Air Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 12:30pm ET
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This week we welcome T-Mobile to talk about how social is changing the way T-Mobile does business.
As brands go on Google+, T-Mobile is among the best at listening, not just for mentions, but for how to use discussions and sentiment to shape product offerings, support, and brand messaging.
Google+ Business Spotlight Recap: T-Mobile
The social team has a great working relationship with all other facets of the business, including the executive level. They communicate with each other every day, which allows them to take feedback from customers very quickly, and make adjustments almost on the fly. This is a huge shift in mindset for brands, and a balancing act between being the company your customers expect you to be, and being the company your investors expect you to be.
Case in point: earlier this year, T-Mobile made changes to their Advantage program to roll it into their “uncarrier” platform. The Advantage program was a discount/incentive program with organizations, associations, and businesses, which T-Mobile was going to change in a way that apparently the general public did not want to accept. By listening to the near-instant feedback, and reacting, T-Mobile was able to reassess the changes and make updates that would appeal to their customers instead.
Within 24 hours. Yes, twenty-four hours.
No other company of this size, unless they have embraced social the way T-Mobile has, will be able to pivot and react like this. And as a result, T-Mobile took what would have been a public relations nightmare and turned it into a positive story for their brand. Oh, and their customers are happier for it, too. Win-win!
How do you scale personalized social engagement? Look at the audiences
A fantastic question from Scott Scowcroft, who brings up a point that is a legitimate struggle for a social service team: If you are intent on providing a personalized, one-to-one experience with each person reaching out on social, there are only so many people-hours in the day…how does that scale?
Sentiment reading and listening can currently be done in a centralized fashion for T-Mobile. There aren’t plans yet to branch out to local centers.
Your audience on each network is different which allows you to allocate certain processes, resources and strategies to each channel. For example, the Facebook audience for T-Mobile is largely novice, and expectations can be managed differently than, say, the Twitter audience which is mostly Millenials looking for quick interaction. The Google+ audience is more tech-savvy, so the discussions are on a totally different plane, covering devices, apps, speculation, you name it.
Is sending customers to general support channels impersonal?
You can make the argument that by sending a customer to a FAQ page, or a web resource, you aren’t tending directly to their question. However, an important aspect of building customer loyalty is helping them get answers when they need answers. In many cases, the direct link to a FAQ or Knowledge Base article is the answer to their question, which the customer then bookmarks, or maybe tells their own network about if the topic comes up in conversation. It’s the “teach a man to fish” approach, although if the customer needs hand-holding, T-Mobile holds their hand through the process. In some cases, customers have built such loyalty through these interactions that they prefer to interact online with specific T-Force members.
Which brings us full circle to being more human, which breeds more trust and therefore more loyalty toward a business using social media.
Timestamped version of the interview, courtesy of Ben Fisher: