We’d like to thank everyone who nominated Boingo Wireless for the 4th Annual Mashable Awards, and we’re delighted to be among the top five finalists for Best Social Media Customer Service! Voting is in full swing from now until December 15, 2010. Mashable has designed the process so supporters can vote every day through Twitter and Facebook. We’d be honored to earn your vote.
While it would be fantastic if Boingo won the Mashable title for Best Social Media Customer Service, I’m thankful we’ve been recognized, both as a finalist and a case study in Mashable’s recent article, “3 Examples of Stellar Social Media Customer Service.” These nods to Boingo indicate we’re on the right path to serving your customer care needs.
The good folks at Mashable recently interviewed us about our customer care approach. Below, I’ve shared our reply. Feel free to post comments. We like it when you connect with us.
What inspired you to start using social media for customer service?
We believe there’s a distinction between customer “service” and customer “care.” Customer service means you’re doing just that – servicing a customer. It’s old school. It’s doing the minimum. We like to think of ourselves as being in the customer *care* business. We want to create connections with folks. We want to foster meaningful relationships. We want people to know we’re grateful for their business and the opportunity to serve them. So as part of that culture of caring, we want to meet people where they are, no matter if that’s a “traditional” channel (phone/email/chat) or a “new” channel (Twitter/Facebook). It’s all about being available to help, no matter where that conversation takes place.
What makes Boingo different from the rest of the nominees?
With respect to our fellow nominees, who do great work, there are a couple of things that set us apart. First, we’re extremely proactive. We don’t wait until a complaint makes its way to us to address it. Instead, we are proactively scanning for comments and conversations to jump in and help. Because of the nature of our service – people using the Boingo Wi-Fi network are generally very pressed for time – we need to be helping “real time.” It doesn’t help if someone tweets a complaint and we show up 30 minutes later to help because by then their plane may be boarding or they have to leave the coffee shop. So we need to be extremely responsive. The other thing which may set us apart is our commitment to authenticity. We don’t hide behind our brand. We use our real names, give our real email addresses, and encourage our employees to engage with customers in ways that feel true to them and their style.
Why should people vote for you for Best Social Media Customer Service?
Voting for Boingo is an endorsement of customer care that is proactive, responsive and authentic. It’s a vote for the “little guys” that manage to deliver outstanding customer care 24/7 on a tiny budget. But mostly, a vote for Boingo means (in the immortal words of Sally Field) “You like us! You really like us!”
What’s next for Boingo?
Ultimately, we want our customers to drive everything we do – from the kinds of products we develop to the places we have hotspots to things we haven’t even thought of yet. To do that, we have to continue to engage with our customers – so we’re focused on creating really deep customer relationships. We would much rather have a community of 100 passionate super fans than 10,000 “followers,” because there’s far more power in the former. So for us, it’s not about numbers, but the level of engagement.
How can you tell when a company’s social media customer service is great? What do you look for?
It’s authentic both to the brand it represents and to the person representing the brand. It’s incredibly responsive. And it goes way beyond just “customer service.” It’s customer care.