3 Social Customer Service FAILS By @BarclaysOnline's That Can Help You

By Rob | 17 Jun 2014, 10:30am | Category: Tips

So recently I have had a number of problems with my Barclays Bank account. Not a surprise to many, I'm sure.

They keep blocking my debit cards due to payments they perceive as suspicious. This happened first as a result of one of the many regular monthly payments I make to various hosts such as GitHub. I know, who in tech has heard of GitHub..?

But on Saturday night the same happened after I tried to use Taxi App @Uber. Supposedly Barclays think @Uber are associated with International Terrorism or something... Maybe they've been listening to the London Black Cab drivers... Either way this left me stranded in North London -- I live in South -- with no money and no ride at 1 am... As you can imagine I was slightly annoyed.

So the following morning after a 3 hour journey home I once again took to Twitter to discuss this issue with Barclays. Here is the conversation...

As can be seen. The response from @BarclaysOnline is generic, does not attempt to engage with me and offers no solution to my problem -- or real sympathy. It almost looks automated...

This to me is simply awful. Their actions caused me actual real world problems. Thankfully I am a resourceful man, over 6 foot in height and have a particularly good scowl when required. So when wandering around Tooting on my own looking for another night bus at 3 am I'm usually ok. But imagine if I'd been a young woman...

Is Barclays response appropriate in that context? Probably not...

There are three rules to good customer service on social that I advise @BarclaysOnline to consider...

Engage & Listen: Your customers are actual human beings with actual problems. That's why they're on social media sites like Twitter. So treat them like human beings. Listen to their problems, try to understand the specifics and engage them in a conversation about it. Don't just talk at them or tell them.

Help: You can't always help your customer or user directly. But you can always attempt to. Once the problem has been defined. Connect them with the person or the the resource that can. This might be a free phone number with a specific person or department or a specific help page. Note this does not mean, "here's a link to our FAQ page"... And you certainly don't define the end point for the help process -- see above "2/2".

Value: You want to keep your customers. So show you care and value them. If you make a mistake hold your hands up and offer some form of compensation. It doesn't have to be a lot. Just a little something to take away the bitter after taste of poor service. Just because you work in a semi-monopolised, over regulated industry like British Banking is not an excuse.

If you don't wish to do the following, that is absolutely fine. Your company, your policies. But seriously if you're not going to take social customer service seriously just don't bother. It's only going to make you look even worse.

The Beginner's Guide to SnapChat Marketing

By Becky | 24 Apr 2014, 11:00am | Category: Tips

Social media platforms are growing at an exponential rate with new channels for businesses to communicate to consumers being created constantly. In the current technological climate, it is imperative for most businesses to keep abreast of the latest trends.

Snapchat is a new social media craze and has generated over a billion snapchats since its inception in September 2011. Snapchat was created by a group of students as a fun app to use between peers to send an image or video to a contact for 10 seconds, after that time limit the image vanished and could not be retrieved again.

International organisations such as McDonald’s have recently recognised the potential Snapchat can have in engaging consumers. Using Snapchat for businesses gives opportunity for creativity in reaching consumers. To set up an account, businesses should use the app just like a normal user; to register you just have to link the account to one phone number. Ensure the username has a relation to the business, usually using the same name as the twitter handle is the most effective.

16 handles, a yoghurt company created an innovative strategy utilising the 10 second lasting picture. They sent vouchers to anyone that registered on Snapchat but only allowed them to redeem the discount at the counter where they could get between 16-90% off.

But how can you use Snapchat most effectively for your business? Below are three top tips for a successful Snapchat marketing strategy:

  1. Don’t forget how Snapchat began. Snapchat was created for light hearted peer to peer interaction. Bombarding users with obvious marketing messages will get you nowhere. Just because Snapchat is a cheap marketing tool does not mean a barrage of content should be sent.
  2. Take advantage of the ‘ten second’ rule. The short viewing time of an image can keep content interesting and leave the consumer wanting more. October 2013 saw the introduction of ‘Snapchat stories’ which allows users to create a collage of longer images for contacts to view for 24 hours. However, remember to use your time wisely, sometimes the shorter the timescale the better, to increase anticipation and relevance.
  3. The way to a consumers heart is through their funny bone. The more humorous a message, the more likely it is your consumer will enjoy your ‘snapchats’ and keep you as a contact. Snapchat is a great tool to give your business personality whatever sector you may be in. So remember to keep your content fun. The age demographic is young, so ensure your marketing fits the target audience.

Currently, Snapchat has been adopted by some businesses but it is still a growing market that can be used to stay ahead of the trend. Presently, Snapchat is best used to generate buzz over a new product, discount codes and announcements. However, with the development of the Snapchat app brings developments of how businesses will use this platform.

This post was produced by Becky Mason. Becky is in her final year of a PR with Marketing Degree at Leeds Metropolitan University. She has also done work for PR agencies MCG PR, Quest and Hill & Knowlton Strategies.

How to Get Rid of your Fake Followers

By Rob | 15 Nov 2013, 10:30am | Category: Tips

So we understand that everyone makes mistakes in life. There are big ones and there are small ones.

In relation to Twitter one of the biggest mistakes you can make is purchasing Fake Followers. They may make you look popular, but what use are they to you? They going to help you sell anything? No! They are not. 

And what if someone finds out. You're going to look like a fraud and a fool.

But of course once they are purchased you are stuck with them... Not any more. Recently we released out Auto Block tool. It finds the Fake Followers and removes them automatically. And once they're all gone it will keep your list clean well into the future.

If you want proof that it works here is a graph of one of our users who bought 10,000 fake followers...

We've got them all. If you'd like to remove any fake followers you have. And we suggest you do. You can sign up for a premium account and start blocking those fake immediately.

Then no one can say you're a fraud. And you know what, it might just improve your return on investment. Because there really is no point in talking to a room full of shadows...

Speak soon

The EU Cookie Directive – in less than 500 words!

By Ben | 29 Jun 2012, 09:00am | Category: Tips

There’s been a lot written over the last few months regarding the new EU cookie directive. I’ve seen some articles claiming that it’s the end of the internet and had panicked conversations with some of my clients who don’t really know what it is. But like most things, if you know the facts, it’s not scary at all.

Very briefly, the EU cookie directive is about being more transparent with consumers about how a website uses cookies and seeking their consent to use them. It’s really that simple. You provide consumers with clear information and provide the opportunity for them to consent.

Although the new law came into force at the end of May, you do not need to worry if you haven’t updated your website. Although the Information Commissioner’s Office – the organisation enforcing the directive -- want companies to be compliant, there is an understanding that often it won’t be the case. The whole process of becoming compliant is a difficult undertaking and it can take a long time to adapt to the new law.

And anyone who has not updated their website need not panic. If you are able to show steps have been taken to start the process or that there is a plan for doing so, then there will be no knock on the door or fines through the letter box. You can follow some simple steps to get your cookie policy up and running.

  • Understand the new directive. Visit the ICO website and watch Dave Evans’s interview on YouTube. It’s a great overview.
  • Start auditing your website. There are some tools that will allow you to do this without having the trawl through all your code and do it yourself.
  • Provide more user friendly info about cookies. Just be as transparent as possible. The ICO’s way is a nice and simple example or see our terms and conditions.

Regarding enforcement and the way the ICO will do this, there is the possibility of a non-compliance fine of up to £500,000. But from what I’ve read, their approach is not about iron fist enforcement. The real aim of the ICO is to help companies “achieve compliance” through less threatening enforcement notices and undertakings, outlining steps required for compliance when companies have breached the rules. You could say it is a consultative approach as opposed to a dictatorial one.

So there you have it. Hopefully this is a quick and easily digestible overview of the new cookie directive. Ultimately, it is now down to you, the owner of the website, to comply. If you follow some of the steps outlined above, you’re well on your way to doing so.

Twitter Etiquette -- The Basics

By Rob | 30 Mar 2012, 09:00am | Category: Tips

The great thing about Twitter is its open and almost free market nature. And one of the really positive things to emerge from this free market is a form of etiquete between users. This is mainly to attribute source, but also to thank and promote people.

As Tweets are very concise much of this etiquete has formed around accronyms. However there doesn't seem to be definitive list of all the Twitter accronyms. So to get things started here is our list -- it just covers the basics... 

  • RT: You should all know what this means. It stands for ReTweet and is when you repost another user's Tweet to your Twitter feed.
  • MT: Modified Tweet. This is similar to a ReTweet but is when you edit someone else's Tweet before posting it to your feed. It's similar to the dots you see in essay quotes.
  • HT: Hat Tip. Sadly no top hats involved here... Hat Tips are a way to reference a person who has sent you some interesting content. It's just a way of saying thank you and has been used by bloggers for many years now. 
  • OH: Over Heard. If you over hear something funny or stupid in your office or on the street you can post it without directly referencing its source. For example OH "Star Wars happened, right?" 
  • #FF: Follow Friday. A Twitter tradition to promote your friends to your followers on a Friday. It can help you gain more followers if you use it to promote people who do not follow you yet.

We hope the list helps you with your Twitter etiquete. And if you know of anymore please let us know in the comments section or @StatusPeople.

Speak soon.