Article by Hootsuite ANZ regional marketing leader Ben Mulligan
Customer experience (CX) is among the most contested business functions in Australia, with many investing a great amount of time and resources into enhancing, evaluating and delivering impactful customer experiences at scale.
Gartner’s 2017 Customer Experience in Marketing Survey indicated that 67% of companies feel they compete mostly or completely on the basis of CX, and 81% expect to do so in the next two years.
Unfortunately, a narrow focus on experience at specific moments in the customer journey can create a distorted picture, suggesting that customers are happier, or imply certain behaviours, which may not be the operational reality.
It also diverts attention from the bigger, and more important, picture: the customer’s end-to-end experience.
Large companies are increasingly looking for ways to engage with customers throughout the whole journey, and conduct personalisation at scale – an ability usually reserved for ‘customer-obsessed’ small to medium businesses.
So, how can companies leverage technology to be nimble and reactive to customer needs?
The answer is social media.
Social media’s position at the core of CX strategies or initiatives is often underestimated.
However, as a channel built upon relationships - and relationships at the core of experience - the scale for customer-centricity, real-time insights and bottom line impact is unsurpassable for many organisations.
Investing in social media management software can bring a few benefits:
Help create a social listening strategy
Imagine the business insights you could gain from an organic form of market research where the sample was made completely of people already engaging with your brand or your industry.
These insights allow companies to better understand what customers need from their product or service and how it is actually used so businesses can then provide services and content more suited to their audience.
Implementing a social listening strategy can access this exact business intelligence by tracking, analysing, and responding to online conversations about your brand and your industry.
Help Scout reported that while 80 % of companies believe that they deliver superior customer service, only 8% of customers thought that same group of companies were actually doing so.
Social listening can resolve these concerns, by identifying what customers expect, and how well the business delivers on those expectations – a simple solution to a complex problem.
Provide sentiment analysis
Companies are under constant pressure to reinvent CX to drive advocacy, and they are struggling to keep up.
In the age of the customer, understanding and responding properly to the sentiments of the market is a business-critical activity, and it's a practice that has a defined impact on an organisation's growth and ROI.
Performing sentiment analysis has helped some of the world’s biggest brands understand their customer sentiment and enabled them to plan strategies and train customer-facing employees better.
Sentiment analysis gathers priceless data from a variety of social channels – making it a gold mine of customer insight for organisations.
The results of this analysis can help the enterprise improve their products, services and brand reputation to become market leaders.
This is particularly significant considering that, according to Nielsen, 83% of global respondents say that they trust the recommendations of friends and family.
Engage with the customer beyond the point of sale
Empowered customers are increasingly demanding a quick, seamless, and transparent buying experience.
Thanks to digital trends like increasing social media use, the rise of mobile, and the expectation of real-time communications, customers are more connected than ever before.
Suddenly, people expect immediacy from brands, friends and their digital community – real-time responses and resolutions need to be on their terms and at their convenience.
Engaging with customers beyond the point of sale is the solution to these evolving requirements.
Having a committed, social-savvy workforce engaging with customer concerns in real-time is key to boosting the CX of the enterprise.
Communicating with them in a meaningful way, beyond making a sale, will make them more likely to return.
Social media management software facilitates real-time response by gathering brand mentions, including unbranded mentions as well as common misspellings and abbreviations of company or product names so that the company can respond proactively and rapidly.
Personalise your interactions with customers
It can seem like a mammoth task to make sense of the sheer amount of data gathered by social channels.
Social media management software helps companies to gather a large amount of data which is analysed, segmented and pushed to different areas of the business to be actioned.
Companies can use the insights gathered to create “buyer personas”, and serve tailored content recommendations, consistently promote interesting content to boost visitor engagement and enhance conversion.
Additionally, authentic responses can be developed simply from information available on Twitter — what was tweeted, where from, who by and when can inform a personalised response that makes a customer feel valued.
Social media is an integral tool that, used wisely, can ensure that each and every individual who is interacting with a company is receiving the personalised and authentic attention they require.
The wealth of data engaged oversight and real-time capabilities provided by social media management software optimises CX like never before.
The benefits of social media are tangible and can have a positive impact on a company’s bottom line.
Measuring new followers, engagement rate, reach, and clicks tell a business what kind of content resonates with their market.
Analysing these metrics on a regular basis paints a clear picture of brand successes and challenges.
Most importantly, leveraging this data and demonstrating the real-world dollar value of social media means brands can make decisions in the future with confidence.