Customer Experience is the hot concept for 2015. Not a day goes by where I don’t see a new chart on how CMO’s are investing in customer experience technologies, or I see a new infographic on customer experience stats and figures. Of course, there is a reason why customer experience is so widely discussed and on top of every marketer’s agenda –positive customer experiences keep your customers coming back.
I recently connected new cable and internet service at my home. Everything worked except my new high-speed internet. The technician came out on Sunday and by Wednesday, it still wasn’t working. I called with a complaint (phone being my preferred channel) and immediately got several helpful representatives that were committed to getting it working immediately – which they did. I then received a personal call from a supervisor asking if there was anything else they could do for me (hey – offer me free service for a year would be nice).
The point was that even though I was irritated with the service not working, the positive customer experience I had with the immediate attention to my problem quickly diffused my irritation and I am now quite happy with the company. If they had not handled my call with priority, I would have quickly looked for a new provider and most likely, shared my negative experience on Facebook.
There are many components to creating positive experiences. However, social media is often overlooked as an important aspect of a company’s customer experience strategy. Social consumers are on the rise, and they expect companies to engage with them on social channels. While I was ready to share my complaints on social, many other consumers use social media for all aspects of customer service, from beginning to end. And great customer service creates great customer experiences.
Just how often do consumers use social media for customer service? Check out these statistics:
- 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media site for servicing, compared with 33% for social marketing. (J.D. Power and Associates)
- 33% of users even prefer to contact brands using social media rather than the telephone. (Nielsen)
The company, OneDesk, also created a great infographic on social customer service:
Tips to Improve Customer Experiences on Social:
- Engage with Consumers Through Social: You may be using a variety of social channels already for marketing purposes – sharing content, blogs, promotions, etc. Consumers must also be aware that you welcome and encourage them to share their opinions and feedback on Facebook, Twitter, or other social sites you use. However, be sure you sure you are actively monitoring these sites – on a continuous basis. If a consumer has posted a complaint or question, they expect a quick response, typically within 1 -2 hours at the most. Resolving their questions and complaints will not only create a satisfied customer, but other social users will see how quickly the issue was handled as they form their own opinions about your company.
- Integrate Social Media into Customer Journeys: While consumers use social media for customer service inquiries, they are also using social to make purchase decisions. The consumer’s path to purchase is no longer linear. They move back and forth between channels, research on-line, use mobile, and engage in social conversations to get recommendations. Social media must be integrated into your overall marketing strategies to not only listen to your customers but to drive a seamless experience as they make purchase decisions. Your social media networks should be used to educate (think videos, pictures, blogs, etc.), share special events, promotions, and contests that will appeal to your customer and prospect segments, and provide easy navigation to drive them to your e-commerce sites or physical locations.
- Use Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) to Engage Social Users:DaaS is a concept you may not be familiar with, but it can be used to ramp up your marketing strategies in exciting new ways. In the simplest of terms, DaaS sources consumers who are in-market for products and services you (or your competitors) sell and delivers this data to you on a daily basis so you can send them targeted offers. DaaS combines your internal customer data (POS, email systems, billing departments, etc.) with real-time and Hard-to-Find-Data (HTFD). DaaS sources these specialty data sets in a variety of ways, such as crowdsourcing, web mining, transactional data, and social media.The average global Internet user spends 2.5 hours daily on social media. A vast array of data is available on personal preferences, likes, “check-ins”, shares, and comments users are making. As one component of DaaS, social media is monitored for any type of social purchase signaling, such as “Furniture Recommendations,” “Getting Married,” or “Looking for a New Car”. These records are scraped and delivered so you can send personalized and targeted offers through digital ads or other channel systems. Just imagine how you can enhance customer experiences and perceptions about your brand as you send them a personalized offer for something they are looking for at just that moment.
Customer experiences are quickly outweighing the “best value for the buck” mentality. Consumers are willing to pay more for positive experiences, and for those companies who are delivering, research shows they typically grow at double the rate of their competitors. And the social customer experience is an important component to boosting your competitive edge.