This is a continuation of my previous post How Social Media Enhances Customer Experience Marketing so if you haven’t read it yet be sure to go back and give it a quick read.
We have all heard the saying “the customer is always right”. Well honestly, as much as it kills me to admit, this is true. To what extent you take this saying is completely up to your discretion. I was working with a company previously that took this to a whole new extreme.
Our company was in the business of manufacturing surfboards. These surfboards weren’t your traditional board because they were made of a new type of material being introduced to the U.S. market. In order to increase sales and get people to test the product, we reduced the price significantly. Basically, when we sold a board, the margin was as thin as deli sliced cheese.
We had a customer one day who purchased a brand new surfboard from one of our retailers. A few weeks later we reduced the price on the board because we were doing a seasonal sale. This customer got wind of the price reduction in the board he bought (a few weeks prior, mind you) and wanted to be refunded the difference between his purchase price and the new sale price. Now me, I couldn’t believe this guy had the audacity to ask for a $100 refund. My boss, on the other hand, willingly gave the customer what he wanted. (Not to mention that when he came to get his money, he rolled up in a brand new Ferrari!) The end results for us? He commented about the amazing experience he had on our Facebook Page (BOOM!).
By refunding the customer’s money, we increased the likelihood of him becoming a brand evangelist (which is key!). This was reiterated when he posted on our Facebook Page. He took it upon himself to leave a genuine, personal note. This, my friends, is the ultimate metric in the social media world!
That is the beauty of social media. It allows you to take this type of customer experience to a whole new level. Because you are able to access your customers directly, communicate with them freely, and listen to what it is they need/want/say, you are able to enhance their customer experience drastically.
That was the potatoes, here is meat!
Below you will find 3 steps to leverage social media to better your customer experience marketing:
1. Listening (monitoring)
As in most things business, listening is key. It keeps you honest. And for that reason, many business professionals and businesses don’t want to hear the bad (truth) about themselves or their product/service. Realistically it should be the opposite. This type of information should be used to make your product better and enhance the customer experience. Find out what is wrong from the customers perspective and change it. Obviously, perception, personality, expectation, and a number of other factors are involved. But for the most part, listening to your customers through your social channels, such as Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, etc., will open your eyes to what they are thinking and saying.
2. Fact Gathering
This is key because it determines the route you choose to go on the next step. Let’s look at a hypothetical situation. A customer voices an asinine description of an experience they had with your service or some terrible statement about a fault in your product. They decide to do so on your Facebook Page or yelp profile. Boom! It is exposed to everyone like a nudist on a normal beach. So you need to gather your facts before responding. A good place to start is with the customer. Find out the details from his or her end. Then speak with your employees who were working that day or the individuals that made the product. Analyze the two and make a decision on how you want to respond to increase the customer experience.
Responding should be done in a delicate manner. After gathering your research, you decide one of two things: you are at fault or they are inaccurate with their description of the account. So now what? It is time to respond! If you are at fault, admit it! It is that simple. Just get it out of the way and be very genuine in your apology. It is critical that you walk the fine line of making your point and not discrediting what they have stated (even if it is RIDICULOUS). The best strategy is to recount both sides of the story so it is more transparent. This way you are allowing readers to almost form their own opinion of the situation (which will be to side with you if you did the proper research).
This 3 step process of listening, fact gathering, and responding can go a long way with your company to enhance the customer experience. Protecting your most valuable asset, which is your product or service, is mission critical. There are a ton of strategies that can be integrated but this is a great starting point. As you become more in tune with your customer and start to understand their perspective, the more likely you are to connect with them. This inevitably will enhance your customer experience marketing efforts.
Please leave your thoughts and comments below!