A recent study by business process outsourcing company Sitel Group uncovered a startling statistic about the relationship between customer experience and social media. It found that while 30% of consumers who have had a negative customer experience say they would share it on social media or post a negative review online, nearly half (49%) of consumers who have had a positive customer experience say they would share it on social media or post a positive review online.
What that means is that people are more willing to share positive experiences than negative experiences on social media. The problem is that consumers just don’t have very many positive customer experiences to share, and thus it seems like Twitter and Facebook are littered only with complaints. To make matters worse, nearly three-quarters of consumers (74%) say they would stop doing business with a company if they received poor customer support or had a bad experience, and 50% say they already have done so.
But therein lies a huge opportunity for brands. Consumers today know what they want and are willing to voice their opinion both to praise and criticize. Smart companies are listening to their customers – in social media and other channels – and using that data to improve the customer experience.
There are two main ways to improve experience – one is to remove known pain points, and the other is to create new experiences that are remarkable (literally: worthy of sharing). A combination of these two is an effective technique to create meaningful change for your customers.
To remove pain points, you need to actually experience the entire customer journey, or literally walk in your customers’ shoes. This goes beyond just scheduling focus groups or white-boarding a customer journey in a conference room; it means actually experiencing it yourself so you can observe and feel just like a normal customer would. Go on to your company’s website and try to navigate it; try to buy your product or sign up for your service. Read the welcome email you receive. Log in to the account center or wherever customers go to transact with you, and download the mobile app. Call Customer Service, then email them, chat with them and tweet them. Try to return a product. If you have a physical location, go to it and see how clean it is, how bright it is, how cold or warm it is, how neat or messy it is, and how friendly the staff are.
By removing pain points, you are reducing the incidence of negative customer experiences and therefore the sharing of those experiences. Sentiment in social media will, by definition, become less negative.
The next step is to turn sentiment positive, and that means creating positive experiences that nearly half of customers say they want to share. These don’t have to be difficult or expensive; in fact, most customer experience improvements are simple. Look at your signage at a physical location, or the way you use language online and in printed materials. Eliminate all industry jargon and acronyms, and identify opportunities to add a few witty or quirky words that will get people’s attention. Find ways to simplify the experience by removing steps in the process; this means fewer clicks or taps online and fewer hurdles to jump through for the customer. Look for points in the customer journey where your employees can go the extra mile and create a remarkable experience – like recognizing someone’s birthday on their identification card, or thanking them for their brand loyalty with a special benefit. These may seem like small things, but they go a long way with customers.
Of course, once you create these positive experiences that people want to share, you must make sure that you respond to everyone in social media. It is especially important to engage with positive comments because they are the people who are voluntarily marketing your brand to others by saying nice things about you in public. Who doesn’t deserve a thank-you for that? Responsiveness in social media contributes back to the overall perception of the brand, thereby improving the experience that was being shared in the first place.
(Image by Alexas Fotos from Pixabay)