Responding to customers across social media channels is table stakes. Most customers expect a response within 60 minutes after mentioning a brand. If you respond quickly, those customers are almost twice as likely to recommend a company afterwards. While many brands have dipped their toe into the water, only a few reap the maximum rewards. The rest are held back by one or more of the following mistakes.
1. There’s not a single view of the customer across channels.
Customers don’t bucket their experiences based on whom they are interacting with, nor where. They expect experiences to be seamless regardless of where, how, and with whom they take place — on the web, in the store, on the phone, or on social media. This is obviously no small feat for large organizations.
You need the correct tools to aggregate customer data, interests and past interactions into one unified profile. A single view of the customer gives needed context that empowers brands to have a consistent conversation across platforms. Plus, it’s much easier to track high-priority, pending, and resolved cases when they’re centralized with workflows automatically routing and escalating mentions.
2. Social and review sites aren’t viewed as feedback channels.
Directly engaging with customers online tends to increase the amount of commentary you receive on social. But it’s not enough to simply write back. Status updates, tweets and reviews are overflowing with feedback about the customer experience; even one- and two-star reviews contain at least one positive insight about 70% of the time, and 80% of customers who give four- and five-star reviews share at least one negative insight.
When aggregated and scored for specific locations or SKUs as it relates to industry-specific customer experience categories, social can provide richer insights than other traditional feedback methods. For example, you can easily identify trends around why customers say they didn’t make a purchase (e.g., messy dressing rooms, lack of staff, product availability), and areas of the experience that most influence their likelihood to return or recommend (e.g., great loyalty program benefits, knowledgeable staff, pricing and value). One out of four customers state their intent to return when writing a review.
A recent Aberdeen Group study found that retail leaders are 2.5 times more likely to apply customer insights to store operations, which encompasses the entire in-store experience including layout, product availability, employee engagement, and in-store marketing. This allows retailers to tailor in-store experiences to specific customer segments, and align their product strategy within the four walls of the store.
In addition to aggregating your social commentary and analyzing it to identify areas of strength and improvement in real-time, look at what competitors’ customers are sharing about their experience. This socially driven competitive intelligence cannot be replaced, and is often a leading indicator for future performance.
3. The belief that social doesn’t matter to everyone across the enterprise.
This is where the previous two mistakes really compound, making this the biggest social media engagement mistake. Most brands understand the impact one-on-one engagement has on their online reputation, customer recovery rates, overall customer loyalty and, ultimately, revenue. But what they fail to understand is the impact sharing these direct, unbiased insights has across the enterprise.
Everyone gets value from this voice of the customer data — operations, marketing, digital, merchandising, product — and it usually comes down to the wrong person owning social.I’m not suggesting that there’s a specific function within the organization that should own social media. We’re past the days where brands hire interns to manage social publishing and customer care.
To be effective and really integrate social — remember there’s no rawer form of customer feedback — you need someone who is going to push through silos and deliver insights across the organization, regardless of if he or she is in customer care, marketing, digital, operations, or any number of other functions.
You need a champion who understands how the organization works with the influence (and clout) to make change happen. This is a strategic role ideally filled by someone who is wildly passionate about the customer and his or her experience.
How To Address The Hurdles Holding You Back
These mistakes are nearly impossible to fix without the right technology behind the scenes. If different teams are leveraging multiple point solutions, it adds confusion to the process and makes it harder to capitalize on the benefits of engagement. Only the most complete enterprise social technology, purpose-built for global brands to drive business outcomes and manage customer experiences across all touch points, will help you over these hurdles.
You need a social technology provider that puts the customer voice into the hands of every employee, simplifies the process of building customer relationships, and drives the bottom line. Once you have a strategy in place and the right person driving the organization forward, technology makes it happen. You can’t have success without both.
Originally published in Retail Touchpoints