Case: Fans Also Love Telling The Good Brand Stories

Case: Fans Also Love Telling Good Brand StoriesBuilding a presence in social media can be terrifying for many brands. Putting oneself ‘out there’ equals no control of what people are saying about you.

The power is in the hands of the customers, and there’s nothing you can do to prevent an individual expressing their opinion – other than of course trying to deal with it in the right way. Any kind of post or comment doesn’t just disappear by itself. And as we have seen so many times, one bad story just leads to another because fans start relating to each other. This is what all brands fear in social media.

But what about the good stories? Sometimes we need to turn things around and realise that fans are not just looking to sabotage brands. They also support you, and there’s a reason to why they’re following your actions. Often, we just let the bad things outshine the good things as one negative comment equals the ten positive comments we were just given.

However, there’s reason to be positive because people who love to tell stories, not only tell the bad ones. We love sharing great experiences that we’ve had with friends and family, and it’s important to remember that these stories spread as well.

Great customer services puts Panera on the map

Yesterday, Adweek published an article about how a fan post on Panera’s Facebook page got half a million likes. First of all, Panera Bread describes themselves as follows: “We are bakers of bread. We are fresh from the oven. 
We are a symbol of warmth and welcome. We are a simple pleasure, honest and genuine. We are a life story told over dinner. We are a long lunch with an old friend. We are your weekday morning ritual. We are the kindest gesture of neighbors. We are home. We are family. We are friends.” And from the story on Adweek, the company seems to live up to their identity.

Last week, a young man in Wilton, N.H., named Brandon Cook posted this sweet story on his Facebook wall about the customer service that he had received at a Panera in Nashua: “My grandmother is passing soon with cancer. I visited her the other day and she was telling me about how she really wanted soup, but not hospital soup because she said it tasted like ‘shit’ she went on about how she really would like some clam chowder from Panera. Unfortunately Panera only sells clam chowder on friday. I called the manager Sue and told them the situation. I wasn’t looking for anything special just a bowl of clam chowder. Without hesitation she said absolutely she would make her some clam chowder. When i went to pick up it up they wound up giving me a box of cookies as well. Its not that big of a deal to most, but to my grandma it meant a lot. I really want to thank Sue and the rest of the staff from Panera just for making my grandmother happy. Thank you so much!” Afterwards, Brandon’s mother Gail reposted her son’s update (slightly edited) on Panera’s Facebook wall that carried along a storm of positive feedback! Since last Wednesday, it has received 500,000 likes and 22,000 comments. And Panera’s wall has been filled with other people thanking the brand for the actions of one store manager.

Case: Fans Also Love Telling The Good Brand Stories

 

The reason why this exact case turned into such a storm of positive comments from fans is first of all down to the touching story that many people can relate to. We love to hear these stories, and we express our sympathy and support by passing it on. The second that we like or comment on the post on Panera’s wall, it spreads to our friends who then feel a need to express their compassion as well. Furthermore, hearing this kind of story provides us with a great impression of the brand. Panera shows a very human and humble side of the company based on a simple act of kindness that many brands can learn from. It’s an interesting case that shows how the great stories do travel as fast as the bad ones – and that good customer service definitely pays off in the end.

Case: Fans Also Love Telling The Good Brand Stories

 

 

Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.