Your product. Your customer experience.
One and the same.
As the world’s primary interactions take place more often on social media, customers expect genuine, human touch points with brands. They don’t want to be treated like numbers. Who does? They want marketing efforts, conversations on social media, and media—such as videos or blog posts— to be personable, with them as the focus. Not your company’s mission statement.
Customer’s modern expectations for the customer experience journey:
Most people are familiar with this stat: while 80% of brands believe that they provide a superior experience, customers say only 8% actually do. In the 15 plus years this stat has existed, why hasn’t it changed? Simply, customer expectations aren’t being met. Not understanding— or worse, ignoring— consumer expectations is like driving a car without a steering wheel. Ineffective, to say the least.
If there weren't a gap, you wouldn’t need a marketing team. But since we don’t live in a perfect world, marketing efforts combined with sales and customer service must be focused on the customer if the gap is to shrink.
The gap between companies and customers is manifest in problems ranging from low Word of Mouth to slow responses on social media and negative online reputation to low customer lifetime value. We’ve narrowed down all the many problems a company can have to seven.
The Seven Problems Companies Face:
Every company has experienced these problems at one time or another. Many companies have probably found the emergence and rapid growth of social media to be both a blessing and a curse in relation to these problems. In many ways, social media has helped the problems, but sometimes it heightens it.
A crisis, for example, can emerge suddenly from a marketing ad on LinkedIn in minutes on social media. Where before, companies could contain the crisis simply by calling up the newspaper and having them remove the ad, now the Internet gives everything it touches immortality, making a crisis much harder to stop.
You’ve probably heard of both social listening and social monitoring. While both include researching customer behavior on social media, they are fundamentally different in what they allow companies to do. Social monitoring is solely data collection. You can gather customer behavior, competitors, and industry data on social media, then complete your market research and competitor analysis. Sounds great, right? Social monitoring allows you to be incredibly well informed, so your strategies based on your research should work. But that doesn’t always happen. Why? Because you’re limiting yourself to data that’s weeks old.
At the rate the world moves today, a strategy based on that data leads to a reactive strategy. Your industry, competitors, and— most importantly— your customers have already moved on.Social listening heavily utilizes social monitoring, as historical data is important to strategy creation, but it raises the bar with real-time analysis. With social listening, you can know what your customers and competitors are doing right that second! Then, you can analyze that live data to make and implement better informed strategies quickly.
Knowing what your customers and competitors are doing is essential to market and competitor research as well as product development; however, if you stop there, what’s the point of having all that data? Social Customer Experience, or Social Media Customer Experience, is all about taking the data you’ve gathered and analyzed and forming it into customer-centric strategies that you can implement across social media and other marketing initiatives. It’s about treating your customers right and improving their perception of your brand by putting careful, data-driven intent into every touchpoint across every stage of the customer journey— making it an emotional positive customer journey.
While all three of these elements affects customer loyalty behaviors, an improvement in the emotional element provides the biggest lift.
Are they able to do the things that they want to do?
How did they feel about it?
How easy or hard is it to do the thing they want to do?
By enabling customers to do what they want or need to do, providing a seamless purchasing process, and topping it all off with instilling positive emotions in your audience, you’ll win their confidence. While all three of these elements affect customer loyalty behaviors, focusing on their emotions has the biggest impact.
When they emotionally connect with a marketing ad, social media post, or have their problem solved quickly and efficiently on a customer service call, they’ll develop loyalty behaviors. As their customer loyalty strengthens, revenue will increase and the problems your company’s experiencing will lessen.
Loyalty behaviors lead to revenue in many ways. Some behaviors include an increase in WOM, in customers making more frequent purchases, or in their likelihood of forgiving a company when it faces shortcomings. In short, they help solve the seven main problems we discussed earlier, which will lead to more revenue.
A study evaluating the impact of customer experience improvement over a three-year period shows how loyalty behaviors differ between the consumers who gave companies a very poor CX rating to those who gave a very good CX rating. This study analyzed companies with $1 billion in annual revenue across 20 different industries.
On average, these companies gained $775 million over three years by improving the experience they delivered to customers, that’s almost a 78% increase!
Getting a 78% increase in revenue in three years is pretty impressive, but hard to believe. Let’s break it down a little by looking at potential revenue growth from 5 key loyalty behaviors: repurchasing from your company, forgiving mistakes, trusting your company, trying new offerings right away, and recommending to a friend.
While an 25.8% increase in annual revenue may also seem unbelievable, the increases of the individual loyalty behaviors are much more manageable.
If you're making a social customer experience strategy for the first time, or you’re reanalyzing, tackling the loyalty behaviors you want your customers to exhibit is a good place to start. Get your marketing, content, social media, digital marketing, and other media in line with the strategy, so you can have a unified effort in developing those behaviors. The shift in customer perception of your brand and the increase of revenue you will experience will surprise you. And what’s even more surprising? You’ll find that by focusing on one loyalty behavior, you’ll have greatly improved more of them.