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Customer Spotlight: How Travelex Serves their World Traveler Friends

Harry Rollason
By Harry Rollason on Feb 8, 2016 11:32:03 AM

Travelex, the global foreign exchange company and Conversocial customer, operates in two very different industry verticals, with two very different approaches needed. One being travel, where in-the-moment social service is a must. The other finance, where staying within the remits of the law is paramount. One lends itself to fast response times, the other slower more scripted responses. The end goal remains the same however, a social first approach to serving the social customer.

But, how do you manage these two differing playing fields? And how do you build a social service strategy that excels? We sat down with Sabrina Rodriguez, Global Social Media Manager at Travelex to hear her perspective on their recent Supercard campaign.

1) What was the Supercard campaign?

Travelex has undergone a business transformation to ensure it’s best placed to serve the digital consumer of today with sending and spending their travel money. We launched a limited pilot (or beta) of our first digital product, Supercard, in May this year.

The Supercard is a card and mobile app combo for Android and iOS, and is the only financial product of its type that enables consumers to use their existing debit or credit cards abroad and not get charged bank card roaming fees. By storing their existing debit and credit cards within the free app, customers can use the Supercard to spend and avoid any international transaction fees and foreign exchange charges normally levied by their bank. This makes it one of the most competitive spending tools for UK travellers to use abroad.

The really great thing is that with real-time updates through the app, travellers can avoid bill shock as they’re kept updated on the approximate amount that will be debited from their UK account and how much they’ve saved on fees.

2) As Supercard is a mobile app, how do you feel this affected the customer service element of the campaign?

We certainly found that, while we not only managed to capture a new audience that wouldn’t typically come to Travelex for pre-ordering currency or collecting their foreign currency in store, we also saw the emergence of a much more mobile and socially savvy audience. We were also overwhelmed by the level of interest in the app, with over 80,000 users rushing to our website to get their hands on one of the limited  cards on the day of launch; this meant our servers were struggling to keep up with the demand - it really was the Glastonbury of mobile app launches!

Though we still received a number of emails and phone calls, the number of queries flowing in through Social far outweighed our traditional Customer Service channels. We even saw a significant proportion of those social customers setting up a Twitter account specifically to reach out to us. Given the limited nature of the pilot, customers wanted an answer to their query, and they wanted it quickly. In fact, the day of launch alone saw us gain 4000 new followers on our @SupercardUK Twitter profile. That’s certainly an exciting trend to see when we think about the future of our social engagement strategy.

But for me, the real benefit of delivering this Social Customer Service wasn’t just being able to provide customers with a prompt response and reassurance that they were being listened to, but that we were actually able to build ongoing conversations with each and every one of them. Though replying with a quick update or an answer certainly helped alleviate any negative sentiment, what really helped bolster the switch to brand advocacy was our humble tone of voice and our very human demeanor – we showed we cared, not just about their query and getting the issue fixed, but about their future journeys and aspirations. This is really powerful when it comes to building more meaningful relationships with our customers.

@SupercardUK I just wanted to say how impressed I am with your replies to one and all.Other industries should take note.Well done to you all” - Supercard Customer comment (@mikeswalking)

3)How did you brief your internal team on responding to Supercard queries on social? Process? Replies? Tone of voice?

To be honest, it was a bit of a “war room” situation on day 1 of launch, with myself and a number of the Supercard product and marketing managers huddled around a table frantically typing away and getting as many updates and fixes through the door as possible. Given the nature of the unexpected level of traffic to the site, it was absolutely vital that our social messaging was as accurate as possible so as to not mislead our customers – for this reason, I handled the social queries single-handedly for the first few hours or so, just while we got our story straight (and yes, my fingers nearly fell off but luckily I’m a quick touch typer!). Though it was a highly energized few hours, we kept the spirits high – it was ultimately a great thing to have launched a product that saw such popular demand!

As we got into the rhythm and the status updates and messaging became clearer, I quickly pulled together a Google Doc with the top FAQs coming in through Twitter, double checking with the product managers that the template answers were in fact correct. Once this was done, I immediately shared this with our dedicated Social Customer Support team in Peterborough (a team of 2 at the time) and the UK Community Manager. I ensured the communication loop was always open and that if any other queries came up, that I would update the Google Doc or ask members of the team to send me over any new queries that needed a guide answer.

The Social Customer Support & Community Management teams all also have the Travelex Social Media Playbook, which I created with the view to clarifying the whole Social story – from why we’re doing Social in the first place, to how we implement our social content strategy, our tone of voice, our look & feel and even example customer interactions through social. This is essentially our Social Bible, and is useful to have to hand as a core reference tool, alongside a more detailed FAQ guide.

4) What challenges did you face with the campaign overall?

I think the main challenge for the team was the fact that the information was constantly being updated, so it was absolutely key that we were on the same page as each minute and hour passed. I find Google Docs really useful for easy, collaborative working, but it’s always a challenge when you’re working with a team at a distance.

This was also before we had introduced Conversocial as our Social Customer Support Management platform, so at the time we were using a platform which, though it suited our needs at the time of bringing it on board the previous year, was struggling with the load of queries that a new app launch brought us. We were only able to see the messages coming through chronologically, which made it very challenging to ensure we were answering the right queries in the right order. We found we would either miss customers off completely, even if they had messaged us 4 or 5 times, or would be answering a highly influential user too late, simply because their messages were getting pushed down the inbox in the midst of the white noise.

Luckily, Conversocial has changed the game for us when it comes to effectively prioritizing our inbox. In fact, since Supercard, we have also launched our Travelex Money App, which not only allows travellers to pre-order their holiday money conveniently from their smartphones(to pick up in store or have delivered to their home), but, unlike any other travel money app, it provides guidance on how much you’ll need for your trip, based on what others with similar spending habits recommend. For this next launch, we applied a lot of the lessons off the back of the Supercard launch and we were happy to see it go very smoothly indeed. Having Conversocial in place along with a robust FAQ document with numerous scenario plans really helped us with this.

5) What challenges does running a mobile application campaign present to social media customer service?

Mobile apps attract mobile customers, an audience which is used to service on the go and which interacts with brands in the most convenient way possible to them – this is more often than not via Social Media. Having the right support infrastructure to provide efficient Customer Service over Twitter is therefore key. This in itself provides a number of challenges, namely:

  1. Always-on resource – because Social doesn’t sleep!
  2. Robust & agile FAQ documentation – this needs to be continually updated 
  3. Managing the inbox – a smart social management platform like Conversocial allows us to prioritise & delegate effectively
  4. Maintaining a clear tone of voice across the team to allow Social agents to reflect the brand’s social persona 
  5. Employing the right kind of agent – they need to be able to go above and beyond to fix an issue, as well as create meaningful relationships with customers online
  6. Understanding the customer – using social data to better manage & tailor customer queries
  7. Scaling quality – building ongoing relationships takes time, and shouldn’t be compromised

There will inevitably be more challenges in the road ahead of us which we’ll overcome, but we’ve learnt a lot this year and have come a long way because of it. At the moment, my focus is on how we expand our capability as a team and scale the quality of our service as the Travelex mobile product offering continues to grow. But with positive customer and industry feedback, I feel we’re at least on the right path to success.

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