The Last Straw: Consumers Are Concerned About Plastic, and Small Changes From Big Brands Aren’t Enough
By Natascha SturmJan 21st
Published January 11th 2017
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. So said ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. But who walks a thousand miles these days? The Proclaimers, obviously. But basically nobody else.
Nowadays, a journey of a thousand miles starts by reaching for your phone or laptop. Research could take in social media, Google searches, website visits, phone calls, speaking to staff at the airport and on the plane, and if you’re unlucky, a follow-up trying to salvage your lost luggage.
That’s a lot of opportunities for your customers to feel delight, indifferent, or disgust. Luckily, these opportunities for the customer are reflected for the brand: data can be easily collected to understand and improve the experience.
Customer experience management (abbreviated to CEM or CXM) is the process used by brands to oversee and track all interactions with a customer during their relationship with the company. The goal is to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy by meeting and exceeding customer expectations.
Building a great consumer experience is a complex task. There are multiple touchpoints across a number of devices and channels.
Brands need to understand all these touchpoints in order to map out the end-to-end customer journey and improve sticking points. Tracking and improving these areas requires the potentially complex integration of technology and data.
These more sophisticated techniques can bring bigger returns, but regardless of maturity level, brands can benefit by turning to social media.
Social media plays an important role in customer experience management. It is both a research tool for understanding the problems in the customer journey and a channel for improving the customer experience.
The volume of branded, organic conversations on social media allows the data to be turned into a research opportunity, highlighting customer pain points and allowing you to improve the overall experience.
When brands first embraced social media it was mainly as a marketing and selling tool. Socially savvy brands have now realized that social media is first and foremost social.
From sharing interesting content to answering questions and complaints, social media covers multiple business uses, and all of them form a part of the customer journey.
The first step in improving customer experience is understanding your audience. This knowledge will inform all of your marketing and is also the foundation for CEM.
Rather than counting up mentions of your brand, social media research allows you to ask interesting questions and get an in-depth look at your audience.
Think about the customer experience of following your brand on social media. If a brand delivers a constant stream of adverts, it jars with the rest of the social experience.
A mix of content works much better than a barrage of sales messages. Share content from other sites, making you an authority in your industry. Share company news and culture, ask questions, be interesting, and have a personality.
Customer service is clearly one of the main priorities for improving customer experience, yet many companies don’t offer the service that consumers expect. This provides a great opportunity for brands who want to take their customer service to the next level.
In fact, implementing robust social media customer service can see a reduction in costs, quicker response times (vital from the CEM viewpoint) and happier customers.
Personalized marketing improves the customer experience massively by ensuring more relevant messaging is seen. In fact, HBR reports that personalization can deliver five to eight times the return on investment for marketing spend.
The nature of social media allows a chance to show off your company culture.
A press release is dense with information and will tend to be quite dry, and your website will highlight the benefits of your product or service in a professional tone. Social media is a chance to show the human side of your brand.
Competitor intelligence is important: you need to be offering a better experience than your rivals. But it is worth remembering that consumers are interacting with a large number of brands and will have other experiences to compare your efforts to.
The standard for a good brand experience is not being set by your prior engagements with that customer, or even by the industry standard, but by the best brands across all industries.
Customer experience management provides a chance to know the most common questions and pain points. Collect data on different types of issues as they arise to discover the most common problems.
You may be striving towards more complex customer experience management, but only part of that change is technological. Changing the company culture to focus on these issues is equally important.
Using the research power of social media will help your business become more customer-centric, and highlight issues that can be fixed both on social media and in the wider customer journey. In this age of customer reviews and word-of-mouth, this change can become the differentiator between you and the competition.