Support channel preferences are changing rapidly and social media is making a huge impact on service and branding strategy. New generations are clear on how they want to buy and seek product support, and their desires are changing the way you interact with customers. Today, social networking is a key component in formulating a service strategy. Leading social media technologies, like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, YouTube and LinkedIn, are becoming the top channel choice for communicating with the current generation.
The customer experience is inextricably linked to brand experience, and both are key to company success. This is true even more so now because the speed at which a customer’s experience is shared using social networks sets the perception for hundreds of thousands of prospective buyers immediately. See our recent post on Greatest Customer Story Ever Told where a popular restaurant chain gleaned $800k in earned media coverage by responding to just one prospective customer’s Tweet in a very unique way. The story went viral and was viewed by millions of people within days. Imagine an impact like that from just one initial Tweet from a prospective customer and a savvy response from this very fortunate (and smart) company.
Social networking creates interactive communities that enable people to support and inform each on an ongoing basis. Take a look at the company-wide social strategy Best Buy deployed with their Twelpforce initiative. Best Buy encourages all 2,600 of their Twelpforce employees to “engage” with customers and create a superior experience.
Social media plays a key role in how customers discover, research and share information about products and services. In various studies on consumer buying, research shows that nearly 65% of consumers list customer ratings as their preferred source of information when purchasing products and services. Customers who have a great or a poor experience use social media to spread the word to very large audiences instantly AND prospective customers use this information to decide whether or not to purchase your products.
Social media can transform the perceived customer experience for a company literally overnight. That scenario cuts both ways though, and if you are not responding in a genuine and effective way to resolve customer inquiries, you can tarnish your brand experience just as quickly. If customers use social media to say great things about you, your revenues grow faster, they grow higher, and customers stay more loyal to you. Period.
The way you interact with customers and your ability to provide an exemplary customer service experience has never been more important to the future of your business. If you don’t have a social networking service strategy and presence today, you’ll need to build one because your competitors are and you are losing business to them.
For more information on how to define your customer service strategy, contact Lori Carr & Associates today.