According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs,
News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience
So what does this mean?
The last thing I want is for you to create any negative experience for your customers when online. That is why in this post we are going to dive into the key ways your business can use social media to create a strong and positive customer experience.
#1 Manage expectations
With hundreds of social networks out there, it’s important your business has a strategy in place when deciding which social networks to utilize. Part of this strategy includes managing expectations.
This means before creating a presence on any social channels or moving onto a new network, ensure you have the resources to manage customer support as well as engage with fans.
Your main goal with any social network you are active on is to be able to create consistent content that adds value to your audience as well as being able to support them with any queries or questions they may have. This also helps your customers know exactly what to expect from your page or profile.
#2 Focus on quality not quantity
It’s not the number of conversations you have with your fans but rather the quality of the conversation that counts
On social media, this means taking out a little extra time for your customers and having those deeper conversations to find out not only what their key pain points are, but what specific areas they would like to improve.
This then allows your business to tailor a solution or response to fit their needs, helping to build a stronger relationship with your customers in the process. One way to get started with this approach is to showcase your unique personality when talking to customers, and truly empathising with each customer’s situation, rather than pasting in a generic response.
Here’s how I have used this approach to personalise my interaction with my awesome community over on Facebook:
#3 Surprise and delight
Thanks to social media, you no longer have to wait for your customers to give you feedback to find out what they are thinking. Through social listening and monitoring you are now able to see exactly what they are saying about your business or its services, either through comments on your profiles or conversations on other social networks.
This presents you with the perfect opportunity to enhance their overall experience with your company. One great way to do this is to surprise and delight your fans.
This simply involves you monitoring key conversations or hashtags around your company and recognising opportunities where you can enhance their experience — or even turn their experience around. This is a great way to grab your customer’s attention, as they are not expecting you dive in and engage.
Here is how Taco Bell used this approach to surprise and delight one of their fans by accepting their request:
#4 Thank your customers
When your customers join your social channels, what they are really looking for is a sense of community. This means they are hoping to find a group of people who also share their same passion for the brand, product or service.
To add to this sense of community, your company also needs to appreciate its fans, and part of this process involves recognising their contributions. This doesn’t have to be a technical process — all it involves is thanking your customers for taking the time out to share their photos, videos or even comments, and making the community what it is.
This helps enhance the experience, as it makes your customers feel valued and as a result, strengthens their loyalty.
#5 Feedback is your friend
We all know how expensive it can be to conduct market research in order to learn more about our customers’ buying habits or even their behaviour online. However, through the use of social media, you are now able to get this feedback daily directly from your customers, both good and bad.
To help get the most value from the feedback, you want to ensure to take note of all the key concerns or improvements your customers have suggested. This is a great indication from your target audience that a particular product or service needs to be improved, and it also helps you keep up with customer demand.
As the views of your customers are constantly changing, you want to ensure you filter through these comments to find any common themes, as not all feedback will be relevant. A good starting point would be to conduct this type of review on a weekly basis.
#6 Consistency is key
You can’t assume all your customers engage with your company on a single social network. That is why it is important that you create a consistent and engaging presence on all the social networks you have set up.
You only get one chance to create that first impression, and the last thing your customers want to see is an empty social network with outdated content and low engagement.
To help ensure this does not happen, aim to plan your content in advance on your various social networks, as well as planning time each day to engage. This helps to ensure content has been planned ahead of time and also helps you to create consistent engagement across all your social platforms day to day.
#7 Train all employees on social media
It’s important that your employees also keep up with the constant changes and updates on social networks to ensure they are always in a position to enhance the customer’s experience.
If your employees fail to keep up, this could mean creating content that has less impact or worse — not being able to engage with fans in a way they prefer.
That is why it is the company’s role to ensure all employees are trained and keep track of any changes on social media, so they can better serve their customers’ needs, both with regards to content and through support.
#8 Monitor customer behaviour
Another great way to enhance the experience of your customers on social media is to monitor their behaviour. You can achieve this on your social channels by monitoring your social media analytics.
This data will help your company to determine not only when your customers are more likely to engage online, but how they like to engage. You can then use this data to tailor their experience to meet their needs.
You can also use this data to determine which types of content you have created to produce the highest impact. If something works you can repeat it — and if not, then it means it’s time to adapt the strategy.
Trends in customers’ behaviour are continuously changing, so be sure to monitor your social analytics at least on a weekly basis, ensuring you test new techniques and strategies along the way.
#9 Be willing to adapt
Customer activity on your social channels will change in time, and with new networks and new ways to absorb content, it’s important you keep up with both demand and also how your customers like to interact if you want to continue to enhance their experience using social media.
You will need to take into consideration what type of content they prefer — long form content, visual picture content, audio content, video content or even live stream content. Keeping up with demand will ensure you remain relevant and can engage via a medium your customers enjoy.
With smartphone and tablet use on the rise, you also want to make sure you cater to those customers who prefer using their portable devices to interact.
Are you ready to take to take your customers’ experience to the next level on social media?
Adopting these practices will help your company create a more customer-driven focus, which when applied correctly will help to you to boost customer engagement, loyalty and create those long term relationships you’ve been looking for.