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HP sweetens relationships with customers by making CRM social

[ Edited ]

Social Media is the fastest growing channel of customer service at HP.  This is no surprise as more and more customers are seeking help on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites.

 

According to a Simply Measured 2014 report*, “Users are adopting Twitter as a legitimate and valid customer service channel. Mentions of dedicated customer service handles increased by44% year-over-year.”

 

While marketing may have created the Facebook page or Twitter handle to promote products, customers see it as an opportunity to get help. In customer service, we had two choices: put our head in the sand and hope the customer goes away or help them.

 

For example, Ethel lk promised to never buy HP products ever again.

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We had the chance to see if we could turn her around.

 

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We took the conversation offline and worked with her and earned her loyalty back.

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Engaging with customers gives us an opportunity to build a relationship with them. In some cases their plea for help on Twitter may be the first direct interaction that many customers have with HP. After all, they may have bought their printer or PC from Costco or Best Buy and never have talked with an HP sales representative.

 

We need to make sure that the interaction they have with us on Twitter is the same experience as on Facebook or if they pick up the phone. Our relationship with them depends on our ability to provide a consistent support experience.

 

Right now we have 150 million products in warranty, get 28 million phone and chat interactions each year. Every second four customers look for help in social media in many countries around the world.

 

Each one of these interactions gives us the chance to earn their loyalty by building a relationship with us. To do that, we need to answer their questions quickly and effectively. If they come back 6 months later, they expect to have a similar experience regardless of how they contact us.

 

With so many customers depending on us, we rely on a Customer Relationship Management system to tie customers and products together; steer agents through an effective troubleshooting process; and track the entire support interaction. After all, the “R” in CRM is relationship, and it is critical in our ability to foster a good one with our customers.

 

While thousands of agents use this tool for phone and chat, our social media agents couldn’t use our CRM system.  It couldn’t handle social media data -- or at least it couldn’t before 2014.

 

This means that our agents were tracking customers manually. If a customer came back a few months later, the agent needed to turn into a detective to figure out who the customer was what the product was and understand what had transpired.

 

Something had to change as the volume of customers contacting us in Twitter and Facebook increased hitting more than 25,000 incoming tweets or comments a month.

 

To handle the increased volume and improve our relationship with our customers, we made significant investments to integrate social media into our Customer Relationship Management system.

 

HP is quite possibly the first company to be able to take social media content from Twitter and Facebook in different languages and turn them into cases worked on by social media agents in different countries around the world.  Right now we are averaging 10,000 cases a month in Twitter and Facebook in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German.

 

By having an integrated CRM system with all support channels, we get a 360 degree view of customer’s support interactions.  This improvement helps three key groups.

 

  • Customers: Today, customers choosing Facebook or Twitter have a seamless support experience. HP Support saw a 2 percent increase in Net Promoter Score since the integration with the CRM system went live. Because of the efficiencies gained in the tool, agents reply to customers more quickly. We were able to cut response times by 60 percent, shaving hours off of the time it took an agent to find and reply to the customer. Decreasing response times was challenging because more customers were tweeting and posting than ever before. Since September, we have seen a 103 percent increase in the number of customers reaching out to us for help in Twitter and Facebook. Because of the integration with our CRM system, we are able to reply to more customers more quickly and increase their satisfaction with HP.

 

  • Agents: Today agents have a comprehensive view of the customer at their fingertips. The entire online conversation in Facebook or Twitter is threaded together along with any past history. It is easier for agents to see where to take the conversation and how to help the customer. This makes for much happier agents and as a result happier customers. Agent dissatisfaction has turned into satisfaction as a result of an improved tool.  Their engagement with customers has increased 187 percent, as measured by the increase in the number of tweets and posts agents made.

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  • HP: HP has the ability to track whether customers are promoters or detractors, and capture the change in sentiment through the support experience. It also has the ability to mine the data for insights and to gain a deeper understanding of global social care metrics. This will enrich the data fed into the teams supervising quality and enable HP to deliver better products. Also, it will help the company identify issues quickly. Early detection of issue through social media has saved the company millions and is now easier to do.

While the results are impressive, building something that has never existed before isn’t easy.

 

The biggest challenge was that CRM systems are built with fields requiring serial numbers and real names. How do you create a case when MagicPuppy123 tweets, “Please help me @hp!”  There is no name, no product, no description of an issue – none of the information that a phone agent would be able to get. Also, how do you figure out that MagicPuppy123 also made a post on the HP Facebook wall asking for help but this time her handle is Tara Jane Willis.

 

Should this be a case? Is it possible to relate the tweet and post? What is the priority level? Who is the right agent and what is the right country to route this to?

 

Step by step we went through the various scenarios we have encountered since we began supporting customers in Twitter in 2009 and Facebook in 2010.

 

We created processes and business rules to filter and route posts to agents with right skill set. Also, we outlined how relevant tweets or posts from a customer had to be threaded together to give the agent a complete account of the conversation to date, even if the customer went on vacation for 3 weeks and just came back. Customers expect to be remembered and bristle at repeating themselves.

 

When you are building something new, you won’t fully understand the limitations until it is built. There will be features that don’t work as planned that need to be recreated. Also, you learn to identify and build strong relationships with key players: IT, partners, service delivery, analytics, consultants, and agents.

 

Moving into 2015, HP is working to bring more social media sites into its CRM environment. The integration makes it possible to have blended channel agents: phone, chat, and social media. As social media grows, we can improve trained agents effectiveness by expanding from phone into online communities and social networking sites as the volume shifts over a day or month.

 

As Forrester noted**, “In the past 12 months, 68% of customers used the phone, 60% used help or frequently asked questions (FAQs), 54% used email, 37% used chat, 20% used SMS, and 19% used Twitter. Customer service agents supporting these media types need access to the same information in order to ensure consistent service.”

 

Getting all agents on the same CRM environment for all support channels globally is the challenge HP tackled in 2014 and continues to innovate and enhance the support experience for customers.

 

* Customer Service on Twitter

**Transform The Contact Center: Forrester's Playbook For Customer Service Excellence

I worked for HP.
† The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation