The era of the empowered customer is upon us and companies are feeling the pressure to deliver not only a superior product or service but an exceptional customer experience as well. Social media lies at the center of this movement, providing companies with a surplus of data and information that (when translated effectively) can offer valuable insight into a customer’s preferences, frustrations, and expectations. As the director of social media at Nimble, Maria Ogneva highlights the growing importance of social media in the creation of a comprehensive customer experience. By offering a personal example of an ideal customer experience, Ogneva emphasizes the need for a carefully orchestrated communication and collaboration system among internal and external parties and systems. The lesson learned is that although companies now have access to all the information they need to deliver an exceptional experience, what truly matters is the manner in which this data is applied, whether it be through the social web or in person.
For those companies who have established their collaborative process and desire to implement a full-scale social media effort, Ogneva offers the following tips:
1. Listen and Respond. Social media allows companies to engage both proactively and reactively with customers. The former approach should be used to identify needs while the latter should be used to address concerns. Of equal importance is a company’s response time once these factors have been identified.
2. Cross-reference social and internal customer data. Delivering an exceptional experience requires insight into a customer’s relationship with the company. For example, having access to a customer’s purchase history and prior communication efforts would allow for a more personalized interaction via the social media stream.
3. Understand the context of the relationship. While companies may have access to such customer intelligence, it is equally important that this information is used within the context of the customer’s relationship with the brand. At best, personal information can be used to create a personalized and unique customer experience. At worst, the misuse of such information can result in a seemingly invasive or unsolicited brand interaction.
In essence, having a participatory channel available to customers that will allow their ideas to be voiced, captured and put into action is central to the effective management of both good and bad experiences alike.
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Filed under: Customer Experience