How Travelex and eBay use social customer service to improve products

With a little ingenuity, there is a genuine opportunity for brands to convert negative social media feedback into better products.

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In a recent interview on Social Media Today, Dallen McKee, Global Social Media Customer Care Team Leader at eBay, describes how the e-commerce giant discovered, after launching a badly received mobile product, that social media could provide them with faster, more detailed feedback than sifting through their telephone support records.

EBay’s product and technical teams now reach out to their customer service colleagues before product releases to ask: “Can you get x amount of headcount positions to search for this feedback as it comes in, get it real-time, and we’ll make changes on the fly”. Customers are, in effect, improving their own product experience.

At last year’s Social Customer Service Summit in London, Sabrina Rodriguez, Global Social Media Manager for Travelex, provided a similarly insightful snapshot of life within one of the world’s largest foreign exchange companies.

Recruit the critics

Travelex had discovered the hard way that their customers were very vocal on social media and that the company had a reputation as “the rip-off guys at the airport”. After identifying a number of their keenest critics who were also users of their Supercard product, they invited them to join a Facebook Group. The aim of the group was to test new features prior to release and gather honest feedback within the relative safety of a private group.

The Facebook Group, which users could access via their mobile phones while they were travelling, began with 17 users but proved hugely successful. The feedback they provided helped to create and hone several new product offerings. The group was even invited to the Travelex office for an internal product ‘hackathon’. In 2016, Travelex had planned to expand the group to 100 users.

These examples suggest that, given a little ingenuity, there is a genuine opportunity for brands to convert negative social media feedback into better products, reduced costs and an improved customer experience.

The critical link between the two stories is obviously the collaboration between customer service and product teams. The challenge for organisations is equally apparent: how can we get our internal teams working to shared objectives?

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