Social media as a solution to bad customer service

Exceptional customer service is among other things about being on equal terms with your customers and serving as a customer ambassador in your company. Yesterday, I received a question on Klout. Here it is: can businesses use social media as a solution to bad customer service?

While it is a valid question with a pretty simple answer, I think the problem causing the question lies deeper. The issues that I think are of bigger weight are these:

  • How is your business utilising different channels of communication to practice exceptional customer service today?
  • How do you manage bad customer service in other channels? Is there really a difference?
  • What causes bad customer service?

Bad customer service is not something that just happens, that you do not have any control over. It is very often a reflection of your company’s values, priorities and methods. Thus, while social media can be a solution to bad customer service (which really is the manifestation of your failing to spiking your channel strategy up a bit), it is most definitely not the solution to the root of your problem.

Analysing thank-you-for-downloading-[browser] pages: Opera

This post is a part of the enterprise I have set out on—an analysis of how different web browser developers use words and images after you have decided to give their product a try by downloading it.

Opera logo
Opera logo

Web browser: Opera

Opera is the fifth and last web browser in my thank-you-for-downloading-[browser] page test. Opera’s thank-you page is clean and simple, with a clear headline, “Thank you for choosing Opera Browser, we hope you enjoy it.”

1. What is about to happen

By removing most of marketing-type of content and only having two sentences taking up the whole page, Opera are sending an unwritten message to the user. “If your download does not start automatically, please click here.” What’s about to happen? The download will start automatically! What’s the unwritten message? Downloading Opera Browser is easy.

Opera’s thank-you page in Safari on OS X
Opera’s thank-you page in Safari on OS X

2. What is required of user

Opera are making a point of ease of installing their browser, too—not just downloading it. The “please click here” bit does it graciously. True, both Chrome and Firefox included a link to force start a download on their thank-you pages. The big difference is though that Opera rely solely on that, without making any assumptions as to what operating system or browser you are using to download their product. The text is the same on both Windows and OS X.

Opera’s thank-you page in Internet Explorer on Windows 7
Opera’s thank-you page in Internet Explorer on Windows 7

3. How to get started

The only way for users to get a hint of how to get started with their new browser is a link Help in their secondary navigation. The link leads users to Opera’s forums, where they are encouraged to search, to see if their question has been posted before.

4. Spreading the love

Opera provide do not let users who chose to give their browser a try to share their choice (just like Firefox).

Other observations

Opera is the only company assuming publicly that users choose to give their browser a try.

Conclusion

My suggestion to Opera is to continue keeping things simple and considering how adding a way for people to share their browser with others might be of use.

How to include a hyperlink into a Google Spreadsheet cell

Here’s a quick tip on how to include a hyperlink into a Google Spreadsheet cell. The function lets you insert a hyperlink into any other spreadsheet program.

Function:

=HYPERLINK(URL; Text to display)

Copy-and-paste example:

=HYPERLINK("http://celareartem.com"; "Take a look at this awesomeness!")

Psst! Google have started highlighting the cell containing a hyperlink, when you hover over it:

Google Spreadsheet highlighting hyperlink cells

Analysing thank-you-for-downloading-[browser] pages: Safari

This post is a part of the enterprise I have set out on—an analysis of how different web browser developers use words and images after you have decided to give their product a try by downloading it.

Safari logo
Safari logo

Web browser: Safari

Safari is the fourth web browser whose thank-you page I am testing. Both Internet Explorer and Safari are hard to find a download page for, since there are many ways to download these two browsers. Just likw with Internet Explorer, there is no Safari thank-you page to analyse. A single get-our-latest-web-browser page from Apple is also as hard to find—there are several. Let’s look at this support page instead of this one, for example.

1. What is about to happen

Just like Microsoft, Apple do not offer any overview of what is about to happen when you click, or have clicked, on their Download button. The only thing that suggests the coming action is the text on the button saying just that, “Download”.

2. What is required of user

Neither do Apple include anything that users are required to do during the download/installation. Very loose system requirements are present though: “Any PC running Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista or Windows 7”. Both Apple and Microsoft seem to rely strongly on the ease of installation of their product.

Safari’s download page in Internet Explorer 9 on Windows 7
Safari’s download page in Internet Explorer 9 on Windows 7

3. How to get started

Apple do not provide any introduction to Safari for users who decide to download their product. They seem to expect users to know how to operate their newly downloaded addition to the family of programs on their PC.

There only link that vaguely resembles some kind of support with Safari (the link to “detailed information on the security content of this update”, is broken.

4. Spreading the love

There is a way for users to share the download page with their friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter. But users are expected to know where to click, in order to do it. (Hint: the icon with a title/tooltip “Share”, good luck!)

Other observations

The download page is part of apple.com, which makes it seem to be consistent with everything Apple. There are ambiguous to a common user codes and ID’s on the download page, like download ID (DL1531) and SHA1 (Windows)= f601df0106987bfffc3f22b046ba835e4f8d29c6, whatever that means.

Conclusion

My suggestion to Apple is to think twice how they want to promote downloading their product on apple.com. The best way would be including a link to a download page on the presentation page of Safari. But that would be too obvious a choice, wouldn’t it?

Last up: Opera. Don’t miss it, follow me on Twitter for updates.

Analysing thank-you-for-downloading-[browser] pages: Internet Explorer

This post is a part of the enterprise I have set out on—an analysis of how different web browser developers use words and images after you have decided to give their product a try by downloading it.

Internet Explorer logo
Internet Explorer logo

Web browser: Internet Explorer

Version: 10

Internet Explorer is the third web browser in my thank-you-page test. The thing about Internet Explorer is that there is no thank-you page to analyse. There is, however, a get-our-latest-web-browser page from Microsoft. Let’s look at it instead.

1. What is about to happen

Microsoft do not offer any kind of an overview of what is about to happen when you click, or have clicked, on their signature flat-designed button “Get Internet Explorer 10”. The largest font-size on the page belongs to the heading “Fast and fluid for Windows 7”, which makes a point and destroys it. The word “fluid” does not necessarily have a good connotation, to my mind. In combination with “fast”, it has the “unpredictable” and “confused” ring to it.

2. What is required of user

One thing Microsoft do include, nevertheless. The users are informed that by clicking “Download now” (let me tell you, I’ve searched the page to and fro for another instance of the phrase or a thing to click, without any success), they agree to “the Internet Explorer Software license terms | Privacy statement | System requirements”. The three documents are interesting and if you haven’t read them, I encourage you to do so, if only to get acquainted with what you are getting yourself into, when you decide to get Internet Explorer 10 on your machine.

Except for a computer meeting system requirements, the users are not required to do anything. Microsoft must rely wholeheartedly on the ease of installation of their product.

Internet Explorer’s download page in Internet Explorer 9 on Windows 7
Internet Explorer’s download page in Internet Explorer 9 on Windows 7

3. How to get started

Microsoft has a page-wide introduction to Internet Explorer 10 with a hard-to-interpret heading “See what’s next for Internet Explorer”. The link “See it now” leads to Internet Explorer 10 presentation page, where you are led to understand that Microsoft’s browser and latest operating system are forever interwoven.

Back to the download page. Microsoft provide users with superb marketing shmoodle and shambalamba. The new Internet Explorer is “Fast”, “Easy”, and “Safer”. There are links to a page where you can download a different language or version of Internet Explorer 9, to a page where you can explore what’s new and exciting about Internet Explorer 9 and to a page where you can get support for… you guessed it, Internet Explorer 9.

4. Spreading the love

Microsoft provide a way for users to share the download page with their friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter. Moreover, they include the Facebook Like button for page visitors to click on, thus joining the rest of 2.5 million of planet’s inhabitants showing appreciation of the company.

Other observations

There is an option for users to choose to set Bing as a default search engine before they download the browser. This is how I interpret “I would also like Bing and MSN defaults” anyway. What an MSN default is, I have no clue.

Conclusion

My suggestion to Microsoft is to get the purpose of the page straight and get rid of all the noise and bloat. I am left confused, when I think about who the target audience is. I would be surprised if Microsoft knew the answer themselves.

Next up: Safari. Don’t miss it, follow me on Twitter for updates.

The anatomy of success

Success comes from either of these two: making extraordinary ordinary or making ordinary really good. Focus on and pursue one of the two and some day, you are bound to hit the mark.

Now, if you prevail at both, the combination does not merely bring about success. It shows a sign of genius. This prevalence makes any effort to succeed at superiority futile.

What you have achieved then is not success. What you have created is the name.

Analysing thank-you-for-downloading-[browser] pages: Mozilla Firefox

This post is a part of the enterprise I have set out on—an analysis of how different web browser developers use words and images after you have decided to give their product a try by downloading it.

Mozilla Firefox logo
Mozilla Firefox logo

Web browser: Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is the second web browser whose thank-you page I tested. It is simple and reminds of Google Chrome’s thank-you page with a big headline and three images. The gratitude is expressed by “Thank you for downloading Firefox!”, which is part of a line of text just below the headline that says, “Different by design” attracting more attention than the thank-you phrase itself.

1. What is about to happen

Just as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox utilises visual means to simplify the description of the process of downloading and installing their product. The three steps are not labelled, but rather there are several-line-long descriptions under the images of what happens when a user has clicked the download button.

Mozilla Firefox’s thank-you page in Safari on OS X
Mozilla Firefox’s thank-you page in Safari on OS X

In the case of Firefox, just like with Chrome, the three images illustrating the three steps match the operating system that you use at the moment. However, the first image sports a downloads window… of Mozilla Firefox. I do not know how often you browse your way to Firefox’s thank-you page using Firefox. The browser version that is being downloaded in the illustration is 12 versions older than the present one. Which shows when the thank-you page was updated last.

2. What is required of user

Mozilla Firefox recognise that the process of installing a program on Windows is more complicated than that on OS X, for example. They ask the user to clicking Run in the Internet Explorer dialog bar. In the next step, they ask you to launch the Mozilla Firefox setup wizard and follow the instructions (with a disclaimer that the process is made as painless as possible).

Mozilla Firefox’s thank-you page in Internet Explorer on Windows 7
Mozilla Firefox’s thank-you page in Internet Explorer on Windows 7

On OS X, Mozilla do not just encourage users to drag the icon of the newly installed web browser into Dock or, like Chrome, right-click it and select ‘Keep in Dock’. They make it part of installation procedure instead.

Firefox make it easy for the user to force download, should it not begin automatically. However, the link is less prominent than on Chrome’s thank-you page (the link text is “click here”) and is a constituent of the first step.

3. How to get started

Firefox do not provide a loud reference to a tutorial on how users are to get started with the new browser. There is, nevertheless, a helpful list of links (Tour among them) which lead users to resources that are meant to enhance their browsing experience with Firefox. The list includes links to Support pages as well as Mozilla’s rather new mobile browser.

4. Spreading the love

On their thank-you page, Mozilla Firefox do not in any way let their new users share what they’ve just accomplished.

Other observations

Mozilla appear to focus on the interaction between the browser and the user on a much deeper level than Chrome, at least according to their thank-you page. By careful choice of words and images, they show that users’ experience with their browser starts of by comparison. It is one of several browsers on their machine, and if they give it a try, they will find it superior to the others. Far-fetched as this interpretation might be, here’s what I find supporting this idea: the Dock in OS X sporting shiny new Firefox icon has also Safari on it.

Mozilla come across as more agressive concerning competition on the browser battlefield than Chrome. They focus on contrast: “Different by design”, “You’re going to love the difference”, “[Download] could take a few minutes, but it’s worth the wait”, “[C]lick on Firefox whenever you want to use the web!”

The differences between how Firefox’s thank-you page is shown on different operating systems are only slight. Besides, they do not interfere with Mozilla’s goal of appearing as “different” (read “superior”).

Conclusion

My suggestion to Mozilla is to continue making a stand for the browser superiority and adding a way to share users’ download activity with their friends.

Next up: Internet Explorer. Don’t miss it, follow me on Twitter for updates.