Customer expectations are shaped by the totality of their experiences, and the best customer experiences are the ones that stand out.
But according to the latest survey from NewVoiceMedia, in the past year American businesses lost $75 billion due to poor customer service, up $13 billion since 2016.
So how do you elevate the customer experience you deliver? According to a new report produced by London Research in partnership with Hootsuite, 82% of companies agreed that social media is a vital channel for delivering those superior customer encounters.
Social is how we consume media. It’s how we connect with others. It is how we seek recommendations and referrals. And, increasingly, it’s how we buy.
Yet less than half the companies surveyed, 48%, said their customer service departments are actively using social media. And just 43% say their sales departments are using social to improve engagement.
So why the disconnect?
The Hootsuite study found although large companies have become competent at using social channels for top-of-funnel marketing activities, they are less capable when it comes to harnessing social during the consideration phase and actual conversion of prospects into lasting customers.
Here are five things your company should be doing to boost the customer experience on social.
1. Map The Entire Social Customer Journey
Yes, the entire journey, rather than just from prospect to lead to closed. What happens before they engage with your company? What happens after they become a customer?
For example, where do the majority of customers go to complain in 2018? Sixty-seven percent said they turn to social media. And 42% of those people expect a response within one hour.
But just 67% of companies said they monitor how quickly customer complaints are addressed on social media. That’s a perfect example of how companies focus too much on the top of the funnel, while forgetting about the rest of the customer journey. Respond to comments, complaints, and questions along the way to strengthen the relationship between your brand and your customers.
2. Secure Early Wins With Social Data
Interacting with customers on social and responding to their comments and complaints generates an immense amount of data. Use it. Get to know your client base, and use that data to help shape your CX strategy going forward.
Then integrate that data with other platforms. Less than half of companies (45%) have unified customer profiles, though 42% said they are aspiring to have them. Take that step and integrate your social media management platform with your marketing technologies and CRM system to create a complete view of the customer.
3. Expand Strategies Beyond Brand Awareness
Building brand awareness on social is important, but it’s not everything. Although social is used most predominantly by marketing departments, it should be used organization-wide, including in sales, customer service, HR, legal, and more.
For example, equip your sales team with the training and tools to engage in social selling with customers and track activities. Don’t forget to manage their pain points with social, too. (Remember the expected response time?) And it’s cost-effective. Solving a customer service issue on social costs one-sixth the amount of a call center interaction.
4. Look Beyond Surface Metrics
Social marketers typically use traditional metrics (engagement rate, reach, etc.) to measure results with social. But it’s important to measure social in the context of your broader business objectives and in relation to the customer experience.
Want to reduce customer complaint response time on Twitter? Measure that. And remember, if the goal is to manage customer complaints and questions on social, also measure the reduction in customer support calls and the correlating reduction in costs from call deflection.
5. Focus On Training, Culture, And Collaboration
In 2018, social media is an integral part of the customer experience. Does your company culture reflect that? Empower your people to use social media across all departments. Implement a social media policy and guidelines to provide direction and support on its use. Offer education and training on how best to leverage social media within each section of the customer journey.
In this age of high consumer expectations, social has emerged as the key differentiator. Support your teams through these five steps as they integrate social across your organization. Anchor your strategy in clear metrics to ensure departments and campaigns and programs are achieving desired outcomes. And elevate your CX to stand head and shoulders above the crowd.