In a blue ocean of competitors, new products, and informed consumers, brands struggle to stand out. So how does a brand stay on top of customers’ minds, build loyalty and attract new prospects while also staying competitive and innovative? The answer is by giving the customer an exceptional experience.
I know what you are thinking. This is not a ground-breaking revelation. And you are correct; there is a wealth of information that supports the importance of the customer experience. There’s even a fancy industry term, CRM, which means customer relationship management, to separate the outsiders from the cognoscenti.
However, I am talking about enhancing the end-to-end customer lifecycle with social media. Regardless if your company is B2C or B2B, you can enhance the overall experience for your customer. And if it wasn’t obvious earlier—this is not a “nice to have” offering, this is a “must have” to stay competitive.
If you are still wondering why the customer experience is important, consider these stats:
Now that we are on the same page on how critical the customer experience is to your business, let’s look at the connection between Customer Experience + Social Media:
Social plays a big role in the overall customer experience. Customers expect companies to know their individual needs, respond quickly and personalize the customer experience. Social media is the key to unlocking the great experience customers expect.
I mentioned that social can be applied to both a B2C and B2B, and fits well in any industry. For this example, let’s use a B2C bank:
Market Research: Understanding customer sentiment, satisfaction and loyalty around your brand is a cornerstone to CX strategy. Banks may be curious to learn about the average banking consumer’s financial literacy needs, buying interests and banking behaviors – ideally, sorted by demographic and geographic status. A robust social listening tool will provide the insights needed to inform CX strategy.
Build Awareness: Use insights from market research to enhance content that builds awareness of a brand’s offerings, branch locations, promotions, financial education materials, charitable work, etc. Be strategic by distributing on the networks and online sources customers use. Leverage the consumer’s preferred language, keywords and topics of interest to gain their attention.
Engage: Content that is on point with consumer’s interests encourages customers to engage with posts, and enables the bank to start building a relationship. Studies find that 62% of consumers are more likely to become a loyal customer if a brand engages with them on social, and 83% say they liked—or even loved—when a company responded to them on social.
Publishing relevant content and industry information positions the bank as a resource or trusted thought leader. Additionally, the bank can engage with conversations not necessarily directed at them but around applicable topics, providing insights and resources (not soliciting) to prospects and customers, setting the foundation for a relationship and establishing the bank as a trusted resource.
Lead Generation: Using social listening, the bank can identify opportunities to target prospects for specific services and offerings. They can also create campaigns that enable prospects to take action or notify the bank of interest in a specific service (such as a car loan, mortgage, etc.). For example, a link to a landing page with a sign-up sheet for information about a low interest loan can be published and promoted on social networks to actively collect qualified leads.
Social Care/Customer Service: Engagement on social channels helps the bank answer questions for reluctant or confused prospects, and can operate as an avenue to address issues. After all, 90% of consumer buying decisions are influenced by social media, 42% expect a response from a brand on social in under 60 minutes and 30% prefer social media over a call to customer service. Once the prospect has become a customer or the customer has signed up for a new service, the customer can connect with the bank in their preferred method, either by reaching out to the account rep or service agent via email, phone or social. The objective is to provide every opportunity for the customer to address and resolve the issue in a timely manner. According to UserIQ, when an issue arises with a purchase, 70% of customers will continue to do business with a brand if the issue is resolved. That number shot to 91% when the issue is addressed right away. Please note, to meet all federal financial institution regulations, the bank needs to use a social tool that can protect their customer’s information, such as a solution with listening and engagement automations and monitors.
Sales/Sales Reps: Leads that are passed on to sales reps (or in this scenario an account rep), can be nurtured on social networks, as the reps learn about their prospects and build relationships with customers by supplying and discussing content, as well as answering questions.
Advocacy: A customer who has had an exceptional experience with the bank is more likely to talk about it. More than 80 percent of customers will use word of mouth to positively influence purchasing decisions, so you want happy customers talking about your brand. Advocates not only amplify the bank’s social reach, but also attract new prospects since their endorsement has 8 to 10 times more impact than an ad or content that comes from the bank itself.
When it comes to enhancing the customer experience with social, Oracle enables brands to really shine. For example, Spark New Zealand, a telecommunication and ICT products company in New Zealand, was going through a rebranding back in 2014. Spark wanted to help its personal and business customers unleash their creative and productive potential through its innovative products and service. So Spark selected Oracle’s Cloud solutions to carry out this monumental objective. Shortly after launching Oracle Social Engagement and Monitoring Cloud Service’s Spark customers received a 20% faster response to their feedback, which was due the advanced semantic listening capabilities that optimized the routing of relevant insights (such as customer complaints and issues) to the right team. Along with an enhanced social listening, engagement, and customer service, the brand also gained a competitive advantage by automating social listening. Spark New Zealand gained actionable insight into products and services ratings, enabling them to evaluate priorities and focus on more important initiatives, such as implementing an enterprise-wide “voice of the customer” program to identify the top five customer issues. Thanks to Oracle’s Social Cloud and its hard working staff, Spark received recognition from SocialBakers as the 2015 “Top Socially Devoted Brand” in their New Zealand Social Marketing Report.
What will your brand be able to accomplish by adding social to the customer experience?