January is named after the Roman god Janus, who had two faces to see both the future and the past. So this is a good time to be reflecting on progress made, as well as making plans.
Over the last few months I have been working on a project of transformation: to design and deliver a robust process for digital customer service at the British Museum. To summarise what has been achieved so far:
- A new Visitor Insights team has been established within Marketing, working alongside the social media and email team.
- A combination of software tools enables us to capture over 40,000 comments and queries every month from online reviews, social media mentions and direct messages, emails & comment cards.
- A logging system has been designed to categorise and respond to the around 500-700 direct comments and enquiries we receive each month.
- We have set different target response rates for each communications channel, and around 95% of messages have been responded to on time.
- We have started producing monthly insights reports tailored to key departments.
There are some fairly obvious next steps for us to make our system as comprehensive and sophisticated as possible within our current resources:
- Baseline the data collected so far to understand norms and trends, and set KPIs for the next financial year.
- Ongoing refinement to automate as many aspects of the process as possible – this will include trialling an open source, cloud-based helpdesk system to manage the workflow around customer service emails, both within the team and between departments. The more we can remove manual elements (such as generating unique reference numbers, recording dates and assigning tags), the more we can eliminate human error, and by becoming more efficient we free up the team to take on more complex challenges and be more proactive.
- Become more agile and mobile-first. We’re experimenting with messaging tools like Slack and What’sApp and will start to prioritise using app-based versions of the tools and platforms to ensure that the system works on-the-go, as well as at weekends.
- Celebrate success. We need to be loud and proud about what has been accomplished in order to keep advocating for investment in this area, and to ensure that the visitors’ voices are heard. This is about sharing positive visitor feedback more widely across the Museum, as well as highlighting the tangible improvements to the visit experience that have come about as a result of negative feedback. The insights have to be actionable.
And since this is the time of year for predictions, I will throw my hat into the ring with a few thoughts on what 2017 might have in store:
- Chatbots. Such a buzzword and still feels quite futuristic but I think they aren’t too far away for us. We will make the most of the evolving Facebook Messenger Assistant and look out for the right opportunity to build something more bespoke.
- Communicating with Chinese audiences is becoming increasingly important. We will re-open our major Asia gallery in late 2017 and I would like that to be supported by developing our profile on WeChat as well as providing visitor support in Mandarin across multiple channels.
- I’m interested in developing a more nuanced spectrum of sentiment. I think the range of Facebook reactions indicate the direction of travel, and that the bluntness of positive<neutral>negative will not be enough to understand and represent how our audiences feel about us.
Proactive customer service feels like a big opportunity, but raises lots of questions. How do we identify an influencer during their visit (and how do we define what kind of influencer is valuable to us?) What would be an appropriate way to spontaneously interact with them and take their visit to the next level, and what would be the benefit? Would it be wonderful to unexpectedly receive a birthday surprise at the Museum because we read your tweet… or would it be creepy.
Header Image courtesy of Sadler’s Wells © Stephen White LightSpace by Michael Hulls