Written by Rick Mans

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Transforming Your Web Care Activities into a Money Machine

What do most companies do on social media? Replying on complaints. Reactively responding to negative messages from customers (or from people just talking about your products and services) on social media. Please don’t call this web care, it is hate care. Doing hate care is just feeding the negative side of messages, since people will notice that as soon as they complain about you, or in a slightly more positive way, have a question about your product or service, that they will get attention. Attention is the thing we all want and if you only give if to your non-promoters you end up in a process that feels like it is taking place in purgatory and is adding zero value to your business. You are just creating waste, not adding value.

Hate care

Complaints are waste, since they shouldn’t have occurred in the first place. If your product or service was good enough there would not have been a complaint. If your product or service was clear enough there wouldn’t be questions. Questions and complaints are waste because your processes should have prevented them to happen early on and if you have been working in software development, logistics or manufacturing you know that solving a defect (waste) is way easier and less expensive than solving it later in the process. Though the thing most web care is doing, is just trying to fix the defect at the end of the chain without feeding the beginning of chain on how to prevent this at all.

Nobody wants to be without a job

Not even web care people. However the misunderstanding is that as long as they can answer questions and solve complaints they have a future proof job. Even worse you might even think that if there are more complaints and questions and you can solve them with the same amount of people as you did before you are doing a better job. Or worst case: if you answer every question or complaint within an hour that you are in web care nirvana. Well, you are not, what you are doing is feeding negativity about your brand and its products and services. You are not eliminating waste, you are not really solving problems, you are just creating work for yourself on the short-term, without doing improvements for the long-term. So basically you are managing your company towards bankruptcy and yourself towards unemployment.

Eliminating Waste, Save Money and Make Money

Let’s identify if there is waste in your way of interacting with people online:

  1. You are doing hate care, not web care (see description above on hate care)
  2. Web care is located in a department, not across the whole organisation
  3. Web care can do more than traditional customer care
  4. There is no feedback loop back to the product team or any other part of the organisation to fix the root cause of the complaints and questions
  5. The KPI for web care is not about reduction of complaints or reduction of questions

If ‘yes’ is your answer on one of these five statements than you are leaving money on the table and you are stuck in doing hate care. Let me help you in making improvements:

Social Business not Social Department

First of all it is about becoming a Social Business not about being a Social Department. Web care or any other activities is a Business issue, which means that you have to integrate this activities and its outcomes throughout the whole business. Focus on solving root causes of questions and complaints, that is even more important than answering these questions and complaints (though I would consider it is a big plus if you can do both at the same time). If you can solve the root cause of the complaints and questions you free up time for more value adding activities such as improving your products and services.

Feedback loops

It is vital to have such feedback loop, otherwise it is just like you are emptying the ocean with a thimble. You have to be willing to solve the root cause and social media is an ideal monitoring tool to pick up complaints and questions. You are still picking it up relatively late in the process, however it is better than when you find out that nobody is buying your product and you end up with a lot of products and no buyers.

All channels are equal

If you allow your web care department to provide better or different compensation, you are just creating more waste. Since you are training your customers to complain on social media since that provides them with a better compensation and the more they will complain the more compensation they will receive. It might be clear that you should remove the reason to complain in the first place.

Your multi million opportunity

Your KPI is not solving complaints, nor is it solving complaints really fast. It is improving the perceived value of your product by your customers and potential customers. Since perceived value is one of the items that determines if a customer is willing to give you money for your product and service. The easiest way to increase perceived value is by letting your customers shine.

Your customers don’t  have a vested interest in your company, are most likely not biased and don’t benefit from other customers buying your product. By putting them in the spotlight, they are the most authentic source that can share your story and by doing so they might be becoming your best sales people. However it is not just putting the spotlight on them, it is by providing them the opportunity that they want shine for you.

It is by doing really well and by increasing your perceived value so much that your customer is thinking that he is almost robbing you since he is not paying enough compared the value he receives. It is by making it really easy for your customer to promote you and your products and services and finally is by encouraging your customer by doing so. Not only by making sure there is no reason for complaints and questions but also by letting your customers know you value them. The best way to value your customer is by making sure the perceived value of your products and services is higher than the money that your customer pays for. By doing so you are basically building up credits and in the end your customer is happy to exchange this credit for investing some of his time in recommending you to his friends.

Stop doing web care. Start caring.