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The thing we love most about the internet (at least those of us who have opinions) is the power to transmit your thoughts barrier free. This power however, can really be scary for businesses. Gone are the days when they controlled what conversations people have about their brands or at least which conversations most people hear just by holding a press conference and issuing a press release – It used to work!
Now in this day were ‘going viral’ is a thing, control is a pipe dream that traditional PR types are trying to keep alive. As the internet gives power to masses upon masses, it’s not ‘creating’ this power from nothing. Power is almost like energy, it can’t be created nor destroyed, it just changes from one state to the other (Source: Mai Kugara, my Form 1 science teacher). The power we now have was once held by PR firms. If you are in business this scares you because you know sooner rather than later there is going to be a complaint from someone (your customer or from someone who never intended to be one) and you do not want that going viral…
NMB Bank has decided to solve this potential problem not by splashing a generous traditional PR campaign. They have welcomed the internet and all its crazy to make it a part of their service delivery and support resource. Most businesses/industries’ initial reaction to internet induced changes or ‘problems’ is to fight the internet and its new models. To date all who have adopted this stance have failed or are failing whether they know it or not (music distribution, publishing, traditional advertising or even taxis are quick examples). You can’t fight the internet and win!
If you can’t beat them join them right? NMB has rolled out a deliberate system of capturing customer feedback online. It’s not your usual “fill in this form on our website and ‘someone’ will get in touch with you” (when they actually mean you will get some auto response message in your email inbox) kind of thing. The NMB online support centre is highly interactive and is fed from multiple platforms.
They are able to capture your feedback from Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and WhatsApp as well as directly via their website. The system allows you to track your query in real time up to the point of resolution. As your issue gets escalated across the organization you will know what is happening at every step. There is no more, “…umm let me check the system…” or “… manager vabuda…” which is ‘customer care’ speak for, “… we don’t remember your issue…” or “… no one has cared to solve your problem just yet…”
A lot of businesses have facebook pages and such, and they do respond when you write on their page or tweet them (yes, some do). The challenge to them is to ensure they can consistently follow through with every query on social media. It’s easy to get caught up in responding to something else before it gets viral such that at best all they can do is to respond to your facebook comment with a nice sounding empty promise to ‘get to the bottom of it.’
With their support centre, NMB has crystallised the customer feedback and customer support loop into a predictable computer logic driven system. As long as a query has entered their system (whether directly or via social pages) it is kept visible to customer support personnel until someone clicks ‘resolved.’ This is played out in front of the gallery: the customer knows exactly where their issue has got stuck and hence the support staff knows not to murk around.
Now it’s difficult for me to place a link here and ask you to test out the system because you will do exactly that – like a friend from college used to do: call an emergency services number to say “makadii henyu.” However, you can like the NMB Facebook page here, follow them on Twitter or connect with them on Linkedin. If you promise not to send, “Testing” to their online support centre, you can create your profile on the platform here.
Oh by the way (seriously I had forgotten to include this), they have a promotion running on their facebook page. Go there and see how you could win HIFA tickets.