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Tag Archive for customer engagement

How Social Media Can Enhance the Customer Experience

With the explosion of social media, customer service is more important than ever and businesses are taking steps to create memorable “customer experiences”.

Social media has put the power back in the hands of the customers and given them a voice to share their experiences. Companies now have huge opportunities to build relationships with their customers through multiple social media channels.

According to Dan Gingiss, podcaster and author of the new book Winning At Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media, customer experience is how people feel about every interaction they have with a company. A customer who has a bad experience at a store or restaurant can quickly take a picture or video of the incident and share it on social media, which can create a firestorm of negative publicity for the company. Conversely, positive experiences can lead to great growth and promotion for a brand.

Walk a Mile in their Shoes

In order to best utilize the power of social media for customer experience, companies need to put themselves in the customer’s shoes by walking through their store, website, or service with the eyes of a customer. Observing things that happen from a customer’s point of view can reveal the challenges and roadblocks in the path and what it means to be a customer of your company. The key to a good customer experience is fluidity—everything should be smooth for the customer and work together to create a cohesive experience for them.

Social media also allows brands to be more authentic and transparent. Today’s customers can see right through automated responses and canned replies; the best way to reach out to people is to take the time to connect with them and build a relationship of trust and authenticity. Customer experience has changed greatly with the growth of social media, and it plays an important role in reaching out to customers and starting a conversation with them. In the future, customer experience will become the major differentiator between brands, so it will be more important than ever to provide customers with a high-quality, seamless experience.

Javed Matin, a sales and marketing consultant, adds: “Companies that truly understand social media are also truly customer-centric.  They understand the real needs of their customers and treat them like family. Social media is like talking to your mother: you can’t get away with anything, so you better be truthful.”

Do Your Research

Social media can also be a useful research tool for understanding the problems in the customer journey and an opportunity for improving the customer experience. Involve yourself in the numerous conversations on social media featuring your brand and turn that data into a research opportunity, highlighting customer grievances and what you can do to stop them from happening.

You can learn a lot from social media, including understanding your audience. Online conversations are a great tool for uncovering consumer insights and social media research allows you to ask interesting questions to get an in-depth look at your audience.

 

Get Creative

Think about the customer experience of following your brand on social media. If all a customer sees is a stream of advertisements, it distracts from the genuineness of your brand. Use a mix of content: share information from other sites, company news and culture, ask questions, be interesting, and have a personality.

 

Customers are people, just like us. Follow the golden rule: treat them how you want to be treated. Only then will you experience success in both social media growth as well as customer experience.

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The Flying Fish

 

When I speak to prospective clients I find that many are not quite sure what is meant by customer engagement and how they can incorporate this into their business.  A little history first. Customer Engagement is not Customer Service. This evolution has occurred primarily because of Social Media.  Wikipedia defines CE this way:

 

Customer engagement (CE) is the engagement of customers with one another, with a company or a brand. The initiative for engagement can be either consumer- or company-led and the medium of engagement can be on or offline.

 

Customer Engagement marries marketing and customer service together with the purpose of building the brand and creating loyal customers in a new and exciting way. When visiting Myrtle Beach recently, I had a fantastic experience at a local restaurant/market called, “The Flying Fish.” When my guest and I walked in, we were immediately greeted and asked if we wanted to sit outside or inside. Pretty normal so far. Next the server got our drinks and brought us out a complimentary fish dip with crackers. Nice and unexpected. The experience was great- overlooking the bay while dining outside on a warm summer evening. Everything was timed perfectly and the food was prepared as the menu described and came out the perfect temperature. 
 

 

The surprise came after dinner. After we paid our bill and began to walk out of the restaurant. We stopped to glance at the fresh fish in the case. After about 90 seconds an employee approached from behind and asked if we had any questions about the fish. We began a conversation and asked her some questions. She then asked what we had for dinner and we told her. She “engaged” with us for another 5 minutes – not selling us, just having a nice conversation. It was one of the very best experiences I have had in a restaurant in quite some time. I will always remember the experience and visit again anytime I am back in town. 

 

How about you? Can you remember the last time an employee actually engaged with you?

 
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