Social media is ubiquitous both online and off. Tonight as I was watching the San Diego Padres verse the Los Angeles Dodgers, they had someones Twitter comment up every time there was a break in the game. The same can be said of ESPN’s SportsCenter. Every time I watch the show they have a hashtag (#) focused top10 or another creative phrase that allows the viewers to become more involved. Social media is being exposed to us in more than just sports. But rather than discuss the integration of hashtags (#) and how they can be leveraged in a social media marketing strategy, I want to focus on the impact social media can have on your customer experience marketing.
Customer experience marketing, or the idea that providing an exceptional customer experience will market for your business in itself, is something that has caught fuel as of late. Two events in particular brought this topic into conversation among my circles; a speech from Noah Kagan and a lecture from Gary Vaynerchuk at the Inbound 2012 conference. Both of these highly respected marketing professionals agree, customer experience marketing is the future. This is not to say it hasn’t been a theory in practice for years; a number of great companies such as Zappos, Nordstroms, and Amazon are known for the customer experience they provide. But with the emergence of social media, more companies can provide an exceptional customer experience by having real-time access to customers thoughts, emotions, etc.
Noah Kagan presented an interesting statistical approach to customer experience marketing. He created a pyramid that is split into 3 sections; 1%, 10%, 89% (This totals to 100% even though it looks off initially). The analysis of those sections in regards to their customer experience can be seen below:
- 1% of companies EXCEED your expectations
- 10% of companies MEET your expectations
- 89% of companies provide VALUE and nothing more
As for Gary, he noted Zappos and how even though their product offering is more expensive, the fact that their customer experience (i.e. return policy, free shipping, etc.) is superior, customers LOVE them.
Let me revisit Noah’s pyramid and elaborate further with real life scenarios to illustrate this point so it makes more sense. Being that I desperately need a car wash, allow me to use this as an example (my car is covered in huge dog messiness). You need your car cleaned both on the inside and out. You are presented with a variety of options from which to choose.
Scenario #1- Value (89%)
You decide to go the quick and easy route. While you are filling up gas at your local Shell station, the screen asks if “you want to add a car wash” so you decide to go with it. After, the exterior wash you do some vacuuming on the interior. Your car looks sufficient but isn’t something you would be impressed to show the girl (or guy) you met last weekend. This situation was convenient for you and it provided VALUE. That is about all you received from this experience. Even if you wanted to, your local shell station most likely has no social media presence so in order to give them any feedback or communicate with anyone, you’d have to try and reach the owner (good luck) by phone.
Scenario #2- Meet (10%)
As you are driving down the road to get some french fries from McDonald’s you drive past a hand wash car wash that has a few different cleaning options. You are able to choose the basic, medium, and premium. All of which include an exterior clean with an interior vacuum and wipe down. Your car is graced with selection medium (there is rarely a dramatic difference with these types of washes). After your car is returned to you, the interior is cleaner but still has a few dirty spots on the inside. The exterior is great but you obviously notice a few water spots by the back bumper. Overall the car looks good, you are happy with what you paid, and you feel that the car wash was able to MEET your expectations. After doing some research online, you notice they have a Facebook page where people have uploaded photos. You decide to upload a photo with a close up of the water spots and dirt still in your cup holders. You don’t bash the company but you reiterate that you get what you pay for. Even after a few months no one from the company responds to your dissatisfaction with the job performed.
Scenario #3- Exceed (1%)
One of your friends decided to pick you up for a day of cruisin’ around the town. You notice the immaculate look of his vehicle. After inquiring, you decide to visit the same car wash that he did. Similar to scenario #2, this car wash has a tiered offering. Upon pulling up the sales rep greats you at your car. He is extremely friendly, gives you a recommendation, and for being a first time customer he gives you a 25% discount. Alright! After your car is taken care of it looks like new. They applied some wax to the exterior, shined the leather on the inside, and you can’t see a flaw with the job performed. A week later, you receive a phone call from a customer service rep asking how your car was looking, what could make your experience better, and some other questions that show they truly are passionate about their product offering. This car wash was able to truly EXCEED your expectations. You are so excited you upload photos of your newly polished whip to Facebook, both your account and their page, you even tweet about it using the company’s twitter handle. Instantly, you receive a response explaining that they were happy to service your vehicle and will honor you with a 10% off coupon for spreading the love socially.
Now going back to the topic of customer experience marketing, which service do you think your customer is going to value the most? Obviously scenario #3. This is the type of customer experience that will allow your company to market for itself. It is inline with creating evangelists and brand enthusiasts. That is the beauty of running a business in this day and age. You have an unlimited amount of ways to communicate with your customers through social media. Using Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Foursquare, Yelp, etc. all allow you to go that extra step, communicate with your customer, and EXCEED expectations.
In my next post I will elaborate more on this topic by pointing out key ways you are able to leverage social media to enhance customer experience marketing. Be sure to check back next Wednesday and please leave your comments below!