Yes indeed, after my post on my Telco-frustration both Belgacom and Proximus reacted ... and how! Contrary to what - customer from hell - Clo experiences in her Ikea-saga, I am now a happy customer of both. And I feel we can all learn something from this, so let's dig a bit deeper.
Here's a chronology of the facts:
1. Thursday (in a 'long weekend') I write a blog post
2. Monday: A call from Belgacom
On monday Frederic from Belgacom calls me on my mobile with the following message (in Dutch): Hello Mr. Van Wassenhove, I heard you have a problem with our ADSL service ... Me: - taken by surprise - eeeerh Yes ... Frideric: How can I help you ...
I explain my problem and he simply proposes me to give me a new password, over the phone, no hassle ... total surprise to me, but I'm extremely happy. In two minutes I have all the info I need.
AND ... he promises me to put his Proximus colleagues on my trail so the too could solve my problem.
3. Tuesday: The call from Proximus
Indeed, one day later Proximus calls me with the same question. The mobile problem was a bit more difficult to solve so they called Samsung. Two hours later they called me back with more information. Note that I too had contacted Samsung and they could only refer me to another department rather then solving my problem. But Proximus (obviously) has more power at Samsung so one of the Proximus experts tried everything in his power to help me.
Last phase (I'm getting a bit embarrassed now): Proximus calls me to say they can not solve my problem, they suspect it's a hardware problem so they decided to send me a new phone. Three hours later a new phone is delivered to my house! This service was offered by the VIP service department apparently. Cool, I'm a VIP now.
WHAT DO WE LEARN:
Handling blogs is a new discipline we (marketing/communication professionals) have to learn. I have a view on what the roadmap for managing blogging communication is so let's explore:
1. Listen: read what bloggers say about your brand
Belgacom/Proximus clearly did a good job here. Within days (hours) after my post they knew about it. I don't know whether that is thanks to a organised tracking system, or just some intelligent people in the company doing their job, but it worked. Good job!
2. React: I recommend to react directly on the blog with an open and clear statement, but the main thing is to do something.
Again Belgacom/Proximus scores good. It's just a pity they did not use the comment function on my blog to react. It would have given them positive exposure to the whole community, whereas now they have to count on my good faith to report back the fact they helped me out. So that's kind of a missed opportunity.
3. Learn & Build a customer-centric and HUMAN organisation
I don't know how much they learned from this, but there still is a lot for them to do before they become a really customer/human-centric organisation. It for sure is not easy to realise that in a large organisation but I'm convinced it's possible.
MY FIVE-STAR APPROACH FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE 2.0
1. Use what you know about your customer to identify them correctly (in case security is an issue) and then give the all you have in your database.
2. Use the call-center screening technology (like language, type of problem, etc) as few as possible. Of course I don't mind you asking me in what language I want to be helped. But don't create 100 possible options of which 90 lead to a tape.
3. If you feel too many people are using your call center (with simple questions they could read about on your website), improve your site. Make it easy to navigate, easy to search, accessible with any browser (also mobile, especially if you're a telco operator) and DON'T hide essential information behind a login.
4. Use telco options the way your customers do. Send an SMS (like Proximus did) but especially do NOT use hidden numbers but allow your contacts to call you back after a missed call.
5. Analyse the chain a customer has to go through to get a problem solved as you would analyse your own supply chain. Take out all the unnecessary steps and make it as fast and efficient as possible.
6. Overpay your call center staff ... they are crucial to your success.
So thanks Belgacom and Proximus for listening to me, thanks for solving my problem and I hope my rambling helps you (and other organisations) to improve customer focus.