Are we unique? We like to think so …. But: are not!

By Erik Braun, Director, Creative Virtual Benelux

TweetingAs humans and thinking persons, we like to believe we are unique, coming up with all kinds of new ideas. Yet when it comes to contacting the companies we buy our products and services from, we may not be quite as one-of-a-kind as we think. When we have questions, we tend to call them up or send an email or a tweet. But what do we see when we study those tweets? We see that this traffic is to a large extent – at least half – repetitive! And as we know: computers best handle repetitive things!

Recently, we did an analysis of tweets directed at 5 big companies in the Netherlands: an internet service provider, an airline, a telco, a health insurance company and a utility company (electricity). The analysis showed that at least half of questions put forward by consumers are repetitive. For the telco and the internet service provider these numbers are higher still – 80-90%. Virtually no customers are in need of personalised information – practically all can be dealt with on the basis of website knowledge.

When we take a deeper look into the tweet-drivers at companies, there are differences of course:

  • At the internet service provider and the telco: approximately 25% of questions are on disruptions in service. For these questions, the webcare team sends a link of the webpage listing all disruptions. We see no cases where a personalised answer is given;
  • At all companies, except the insurance company, approximately 15-20% of tweets are on how to do things – use the app, the new device, etc. The webcare team solves this by sending out a message with a link to a help page or forum;
  • At all companies, approximately 10% of questions are on product specs. The webcare team solves this by sending out a message with a link to the specific product page. In a few cases a contact is made to a sales person;
  • At the insurance company, approximately 30% of contacts are on some company specific PR related issues – on these questions, the webcare team sends out a url to the relevant pages on the website.

Apart from that, we see some 10-30% of (sometimes very rude) complaints and also compliments to the company.

From our perspective, this is of course a very well known situation. When looking at human communication in a more or less confined area, we humans tend to be very predictable. On the other hand, we as companies do not always take advantage of that knowledge and act as if questions can be very unpredictable. This can lead to increased customer support costs, a misallocation of resources and a missed opportunity to improve customer engagement.

At Creative Virtual, we are now developing this analysis into a standardized tool that is able to harvest tweets and then create a detailed analysis not just based on keywords. With this, we are able to give companies insights into their call drivers – in how they perform over time and also in how they perform as compared to their competitors. For more information, please get in touch.