them, even though offline touchpoints are much more difficult to manage and measure.</p> <p>Also, one marketer said that their company had very successfully educated offline customer about their digital channels, which improved their ability to provide high-quality customer experiences, measure the effect, and improve continuously.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4504/cx_management_table.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>The CX management future is bright</h3> <p>Overall, marketers agreed that there is a strong will to make Indonesia the South-East Asia role model for CX.</p> <p>With its human capital, striving marketers, and growing digital society, attendees said that Indonesia has the potential to be a CX world leader without limits.</p> <h3>A word of thanks</h3> <p>Econsultancy would like to thank all of the client-side marketers who participated on the day and our sponsor for the event, IBM.</p> <p>We would like to extend a special thanks to the table moderator for the Customer Experience Management:<strong> Frederik Neust, Digital Marketing Manager at Celebrity Fitness Group.</strong></p> <p>We appreciate all of the helpful discussion points participants provided on the day and we hope to see you all at our upcoming Econsultancy events!</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4507/moderators2.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67776 2016-04-27T01:30:00+01:00 2016-04-27T01:30:00+01:00 Joining up offline & online data channels in Singapore Jeff Rajeck <p>One of the biggest barriers to success, though, is joining up online and offline channels data.  </p> <p>So, <strong>how are companies handling to the O2O data challenge?</strong></p> <p>To find out, Econsulancy recently invited dozens of client-side marketers in Singapore to discuss progress on this and other CX topics.  </p> <h3>About the roundtables</h3> <p>The roundtables covered three topics all related to CX and were moderated by subject matter experts from Econsultancy and our event sponsor IBM. </p> <p>Delegates brought experiences from many different companies and industries and they openly discussed their success stories and challenges with the group.</p> <p>Below is a summary of the main talking points taken from the discussions around joining up online and offline data channels.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4244/cx.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>What is O2O?</h3> <p>In order to figure out how companies were joining data from both online and offline channels, participants on the day first wanted to define what O2O meant to their brands.</p> <p>They arrived at three high-level definitions. To the attendees, O2O meant delivering: </p> <ul> <li>A non-stop loop of activation.</li> <li>Seamless brand presence.</li> <li>And a lasting impression.</li> </ul> <p>For each of these, participants offered real-world examples and thoughts about the data required to make them happen.</p> <h3>A non-stop loop of activation</h3> <p>If there is one thing which is always top of mind for marketers it is activating visitors and making them customers.  </p> <p>Too often, however, online and offline activations are siloed, as are the resulting customer data.</p> <p>What businesses should aim for instead, according to participants, is connecting existing online and offline customer activation initiatives.</p> <p>Doing so will amplify reach, conversions, and tracking and create a 'non-stop loop of activation.'</p> <p>The aim is an O2O campaign which is more than the sum of its parts. ROI will increase for both the online and offline portions.</p> <h4>Example</h4> <p>An example of this virtuous circle was Singtel's 'Need 4G Speed' campaign. </p> <p>The goal was to encourage more customers to recontract and purchase devices which supported the new 4G service.  </p> <p>Singtel used both online and offline advertising for the campaign and highlighted a hashtag (#need4gSpeed) in each.</p> <p>When potential searched the hashtag on Twitter they found a series of entertaining videos created with the help of a local celebrity and suggestions from the public.  </p> <p>Once there, visitors were encouraged to register online, visit a Singtel shop and participate in creating the videos.</p> <p>The online to offline experience started with a single piece of data, the hashtag, which then led visitors to more promotional, as well as entertaining, content.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4237/need4gspeed.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="450"></p> <h3>Seamless brand presence</h3> <p>Another aspect of CX which requires both online and offline data is ensuring that the customer has a consistent brand experience.</p> <p>This is becoming more important as the buyer's journey involves an increasing amount of touchpoints.  </p> <p>A brand which cannot offer consistent information along the journey is at risk of looking out-of-touch with the customer.</p> <p>With the right data, though, offers and recommendations can be made through both online and physical channels, say at point-of-purchase for someone using a loyalty card.</p> <p>Using data in this way has an impact across the whole marketing ecosystem, according to one participant.  </p> <p>Another suggested that brands will be using data more in this way now that convenience, offers and recommendations are valued over privacy by most consumers.</p> <p>The importance of the customer journey to marketers was highlighted in a recent global survey by Econsultancy, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/understanding-the-customer-journey/">Understanding the Customer Journey: More Than Just Online</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4239/Capture.PNG" alt="" width="626" height="430"></p> <p>Survey respondents indicated that understanding the customer journey had wide-ranging benefits from identifying cutomer pain points to driving revenue and profits.  </p> <p>Managing online and offline data effectively can help accomplish these goals to a great extent.</p> <h3>Lasting impression</h3> <p>The third way that high-quality O2O management affects CX is by leaving a positive, lasting impression of the brand with the customer.</p> <p>With the right data, brands can design promotions which are impactful at each touchpoint:</p> <ul> <li>Offline promotions to drive online behavior.  </li> <li>Online promotions to drive online visits.</li> </ul> <p>This may sound easy, but execution is very complicated.</p> <p>One participant said that the key to driving this sort of behaviour is to first be able to segment your offers, then to target the segments with offers which speak specifically to their goals.  </p> <p>Brands, then, create bridges between the online and offline through relevant and personal campaigns.</p> <h4>An example</h4> <p>Starbucks is a great example of a company that has been able to create a lasting brand impression through its use of both online and offline channels.</p> <p>Visitors who register with Starbucks and pre-pay their loyalty card unlock useful features on an app.</p> <p>The app allows smartphone users to:</p> <ul> <li>Pay for an order.</li> <li>Earn points.</li> <li>Place and pay for a customized order before arriving.</li> <li>Send gift cards.</li> <li>And even find out what songs are being played at their local Starbucks.</li> </ul> <p>Then, when the person visits the store and pays with the app, Starbucks can register their visit and use it to make better, more relevant offers for the customer.</p> <p>One participant said linking up online and offline data to this extent is almost like placing an 'offline cookie' on the customer.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4240/starbucks_reward_card_singapore.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="534"></p> <h3>So...</h3> <p>Joining up online and offline data is essential for brands that are trying to provide excellent CX through both physical and digital channels.</p> <p>Doing so well allows brands to create virtuous circles of activations, a brand presence which extends between the mediums, and leave a lasting impression on customers to keep them coming back for more.</p> <h3>A word of thanks</h3> <p>Econsultancy would like to thank all of the client-side marketers who participated on the day and our sponsor for the event, IBM.</p> <p>We would like to extend a special thanks to the table moderator for the Joining Up Online and Offline Channels Data table, <strong>Bilal Serlaman, Regional Marketing Manager of APAC &amp; ANZ at EXFO.</strong></p> <p>We appreciate all of the helpful discussion points participants provided on the day and we hope to see you all at our upcoming Econsultancy events!</p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4243/Untitled.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="547"></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67551 2016-02-22T14:51:25+00:00 2016-02-22T14:51:25+00:00 Private messaging is social's next big ad frontier Patricio Robles <p><a href="http://techcrunch.com/2016/02/18/facebook-messenger-ads/">According to</a> a document obtained by TechCrunch, Facebook plans to bring ads to Messenger, its messaging app, in the second quarter of the year:</p> <blockquote> <p>The document...says businesses will be able to send ads as messages to people who previously initiated a chat thread with that company. To prepare, the document recommends that businesses get consumers to start message threads with them now so they'll be able to send them ads when the feature launches.</p> <p>The document also notes that Facebook has quietly launched a URL short link fb.com/msg/ that instantly opens a chat thread with a business. Facebook confirmed the existence of the URL short link functionality. That seems to back up the validity of the leaked document.</p> </blockquote> <p>Those short links are already active and available to all Pages. According to TechCrunch's Josh Constine and Jon Russell, Facebook is already working with a number of brands, including Canadian telecom provider Rogers, to use the short links for customer service use cases.</p> <p>Interestingly, according to the document they obtained, "If businesses achieve a 90 percent response rate to messages within 24 hours over the past week, their Messenger handle will become searchable on Facebook."</p> <p>What isn't clear at this point is what Messenger ads will look like and what restrictions Facebook will place on their use beyond limiting ads to users they've interacted with previously.</p> <p>Ostensibly there will be some restrictions designed to ensure that overzealous businesses don't bombard users with unwanted ads. </p> <p><em>For more on this, read: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67553-what-will-facebook-messenger-ads-mean-for-marketers/">What will Facebook Messenger ads mean for marketers?</a></em></p> <h3>Twitter joining the messaging wars?</h3> <p>While Facebook appears to be prepping to make Messenger more business-friendly, Twitter looks like it is preparing to make its service more messaging-oriented and business-friendly as well.</p> <p>On Thursday, in an effort to better support customer service use cases, Twitter <a href="https://blog.twitter.com/2016/making-customer-service-even-better-on-twitter">announced</a> that it has launched the ability to add deep links to tweets that initiate Direct Messages.</p> <p>To enable this feature, a business must update its privacy settings to allow Direct Messages from all users.</p> <p>After that, deep links can be added to tweets by adding a link with the format <em>https://twitter.com/messages/compose?recipient_id={numeric user ID}</em></p> <p>In addition, Twitter announced a new feature, Customer Feedback, that gives businesses the opportunity to poll users after a customer service interaction.</p> <p>Initially set to launch with select partners, Twitter hopes that Customer Feedback will help brands obtain quantitative data about these interactions.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2122/NPSFeedbackhalf.gif" alt="" width="199" height="353"></p> <p>"Care teams have told us they love the open-ended feedback they get from people via Tweets and Direct Messages, but they also need the ability to survey customers in a structured way to better measure and improve their service experience," Twitter product manager Ian Cairns explained.</p> <blockquote> <p>With this feature, businesses will be able to use two industry standard question formats: Net Promoter ScoreSM (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT).</p> </blockquote> <h3>How will users react?</h3> <p>While there is no disputing the fact that large numbers of consumers are using social channels for customer service, and are interacting with brands generally on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, it's not clear that they'll welcome the growing commercialization of messaging experiences that are largely personal today.</p> <p>Facebook in particular could be courting a backlash by introducing ads to Messenger.</p> <p>WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, who joined Facebook's board of directors after <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67536-three-dark-social-channels-with-a-billion-active-users-how-to-use-them/">WhatsApp</a> was acquired by Facebook for more than $19bn, previously voiced opposition to ads.</p> <p>So did Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, who stated, "I don't personally think ads are the right way to monetize messaging" after his company bought WhatsApp.</p> <p>But with <a href="http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2016/01/heres-to-2016-with-messenger/">more than 800m</a> active users each month, it's going to be increasingly difficult for Facebook to ignore Messenger's ad monetization opportunities.</p> <p>Of course, if Facebook doesn't tread carefully as it explores these, and users revolt, it could make it more difficult for businesses to use Facebook to provide customer service.</p> <p>After all, if people become aware of the fact that their customer service interactions are what allow for ads to be delivered to them via Messenger later, they might avoid using Facebook for customer service altogether.</p> <p>Another possibility is that social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and their business users, will find ways to embed ads in messaging experiences in ways that don't turn users off.</p> <p>For inspiration, they might look to the East, where popular Chinese messenger apps <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67490-10-things-you-didn-t-know-about-wechat">like WeChat</a> are much advanced when it comes to monetization.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67343 2015-12-17T10:06:00+00:00 2015-12-17T10:06:00+00:00 Do new features make Facebook a viable customer service platform? Patricio Robles <p>One of the use cases Facebook is most focused on is customer service.</p> <p>While there's still skepticism about social media as a customer service channel, and some businesses have been reluctant to embrace it as such, the reality is that customers are using services like Facebook and Twitter to seek support from the companies they do business with.</p> <p>In an effort to better support customer service interactions, Facebook <a href="https://www.facebook.com/business/news/new-tools-for-managing-communication-on-your-page">has added</a> a number of features to Pages, including...</p> <h3>Response time display</h3> <p>Earlier this year, Facebook began highlighting businesses that, on average, respond within five minutes of receiving a message through their Facebook Pages.</p> <p>Now, Pages will display average response times even if they don't meet that standard. To help businesses set expectations, they can also change what's displayed. </p> <p>"Average response times for Pages are calculated for each Page automatically and the response time shown on the Page defaults to their average response time, but admins can now control what response time shows publicly on their Page.</p> <p>So even if a Page typically responds to messages within an hour, they can can set their visible response time to within a day and set customer expectations accordingly," Facebook explained.</p> <p>In addition, businesses can configure an Away mode to let customers know that they are not currently available to respond to messages as quickly as usual, and can create Away Messages and Instant Replies, which function like email autoresponders.</p> <h3>A redesigned inbox</h3> <p>One of the biggest challenges companies face in using <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67060-what-a-mexican-and-an-italian-taught-me-about-online-customer-service">social media for customer service</a> is that many of the tools they're given by social platforms were not designed with customer service in mind. Facebook is aiming to change that with a redesigned inbox that provides more context.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/0070/12350970_1632165700376662_715458677_n.jpg" alt="" width="676" height="451"></p> <p>The redesigned inbox makes it easy for Page admins to view past messages from a particular user, and to quickly view basic profile information, like location, alongside the user's message. Additionally, Page admins can tag coversations add notes about users.</p> <p>According to Facebook, "These changes help Page admins keep up with messages faster and manage conversations more easily."</p> <h3>New comment tools</h3> <p>Because comments are also commonly used for customer service purposes, Facebook has created a new tool that businesses can use to monitor and respond to comments left on their Pages.</p> <p>Using the tool, Page admins can identify comments that need to be responded to, quickly view information about the user who posted the comment, and manage workflow, like marking comments as responded to.</p> <h3>So is Facebook now a viable customer service platform?</h3> <p>Clearly, Facebook is attempting to address the customer service interactions that are taking place on its platform.</p> <p>Its functionality may not do enough for some companies, particularly those that have invested heavily in their own customer service platforms, but with 50m business Pages, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64761-small-businesses-is-it-really-worth-being-social">many of them operated by small businesses</a>, Facebook's newest features arguably represent steps in the right direction.</p> <p>Of course, businesses will need to embrace these features, but the days of arguing that social platforms aren't suitable for customer service because they don't support customer service use cases very well are numbered.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67195 2015-11-13T11:45:00+00:00 2015-11-13T11:45:00+00:00 Seven steps to improving staff loyalty & the customer experience Jack Simpson <p>He was there to discuss how the brand has taken a different approach to the wine industry in order to focus on great <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-excellence-trends-briefing-digital-cream-london-2015">customer experiences</a>, a move he believes is the main reason for the company’s success. </p> <blockquote> <p>If you want happy customers and loyalty, there are only two things that matter: product and service. And for that you need happy suppliers and happy staff.</p> </blockquote> <p>Staff loyalty is the key theme behind Naked Wine’s approach to doing business, and the brand has a seven-point strategy to achieving it. </p> <p><a href="http://www.festivalofmarketing.com/speakers/james-bagley"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8993/8A44AD6D-5056-B76E-FE5F294938C26157-ProfileImgUpload.jpg" alt="James Bagley festival of marketing" width="292" height="292"></a></p> <h3>1. Focus on experiences</h3> <p>According to James, if you focus on results alone you’ll never have happy employees, which will mean you don't have happy customers. </p> <blockquote> <p>You need to focus on the experiences of your staff, because those experiences will drive their beliefs, and those beliefs will drive their actions. And that’s ultimately where your company culture comes from.</p> </blockquote> <h3>2. Aim for five stars </h3> <blockquote> <p>We used to focus on achieving either four or five star customer experience ratings, but now we only focus on five.</p> </blockquote> <p>Why? Because Naked Wines found that customers who consistently give five star ratings generally end up being better and more loyal customers.</p> <h3>3. Lead by example </h3> <p>Once a month senior management at Naked Wines gets on the phones and does a shift with the ‘Customer Happiness’ department, which is the name it gives to its customer service team. </p> <blockquote> <p>This gets us talking directly to our customers, but it also shows our staff how important their jobs are.</p> </blockquote> <h3>4. Treat your staff like gold dust </h3> <p>Bagley says it’s important to treat your staff the same way you’d like to be treated. </p> <blockquote> <p>If you treat your staff well they’ll start feeling good about it and then they’ll treat their customers in the same way. It’s a virtuous circle.</p> </blockquote> <p>He talks about a time they had an ice cream van come to the office for the afternoon and staff could use it free of charge.</p> <blockquote> <p>Small gestures go a long way, even if they don’t cost a lot.</p> </blockquote> <h3>5. Make a real difference</h3> <p>Bagley referred to some of the work Naked Wines does that goes beyond just selling wine. He talked about Carmen Stevens, one of the brand’s winemakers and the first black woman to graduate from winemaking school in South Africa. </p> <p>During a tasting tour Bagley and his team discovered that Stevens ran a soup kitchen back home, and that it was the only source of food for many of the schoolchildren around there. </p> <p>So Naked Wines got its angels – the name it gives its wine investors – involved and managed to raise enough money to feed 3,000 of the children for a year. </p> <p>“This wasn’t just about selling wine,” Bagley says. “It was about responding to the plight of one of our winemakers and doing what we could to help. That kind of thing creates a virtuous circle between us, our suppliers, and our customers.”</p> <h3>6. Empower people</h3> <p>Giving staff the ability to make a difference to the company regardless of their position, Bagley says, is important for building loyalty. </p> <p>Naked Wines runs a Dragons Den-style competition internally where staff put forward ideas for the business and the best three are nominated and voted for by the rest of the company, with the winning idea being implemented. </p> <p>One example of this was the ‘text for wine’ feature that Naked Wines announced earlier this year. </p> <p><a href="https://www.nakedwines.com/sms/register.htm#/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8994/Screen_Shot_2015-11-13_at_10.47.16.png" alt="Naked wines text for wine" width="596" height="412"></a></p> <h3>7. Empower people more</h3> <p>Reiterating the importance of empowering your staff, Bagley refers to a story of when a customer complained about a botched delivery. </p> <p>A member of the customer service team asked what he could do to make it right, and the customer jokingly said “send me a lorry-load of wine.”</p> <p>Unperturbed by the absurdity of the request, the customer service team member created a scaled-down ‘lorry’ out of a cardboard box and sent the customer 18 bottles of wine instead. </p> <p>That customer then took to Twitter to exclaim that the customer service member had “restored his faith in humanity.”</p> <p>Perhaps a slight overreaction there, but as Bagley puts it: “£50 to turn around the opinion of a customer can’t be a bad thing.”</p> <p>And it was possible because the staff member was free to use his own creativity and ideas to solve a problem.</p> <h3>And it works…</h3> <p>This isn’t just self-serving PR fluff, Bagley assures us. The strategy has actually brought some pretty significant business results. </p> <p>In six years Naked Wines has acquired 750,000 new customers, invested £80m into 117 winemakers across multiple countries and now ships around 25,000 bottles of wine every day. </p> <p>Not only that but it grew sales by 42% between 2013/2014 and won awards such as Best Retail Customer Experience at the Retail Awards and a place in the 100 Best Small Companies to Work For. </p> <p>I’m not trying to big up Naked Wines here because I have no affiliation to them and I’m not even a customer, but the point I’m making is there’s clearly value in treating your staff well and earning their loyalty. </p> <p>Bagley believes happy staff means happy customers, and that, he says, is ultimately what all brands should be aiming for. </p> <blockquote> <p>The most important thing is to have a great <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-the-cx-challenge">customer experience</a> that focuses on customer happiness. That needs to be at the heart of your business model.</p> </blockquote> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67149 2015-11-09T10:18:57+00:00 2015-11-09T10:18:57+00:00 How to create simple brand tone-of-voice guidelines for Twitter Ben Davis <p>However, when inducting new staff, it's good to expand on a document like this, giving plentiful examples of exchanges where tone of voice was appropriate.</p> <p>Before you accuse me of peddling the barest of advice, I've made an effort to fill out this form on behalf of Econsultancy (though I hasten to add, I do not manage Twitter for our brand).</p> <p>It was challenging (and fun) to narrow down brand values and personality, and I found it a useful activity.</p> <p>With <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67059-changing-company-culture-six-things-to-try/">company cultures changing</a> in the face of digital products and services, an exercise like this could even be a handy tool during recruitment, to see which applicants understand the true nature of a brand.</p> <p>Let me know if you have any comments or embellishments (it is rather slim), and try to resist making fun of my own answers.</p> <p><em>A simple tone-of-voice template (scroll down to see my attempt at completing the form for Econsultancy)</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8690/Screen_Shot_2015-11-04_at_14.41.05.png" alt="tone of voice template" width="615"></p> <h3>Mission statement</h3> <p>'Econsultancy’s mission is to help our customers achieve excellence in digital business, marketing and ecommerce.'</p> <p>(However, instead of trying to over-simplify what we do and boil it down to a strapline, let's embrace it, we're many things.)</p> <h3>Twitter bio</h3> <p>'Econsultancy publishes independent research, analysis and advice on digital marketing, social media, ecommerce, SEO, mobile and tech for businesses.'</p> <h3>Brand values </h3> <ul> <li>Practical.</li> <li>Independent.</li> <li>Passionate.</li> </ul> <h3>Brand personality</h3> <ul> <li>Unpretentious.</li> <li>Helpful.</li> <li>Open.</li> </ul> <h3>Audience</h3> <ul> <li>UK &gt; US &gt; APAC.</li> <li>Client-side &gt; agency-side.</li> <li>C-suite</li> <li>Many different market sectors.</li> </ul> <h3>What do we tweet about?</h3> <ul> <li>Our research and blog content.</li> <li>Our events and training courses.</li> <li>Our employees.</li> <li>Our community.</li> <li>Web and pop culture (on Fridays).</li> <li>GIFs</li> </ul> <h3>Banned words?</h3> <ul> <li>Leverage.</li> <li>Learnings.</li> <li>Leading.</li> <li>Actually there <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66631-20-banned-words-from-the-econsultancy-blog-and-their-alternatives/">are quite a few of them</a>.</li> </ul> <h3>Write like this...</h3> <p>Here are a number of examples of some recent tweets where our tone of voice was in line with what I expect from our brand.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/firstconversion">@firstconversion</a> it depends what you want - networking, professional validation or training. I fear a conflict of interest for us anyway ;)</p> — Econsultancy (@Econsultancy) <a href="https://twitter.com/Econsultancy/status/648616450471669764">September 28, 2015</a> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/firstconversion">@firstconversion</a> none of them, but we offer some competing services (training, events) so best for us to sit on the fence probably</p> — Econsultancy (@Econsultancy) <a href="https://twitter.com/Econsultancy/status/648754383476379648">September 29, 2015</a> </blockquote> <p>---</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Our last tweet was missing an apostrophe. Apologies. The editorial team have been given their final warning... <a href="http://t.co/BwYOxYMJcS">pic.twitter.com/BwYOxYMJcS</a></p> — Econsultancy (@Econsultancy) <a href="https://twitter.com/Econsultancy/status/649887086888255488">October 2, 2015</a> </blockquote> <p>---</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/GiomUK">@GiomUK</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Topman">@Topman</a> thanks for submitting it, always great to read case studies from top brands :)</p> — Econsultancy (@Econsultancy) <a href="https://twitter.com/Econsultancy/status/656470525384916992">October 20, 2015</a> </blockquote> <p>---</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/DanJDear">@DanJDear</a> they mentioned plans to do it a few weeks ago. It would be easier for marketers if they stopped fiddling with the dimensions ;)</p> — Econsultancy (@Econsultancy) <a href="https://twitter.com/Econsultancy/status/648814231333302272">September 29, 2015</a> </blockquote> <h3>Not like this...</h3> <p>I thought I would include some tweets by some of Econsultancy's notional competitors here.</p> <p>Far from being snarky, I've done this to emphasise the difference between our tone of voice and others in slightly different parts of market.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Hyperconnected hyperadopters change the way businesses invest. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FORRForum?src=hash">#FORRForum</a></p> — Forrester Research (@forrester) <a href="https://twitter.com/forrester/status/659829415338188800">October 29, 2015</a> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Did you know? We help with vendor negotiation projects for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Microsoft?src=hash">#Microsoft</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Salesforce?src=hash">#Salesforce</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Workday?src=hash">#Workday</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Oracle?src=hash">#Oracle</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IBM?src=hash">#IBM</a> and more.</p> — Forrester Research (@forrester) <a href="https://twitter.com/forrester/status/647106261587238914">September 24, 2015</a> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Use <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SAP?src=hash">#SAP</a>'s significant motivation to move your company to the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cloud?src=hash">#cloud</a> as leverage for negotiating better deals.</p> — Forrester Research (@forrester) <a href="https://twitter.com/forrester/status/647106644766248960">September 24, 2015</a> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">We invite you 2 be part of the solution. Join our exclusive online community <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GartnerResearchCircle?src=hash">#GartnerResearchCircle</a> <a href="https://t.co/kWS9FYRxjA">https://t.co/kWS9FYRxjA</a></p> — Gartner (@Gartner_inc) <a href="https://twitter.com/Gartner_inc/status/661377265637421056">November 3, 2015</a> </blockquote> <p>--- </p> <p>So, there you go, that's it. Completely obvious or a valuable exercise? I suppose it depends on how well you already know your brand.</p> <p><em>If you're interested in training, see our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-copywriting/">course in Online Copywriting</a>.</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67060 2015-10-16T10:08:19+01:00 2015-10-16T10:08:19+01:00 What a Mexican and an Italian taught me about online customer service Sophie Hawker <p>The public setting also allows complainers an equal a platform as brand advocates, and managing brand image on social can be a tricky process.</p> <h3>Complaining via social</h3> <p>Despite my infrequent social complaining, a couple of weeks ago I moaned at two popular food chains within about a week. </p> <p>Let me start by saying I’m a massive fan of both chains I’m about to talk about, and have tweeted positively about them on multiple occasions.</p> <p>However, on this particular week, my complaining mode went into overdrive.</p> <h3>The positive experience</h3> <p>I gave Pizza Express the dreaded ‘#thumbsdown’ the morning after a pretty rubbish experience, which is unusual in its restaurants, so the next morning I tweeted about it and got a response asking for more details:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/Sophie_Hawker">@Sophie_Hawker</a> Never nice to get the thumbs down this early in the morning :( Full details to - social@pizzaexpress.com please.</p> — PizzaExpress (@PizzaExpress) <a href="https://twitter.com/PizzaExpress/status/652038431187464192">October 8, 2015</a> </blockquote> <p>After an immediate automated response to my email, saying someone would be in touch within a couple of days, I then did receive a reply. </p> <p>The reply was more than expected; it was friendly, personable, responded to every point I had made, and told me how Pizza Express would be following it up.</p> <p>It also offered a little towards my next dinner at Pizza Express, which was unexpected and put a spring in my step. </p> <h3>The negative experience</h3> <p>Then came my Wahaca experience.</p> <p>Having been to the Covent Garden branch multiple times, I went to the Oxford Circus branch and ordered my favourite...</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/Sophie_Hawker">@Sophie_Hawker</a> hi Sophie, which one was it? Can you drop us a line please? Ola@wahaca.co.uk thank you</p> — wahaca (@wahaca) <a href="https://twitter.com/wahaca/status/649119557626544128">September 30, 2015</a> </blockquote> <p>The next morning, I received a response, and emailed Wahaca with pretty extensive details of what had happened.</p> <p>Almost two weeks later, I followed up with the tweet below, slightly frustrated, and received an apologetic response. But have the email team got back to me? Nope.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/Sophie_Hawker">@Sophie_Hawker</a> hi Sophie, I am investigating right now for you. Very sorry about the delay.</p> — wahaca (@wahaca) <a href="https://twitter.com/wahaca/status/654192446981701632">October 14, 2015</a> </blockquote> <p>Of course, that response has still not come. How is this person going to attach my tweet to an email sent two weeks ago?</p> <p>Even though my Twitter handle and email address both contain my full name, I’m assuming it’s not quite as easy as this one individual personally searching their inbox to find Sophie’s elusive email.</p> <h3>Lessons learned</h3> <p>This brings me to my main point: it’s all very well deferring customer complaints to another channel, but there must be follow-through.</p> <p>Having dealt with customer queries and complaints through Twitter and Facebook in a previous role, we were taught to ‘get complaints off social as soon as possible’, moving the conversation onto the phone, or emails, or private messages. </p> <p>This is what happened immediately in both cases here, but only one was able to carry on dealing with my complaint on this second channel.</p> <h3>Customer conclusions</h3> <p>The Pizza Express experience left me feeling positive about the restaurant, forgetting about the one bad experience, and happy that I had been treated like a valued customer.</p> <p>The Wahaca experience has left me pretty fed up. I think the restaurant is fantastic, the staff have been friendly, and the food is great, but one bad experience, followed by the poor handling of this situation, has left me with a bad taste in my mouth.</p> <h3>What needs to change?</h3> <p>We're faced with so much choice nowadays that it's easy for people to be fickle, so it’s important that brands don’t undermine customer loyalty by letting people down in this way.</p> <p>A strategy needs to be in place for dealing with customer service over social media.</p> <p>If the accepted route is to defer complaints to emails or phone lines, there needs to be a clear journey through which the customer is taken. This is just like a sales journey, in which they are treated as a valued customer, and shown their complaint matters.</p> <p>In fact, some of the companies I feel most positively about are places I’ve had a particular issue or experience with, and have then been impressed with how these were resolved.</p> <p>The key is delivering consistency, and valuing each customer.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic read:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65478-how-20-top-uk-retailers-handle-social-customer-service/">How 20 top UK retailers handle social customer service</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65018-what-social-customer-service-is-really-worth-stats/">What social customer service is really worth: stats</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64998-how-the-top-brands-use-twitter-for-social-customer-care/">How the top brands use Twitter for social customer care</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66866 2015-08-27T13:50:00+01:00 2015-08-27T13:50:00+01:00 What brands can learn from the Ashley Madison hack Patricio Robles <p>While it's easy to dismiss the fallout from the Ashley Madison hack as a circus act because of the nature of the service, there are a number of lessons for all brands in this sordid affair.</p> <h3>You're vulnerable</h3> <p>The first part of addressing and preventing security breaches like the one Ashley Madison is now dealing with is to accept the fact that your company is vulnerable.</p> <p>Companies that invest heavily in security, including large financial institutions, retailers and tech giants, have all been hacked, so no business should assume that it's immune to hackers.</p> <h3>Security is about more than going through the motions</h3> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6560/ashley2.png" alt="" width="349" height="103"></p> <p>It's easy to use SSL, throw some security seal images on a website and pretend that customer data is safe, but actually building and maintaining secure online services is very tough.</p> <p>Most companies have good intentions. They try to follow security best practices and stay up-to-date when the software they rely on receives security patches. Some, particularly those that accept payments, invest in third-party audits and regular vulnerability scans. </p> <p>But thwarting sophisticated attackers is increasingly difficult, particularly for high-profile targets that receive sensitive financial and personal information from their customers. For this reason, it's important that companies transacting with consumers online treat security as a core competency that's vital to their business.</p> <h3>Insiders are a huge security threat</h3> <p>The identities of the people behind the Ashley Madison hack are still unknown, but early on there was speculation that an insider, perhaps a former employee or contractor, was involved.</p> <p>Even if this turns out not to be the case, companies must face the inconvenient truth that insiders are a huge security threat.</p> <p>While it's all but impossible to completely eliminate insider risk, ensuring that employees, contractors and vendors have only the access they need, and removing access when it's no longer needed, is absolutely critical.</p> <p>Additionally, companies should ensure that they adequate log and monitor insider access so that if there is a breach, they can quickly identify suspects.</p> <p>Putting in place comprehensive access controls can be complex and costly, but it's a worthwhile investment given the damage that insiders can cause, often with nothing more than a USB drive and the ability to copy and paste. </p> <h3>Cheating your customers is only cheating yourself</h3> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6585/AshleyMadison.png" alt="" width="475" height="210"></p> <p>Ashley Madison's subscribers aren't the only ones facing embarrassment in the wake of the company's hacking. The company itself has come under scrutiny over the quality of its service.</p> <p>Ashley Madison allowed subscribers to delete "all traces of [their] usage" for an additional fee. But it appears that while the company did delete some subscriber information as promised, other information was not deleted.</p> <p>This included GPS coordinates, city, state and date of birth, all of which could theoretically be used to track down a particular subscriber's identity.</p> <p>Ostensibly, Ashley Madison kept this data for analytics purposes, but in doing so it didn't live up to its promise and that promise is now at the center of at least one multi-million dollar class action that has been filed against the company.</p> <p>Lesson: delivering anything less than what you say you will deliver to customers is tantamount to cheating them.</p> <h3>Law enforcement and rewards can't save you</h3> <p>Ashley Madison is working with law enforcement to identify the people who hacked it, and the company has even offered a $500,000 CDN reward for information leading to their arrest and conviction. But the reality is that nothing can stop or reverse the damage that has already been done to Ashley Madison and its brand. </p> <p>This is the unfortunate reality companies face today: major security breaches involving personal and financial information frequently have catastrophic consequences that don't become less catastrophic when justice is eventually served.</p> <h3>Customer service matters even when you can't really help</h3> <p>Arguably, there is very little Ashley Madison can do to meaningfully help customers affected by its hacking. But that doesn't mean that the company should leave customers hanging either.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/ashley-madison-not-communicating-with-customers-troy-hunt-2015-8?r=UK&amp;IR=T">some reports</a>, Ashley Madison has communicated very little with its subscribers and some who have tried to contact the company to address their concerns say they have been unable to do so.</p> <p>When all is said and done, how well Ashley Madison treats its subscribers during this period of turmoil could very well determine how many of them give the company a second chance.</p> <h3>A hack could endanger your company's life</h3> <p>Before it was hacked, Avid Life Media, the company that operates Ashley Madison, was pulling in more than $100m a year in revenue, and reportedly prepping for an IPO. Now, the IPO is in doubt and with lawsuits seeking more than $500m damages already filed. Some have gone so far as to suggest that the company might not be able to survive this affair.</p> <p>Obviously, Ashley Madison is an unusual case because of the nature of its service, but that doesn't mean that companies not engaged in sordid business lines should assume that hacks aren't an existential threat to their survival and success.</p> <p>Because of the vast amount of data being put online, hacks are getting bigger and costlier, and the Ashley Madison hack won't be the last that threatens to bring a company to its knees.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66580 2015-06-15T14:50:21+01:00 2015-06-15T14:50:21+01:00 Twitter removes 140 character limit for DMs: what does this means for brands? Patricio Robles <p>In a post on the Twitter Developers blog, Twitter product manager Sachin Agarwal <a href="https://twittercommunity.com/t/removing-the-140-character-limit-from-direct-messages/41348">explained</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>We’ve done a lot to improve Direct Messages over the past year and have much more exciting work on the horizon. One change coming in July that we want to make you aware of now (and first!) is the removal of the 140 character limit in Direct Messages.</p> </blockquote> <p>With the new 10,000 Direct Message character limit, Twitter users will be able to communicate more easily in a one-to-one fashion. As part of the announcement, Twitter is revising its APIs so that third party developers with applications offering direct messaging functionality can update their applications in advance of July.</p> <p>Twitter says it has no plans to change the character limit on public tweets, which will remain at 140.</p> <h3>What it means for brands</h3> <p>The removal of the 140 character limit for Direct Messages is the second major recent change to direct messaging on Twitter that has a potentially big impact on brands. In April, Twitter <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66361-twitter-dm-changes-what-this-means-for-brands/">made it possible</a> for users to accept DMs from any other Twitter user without following them. </p> <p>That previous requirement was particularly problematic for customer service use cases, since brands might have good reasons not to want to follow other users just to be able to interact directly with them.</p> <p>The ability to send Direct Messages of up to 10,000 characters will also help support customer service use cases on the popular social platform. After all, many customer service issues require more than 140 characters to explain, so up until now, brands have been forced to make do with interactions that are less than efficient. </p> <p>In July, that will change and in many cases, brands will finally be in a position to provide the same type of customer support through Twitter that they currently provide through email.</p>