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Tag Archive for customer social media

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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Customer Feedback Programs: The Social Media Advantage

 

Customer feedback programs are effective tools to learn how your customers perceive your business and provide you with feedback for improvements, but it doesn’t come without limitations; response rate is important, and making sure you’re not only receiving the “extremes” (highly positive or negative feedback only) also plays a factor in the success of your program.

 

One discussion across the industry is whether or not social media will become a new form, or completely replace, customer feedback programs in the future. Let’s face it – people are more likely to voice their opinions on blogs, forums, and other sites than provide that feedback directly to the company. There is also a feeling of anonymity online that allows people to be more honest in these forums.

 

By not keeping tabs on social media surrounding your company, brands may be missing out on potential opportunity. For example, if you’re not monitoring online conversations, you may miss the post of a dissatisfied customer. By not knowing this information and not being able to respond in some way, it can be a lost chance to re-engage that customer and get them to return in the future.
Social media monitoring tools are more sophisticated than they were even a year ago. This development provides analytical data that can be incorporated into the more traditional customer feedback data. Why is this important? First, it gives deeper information on what makes customers tick, and secondly, if can alert a company to potential challenges with their current feedback system. For example, if feedback is coming back at a 95% satisfaction rate, yet online conversations lend to a lower rate, it may be that you are only collecting feedback (or making it inviting enough) from the completely satisfied customers. Is there something you can be doing differently to encourage all customers, regardless of their experience, to share their thoughts?

 

It could be a case of asking the wrong questions. If the questions on a feedback survey are too general, or only focus on one aspect of your business, you may be missing out on valuable feedback. Take, for example, a restaurant’s customer feedback survey. If it asks general questions about the service a customer received and the overall experience, that’s all well and good. However, if social conversations are suggesting that customers are dissatisfied with the food quality or portion size, it may be time to take those issues to your customers in your formal feedback program. If you’re not asking the right questions, you may not be getting full information and miss the opportunity for customer loyalty and retention.

 

With all of the talk about companies monitoring what people are saying online, taking further steps by analyzing the information coming in, and engaging with customers, I can see how this might complement, but not fully replace, customer feedback programs.

 

For now, companies can think of social media as yet another tool at their disposal to learn more about their customers and see their business from the customer’s perception. It’ll be interesting to watch social media evolve over the next few years; its evolution over the last two years has been quite remarkable alone!

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