Moving from customer marketing to customer experience

Social media in mid-market

Customers are increasingly using social media as their preferred channel of communication. To keep up, brands must adjust accordingly. They need to start thinking of social as a core component of the overall customer experience.

Moving from customer marketing to customer experience

September 8, 2015

A blog post by Carlos Dominguez, President and COO, Sprinklr

My neighbor’s daughter got into a fender bender recently. To notify her insurance company of the incident, she sent out a tweet and a Facebook message. It didn’t even occur to her to pick up the phone. When she finally did call the company, she was bounced from one rep to another – each one putting her on hold for what felt like 'literally forever' (her words).

Her father and I were having a glass of wine together when she came home and told him, 'You need a new insurance company.'

We all have moments in life where we realize the things we once knew to be true have changed for good. This was one of those moments for me. But it reaffirmed what my colleagues at Sprinklr and I have seen for years: the way big companies engage with their customers is undergoing a seismic and unstoppable transformation.

The shift in power

For decades, companies maintained control over their reputation. If a customer wanted to learn about them, he or she had to rely on the brand’s collateral: their website, ads, brochures, etc. And if that customer had a bad experience with the brand… well, nothing meaningful would happen.

Then social media came along and flipped the script.

Now, when a customer wants to check out a restaurant, he or she can get advice from previous customers on Foursquare, OpenTable, or Yelp. If a more personal recommendation is preferred, there are hundreds of Facebook friends just a tap away who are more than willing to offer opinions. The result? Customers make up their minds about a brand before they even think about talking to the company.

In today’s world, all companies–large and small–are at the mercy of their customers.

It comes down to customer experience

If you’re a company, your brand is no longer what you say about yourself–it’s what customers say about you. Your brand is in the eyes and ears – the full experience, really – of the beholder.

If they have a negative experience, they’ll be sure to let you (and, potentially, a few million others) know all about it. You can’t stop them, and you shouldn’t try. So what can you do? It’s simple: influence the dialogue by providing the right customer experience. This means delivering a valuable experience to every customer – every time, and on every channel, especially social media.

When it comes to social, there’s more than ROI

For the last five years, the dialogue around social media has largely been the same: what’s the ROI? And up until now, the lack of a clear answer has stopped many companies from fully embracing social. Fixated on the quantifiable benefits, they have failed to see the bigger picture.

Social is where your customers are and it’s where you need to be.

One of our clients announced a compensation change (which turned out to be somewhat controversial) not too long ago. Over the course of just a few days, the brand received 21,000 messages across 500 different digital channels. Using a number of customized filters, the company was able to promptly identify and route messages to its senior leadership team as appropriate. Others were handled through other mechanisms.

Imagine if the company hadn’t been equipped to handle each of those conversations. At best, it would have resulted in 21,000 customers who thought less highly of the brand. At worst, it would have led to 21,000 people who felt ignored and decided to take their business elsewhere. This is the scenario facing brands that don’t incorporate social media into their corporate strategy and infrastructure.

Customers are increasingly using social media as the preferred channel of communication. To keep up, brands must adjust accordingly. They need to start thinking of social as a core component of the overall customer experience. And if they don’t… well, there are plenty of customers–people just like my neighbor’s daughter–who will simply take their business elsewhere.

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