As it turns out, the strategic presentation of visual information is one of the keys to engagement. Did you know that Instagram followers have a level of engagement that is 58 times higher than Facebook users? The speed and clarity at which visual information can be processed and understood is unrivalled.
But the first thing that comes to mind when you think of customer service probably isn’t Pinterest. In fact, most people would probably struggle to come up with an answer if you asked them how Pinterest could really make a difference in any business’ customer service operations. However, there’s much more than meets the eye to Pinterest when it comes to the functionality of its thematic photo sharing platform.
In order to see how Pinterest can produce a beneficial impact for customer service, let’s think a little bit about what constitutes good or desirable customer service practices. On a fundamental level, the ideal customer service experience answers the customer’s question or complaint in an amiable, prompt, and clear fashion. Pinterest’s primarily image-centric and thematic presentation makes it an ideal medium to communicate difficult ideas in an intuitive and non-intrusive manner.
Pinterest’s Unique Visual Flair
Kristin Larsen’s success in leveraging Pinterest to attract an incredible amount of attention to her businesses and blogs is an example of the power behind the visual organization of Pinterest. She writes: “Practically overnight, my page views shot up,” Larsen says. “In one year, I went from 5,000 to over 230,000 monthly page views!” It’s quite the dramatic rise to popularity.
The selling point of Pinterest both as a company and as a method of providing customer service lies in its innovative visual presentation. Understanding the ins and outs of how Pinterest works, attracts users, and disseminates ideas is a vital part of getting the most out of the platform. One unique feature of Pinterest is its representation of ideas using the concept of its namesake Pins.
Pins are a collection of individually sponsored ideas that users can put up and the basic format of a pin requires it to include a picture, description and a source link. Pinterest claims in its business section that user generated pins are a central part of its idea economy and that diverse, actionable ideas make the platform unique in its influence. There are even greater opportunities for spontaneous collaboration between multiple people because Pinterest also offers virtual community spaces known as boards.
The applicability of this visual flair to customer service lies in the idea that visual ideas that are organized by theme and similarity are much more accessible to confused or unsatisfied customers looking for answers. Instead of waiting on a representative to take a call and tediously explain the solution behind a common problem, customers can now access a visual walkthrough of the problem and even possibly compare their issue with older customers who have faced and solved the same issue before.
Idea Discovery and Social Facilitation
Pinterest’s online presence is much bigger than you might believe – the company reports to have passed the 100 million user milestone in late 2015. Something interesting to note about Pinterest is that while there are often comparisons of Pinterest as a competitor to social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, Pinterest sees itself as serving the same market as Google or StumbleUpon in promoting the discovery of new ideas.
Recognizing that Pinterest serves as an idea exchange rather than only a social media network is an important idea for understanding its application to customer service. By utilizing the idea exchange network of Pinterest in conjunction with its ability to encourage social collaboration to solve problems, customer service issues can be addressed very promptly and intuitively. In fact, Pinterest has created a number of search functions to help aid the user’s discovery experience.
The Visual Customer Service Model
Let’s say you’re sold on this idea that visuals can give your company a major break when it comes simplifying customer service issues. How can you start setting up a Pinterest board in a way that allows for intuitive access to common complaints and frequently asked questions? For starters, you’ll want to include a board with official explanations and another board documenting the personal experiences of customers running into an issue.
The first board will be similar to a visual version of an FAQ page. Your goal in creating this Pinterest board is to carefully curate and design a number of images that make the basics of your product or service clear. In other words, the answers should be contained within the visual information presented in the Pins you create.
A second board with customer complaints and solutions will also be useful. As time passes, this board will grow slowly. Soon, you’ll have a bank of customer experiences that your new customers can cross-reference to find specific solution to their issue. These information sharing structures make customer service much smoother, less repetitive, and more efficient as a whole.