With more than 30 million customer interactions across phone, chat and social media, HP’s customer-support team strives to not only keep up, but find new ways to improve customer experience.
Global director of social customer care Kriti Kapoor recently shared with me advances HP has made to evolve its customer-support efforts to better serve a large, diverse and global installed base of customers.
Build a thriving community of customers, superfans and social care agents
After taking a look at its online mentions back in 2008, HP recognized the opportunity to create its own technical-support community–one that unites and customers around the world. The company noticed that many of its customers were going to places like Yahoo Answers, Fixya, Baidu Zhidao in China, ReclameAQUI in Brazil and other message boards to ask technical questions, seek help and provide feedback about HP products.
So instead of having people trawl the internet trying to find information, HP created HP Support Forums–an online HP-branded and managed community where customers help each other, find solutions to common issues and ask experts (HP superfans) for help for their trickiest tech queries.
Plus, HP’s social agents jump in to the rescue to ensure that they leave no customers behind in their support experience.
Meet customers where they are
There’s never been a better time for brands to leverage the reach of social media networks and messaging application platforms. Kapoor said brands should monitor conversations that are happening around the world about their brand and participate in those so people know that their favorite brands are actively trying to help them.
For HP, 2008 through 2012 was marked by a journey in social listening and engagement with expansion into Facebook, Twitter and 20 other key social networks globally.
More recently, HP’s social care footprint has progressed rapidly to platforms with regional dominance, in particular messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Line and KakaoTalk in Asia. This adoption is proof that the company looks to reinvent the way it supports its customers’ post purchase experience–and meet them where they are.
Understand the underlying economics of going social
In Kapoor’s journey, she focused on the economic value and customer experience via social channels by answering questions like:
- What’s the cost per contact of serving customers via phone, chat and social?
- How do the resolution rates compare?
- Which channels of support are best suited for various interactions?
Using data, analytics and in partnership with finance, her team built a return-on-investment and cost-per-contact model to highlight the benefits of social care; in particular, to account for the “social multiplier” effect.
For example: with a phone interaction, issue resolution happens one customer at a time, and it is difficult to scale. HP’s online communities have been a key differentiator for the customer-support team–each accepted solution to an issue gets viewed 40 times on average, enabling the company to serve many more customers at any given time.
Break silos within and across the organization–social is a team sport
Kapoor estimates that she’s probably spoken to 1,000 people just within customer support about social care. She emphasized the number of customers served through social and the resolution rates in each channel, showcasing new experiences that can be delivered through mobile messaging, while improving resolution rates, reducing response times and driving greater customer retention.
She highlighted the unique benefit of HP’s online communities–for example, the ability to get real-time feedback from customers on new product launches, common and top issues and being able to serve a large installed base of customers whose product warranty has lapsed.
HP’s marketing team is part of a cross-functional council that comes together regularly to talk about key issues facing social care and marketing. Kapoor has one person on her team assigned as a liaison to communities and one person assigned to social media support, so they know who to go to when there are issues. The team also regularly discusses technology roadmaps, ways to deepen social integration across HP, provide insights from social care across to marketing, key campaigns and more.
Kapoor understands that marketers are most interested in hearing about what they can include in their campaign, as well as delivering quality online reputation management.
With the HP product research-and-development and quality teams, she focused on customer experience design enhancements to lower customer effort and delivering social insights for ongoing improvements, respectively.
With information technology, Kapoor and her team are collaborating to architect HP’s social care technology stack to meet their needs for the future. “It’s important to articulate the value of social care and uncover opportunities to partner that align to a common goal. We cannot be successful in isolation,” she explains.
Be the champion of ‘what’s next’
“I’m excited that a brand like HP can leverage communications, online communities and technology to deliver great customer experiences at scale,” Kapoor says. But the game is always changing. Based on the company’s excellent digital relationship with customers, she gets a view every day about HP customers’ preferences and behaviors.
“You have to lead the entire organization in understanding how your customer base is evolving, how expectations are changing and where you can better address those needs. At this time of unprecedented and accelerated change, is it critical for teams focus their energy to build the new and not fight the old,” Kapoor explains.
“Innovation is your only answer and I am always looking at what is possible,” she added. A few examples of this:
- Kapoor co-funded the development of HP’s WeChat support offering in China and its regional social care command centers.
- HP is integrating Twitter and Facebook Messenger at various support touchpoints, measuring to understand the current customer experience, resolution rates and response times, to continuously improve.
“Where next? I’m exploring new ways to integrate channels and how to embed deeper engagement into our core product experience; as soon as a customer gets their printer or personal system, we can start their social care journey right there. It’s something we’re working on with more to come.” Kapoor says.
I’ll end by focusing on one more key observation: Kapoor mentioned that in order to succeed and drive change at large, you need is personal motivation to keep you going. It takes significant energy and tenacity to drive change, influence others, build a high-performing team and ensure that customers have a great experience as HP reinvents customer services as we know it today.
As I reflect on my career, I want make significant positive impact at scale, do well professionally and do good at the same time. It has taken me four years of self-discovery to have clarity about my personal mission and vision. So if you’re trying to figure out how to be your organization’s (social) change agent, realize that you have to disrupt yourself before you can disrupt your organization.