When you do a search for the words "Web Time" very little comes up to define the term, elements and dynamics. Time has become a major factor is peoples lives. There never seems to be enough of it, people demand it and most people want more of it.
In our nano-second hyper speed world of instant communications and expectations of instant answers we get frustrated when "people and processes" steal our time. We want answers, solutions and actions now, not later.
When we don't get instant answers, immediate solutions to our problems or responses to our inquiries it creates a negative frustrating emotion. The whole dynamic of "customer service" is driven by the time factor, answer me now or I'll be frustrated and disappointed. Just look at the blogosphere and consider what people are complaining about: "They took too much time. They couldn't resolve my problem. They put me on hold. I had to go through ten voice response steps to get to a live person and even then they transferred me to another person and I was on hold yet again." Sound familiar?
The more time a supplier steals from their customer the less time the customer has to get their things done! As the major brands wander into the social web the first thing they need to do is insure that they can operate in web time, that's RIGHT NOW, not later!
Customers are used to real time communications and if your customer support system isn't designed for real time responses then your hurting your brand, your reputation and your customers. Get it?
How Important is Web Time?
MediaPost Research Brief notes: "Among the initial findings of a new study, "Exploring the Link Between Customer Care and Brand Reputation in the Age of Social Media," by the Society for New Communications Research, "... there is a growing group of highly desirable consumers using social media to research companies: 25- to 55-years old, college-educated, earning $100,000+..." said Dr. Ganim Nora Barnes, senior fellow, SNCR. "
"As social media usage becomes more ubiquitous, says the summary report, affluent consumers are using social media channels to share their personal customer service experiences and learn about others' care experiences when making purchase decisions."
Top findings include:
- 59.1% of respondents use social media to "vent" about a customer care experience
- 72.2% of respondents research companies' customer care online prior to purchasing at least sometimes
- 84% of respondents consider the quality of customer care at least sometimes in their decision to do business with a company
- 74% choose companies/brands based on others' customer care experiences shared online
- 81% believe that blogs, online rating systems and discussion forums can give consumers a greater voice regarding customer care
- less than 33% believe that businesses take customers' opinions seriously
- Search engines are felt to be the most valuable online tools for this research
No matter what the brand is or what product or service it represents the time factor distinguishes the winners from the losers. All brands promise customer care but only a few are doing it in web time. Just try going to any ISP's or wireless carriers web page. What is your immediate impression? A time suck simply finding information or help that you need. Not very social to say the least.
If your not good at responding, if you waste peoples time and create frustrations the people will take the time to tell everyone about their experience, one to one to millions at the click of a mouse. Besides saving the customer time brands will also need to create social solutions that actually give the customer more time. Impossible you say. Well maybe your not looking in the right places because the possibilities are endless and they are called Socialutions. Get it? If you don't either your competition or your customers (maybe they are one in the same) will and your market will shift at the click of a mouse.What say you?