Many enterprises have experienced with social media and now want to develop opportunities that influence customers to favor their brands or buy their products, yet vast majority of business leaders are still falling short understanding their customers’ needs and expectations. While being perfect may be impossible, but responsiveness enables enterprises to appear more appropriate and deliver experiences at the right time to build strong customer advocacy. However, I am quite surprised to see the results of a new survey carried out by American Express on consumer preferences that found more than eight in ten consumers of which 83% have bailed on a purchase because of a poor service experience on social media.
Where the enterprise fails on its promise: Social media has revolutionized the way people interact with each other and if the customers are not getting the response they need from you, they are a lot quicker to share their frustration with friends and other networks now.
- Shortcoming in understanding the customers: The challenge is, social technologies are relatively new for most of the companies, and when companies invest in social media with little understanding of how it influences their customers - they encounter serious issues. In general, business leaders tend to focus on the operational excellence - “What can be created faster, cheaper and more efficient, rather than “what their customers may value the most”.
- Underestimating social media as a secondary activity: Today, customers rely heavily on digital communication and have high expectations in regards to your customer service. However, many businesses fail to monitor customers’ preferences and attitudes that lead to a bigger crisis - the issue may be shared publically, and would negatively impact your brand.
- Unable to offer consistent content across different social platforms: A mature coordination within various social accounts has still been missing and known as a greatest challenge – when publishing content through social platforms, your company often can’t stay on top of all these messages and can’t tell what’s been responded to, resulting in a huge risk to your brand reputation.
- Skeptical about talking to social channels: The vast majority of business leaders and C-level executives are still absent or ignoring to communicate with their customers through social channels. A recent survey by BRANDfog explains when senior executives within any company become active on social media, it can increase brand trust, loyalty and purchase intent. cal about talking to social channels: The vast majority of business leaders and C-level executives are still absent or ignoring to communicate with their customers through social channels. A recent survey by BRANDfog explains when senior executives within any company become active on social media, it can increase brand trust, loyalty and purchase intent.
Don’t allow others to define your brand
A brand is a perception that lives in the minds of your customers. And someone said it correctly, that perception creates value and your customers value the promise your brand offers to them. To succeed you must be willing to learn how to effectively use social accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and your blogs for finding potential customers. A company has to be involved and use analytical tools to review what your community has been talking; also must listen to and respond to customers when they seek information from you. Always remember, a timely responsiveness can make a lot of difference to customers’ opinion about your brand.
Understand your customers and their social media journey
Learn from others
Marketers must align their social initiatives with their customer experience strategy – With the use of existing social media accounts, a company can understand their customers’ digital touchpoints, identify gaps in customers’ product perception, and create metrics to keep the organization true to its social objectives. I have expressed some thoughts on my previous write up “Want to win faster than your competition – Become the People’s champion, First” as how companies can effectively engage and involve their customers via social channels.
- Listen to your customers: Dell generates more than 20,000 oline conversations throughout a day, which is not at all easy to manage. However the company uses social media listening command center to successfully manage the information and learn/engage with its customers. The manufacturer understands why social listening is important – Due to its defined approach to listening; it can track real time customer insights and take timely action.
- Become responsive: In May 2010, when the volcano in Iceland spread tons of ashes in the air, most of the planes were grounded for days – During that crisis period KLM increased the number of staff devoted to social media accounts, by simply using Facebook and Twitter to help their customers. After gaining experience under such circumstances, KLM has expanded its use of social media to reach customers.
- Let the audience understand what you need from them: Customers can generate ideas outside of your internal team - Best buy and Star bucks have initiated idea-exchange sites, whereby customers provide feedback on their existing products, services and experiences. While such sites generate equal criticism as well as useful insight, it’s always good to tell potential customers that a new product was created with the direct inputs of existing customers.
- Focus on building relationships, not transactions: As a customer, I always seek for an actual and timely response. Social, being a tool can empower deeper relationship with your customers. In Sephora’s beauty talk online community, the company’s experts help customers understand how to use number of cosmetics, makeup, skincare, and other beauty products, in addition to answering their customers’ queries; the community offers a video library that shows how to get the trendy looks.
- Understand the power of mass collaboration: The wisdom of the crowds cannot be captured if the crowds don't participate. GE's ecomagination challenge utilized Brightidea's platform to raise awareness of the need for innovative energy solutions while also encouraging the general public to offer solutions for implementation.
Create and sustain momentum with your online customers
Use social media as a marketing channel like you do use your primary methods - with TV ads, radio and prints etc. Remember, your customers are not making any unreasonable demands - they simply want to be treated like individuals. By paying heed to customers’ grievances, a company can learn constructive lessons and reduce the impact of such criticism in public.