Have you ever considered how your brand makes your customers feel? The emotions it invokes in them?
Do you see your customers turning into confessed brand advocates?
If the answer to all these questions is no, then the (CX) Force, my friend, is not with you.
CX in the modern age
Customer experience today has evolved from being merely isolated messages about deals and offers, to deliver a holistic and consistent experience – both online and offline – that customers value and enjoy.
More and more companies today are realizing the potential of enhancing their CX. According to Forrester’s “The US Customer Experience” report, “27% of brands improved their customer experiences in the last year“ by orchestrating experiences that emotionally resonate with the customers.
Where does social customer experience fit in?
Let’s face it. Social media is for ‘liking’ posts and reading memes about current affairs, right? Well, yes and no.
But before we talk about the impact of social media on customer experience, let’s get some perspective. As per data by Dataportal:
“3.96 billion people across the planet use social media today, equating to almost 51 percent of the total global population.”
So, if your brand doesn’t have a social media presence, you could be losing out on half the world’s population!
That said, the way people – be it, customers, marketing executives, CX leaders, etc. – are interacting on diverse social media platforms is constantly changing. In this blog, we will look at how social CX plays an instrumental role in establishing your brand as the “Godfather” of all brands. Keep reading.
8 strategies for leveling up your social CX
- Offer online communication channels your customers prefer
- Respond quickly!
- Make sure all departments understand the value of social presence
- Use social media as a second chance to make a good impression
- Maintain a strong, consistent brand voice and messaging
- Respond to reviews – both good and bad
- Drive social media engagement for real two-way conversations
- Listen, analyze, and improve
1. Offer online communication channels your customers prefer
Consider this for a moment: Your clothing brand has set up an enviable Instagram page, but its presence on Facebook is non-existent. While many consider Facebook to be passé, the numbers paint a different picture.
Facebook boasts 2.6 billion active monthly users, making it the most widely used social media platform in the world.
Additionally, there’s a danger your brand may be targeting the wrong audience – depending on the platform you’re most active in. Here’s what research by eMarketer tells us.
The point we’re driving home is this: Analyzing how your brand fares across multiple social media channels, figuring out which channels your users prefer, and understanding how you can interact with users over those preferred channels can turn out to be a game-changer.
If you’re wondering about how and where to start, here’s a handy tip: social monitoring tools (such as the one shown below) can help you monitor your brand and provide relevant insights on social listening and analytics, customer care, and employee advocacy.
2. Respond quickly!
If there’s one thing customers hate, it’s having to wait – waiting on hold, waiting for an email reply, waiting for their product to arrive, you name it, they hate it. Plus, with human attention spans sinking to a paltry 8 seconds – an all-time low – brands need to think on their feet and respond with conviction to engage users, or they risk losing them.
This is where modern-day customer support tools can empower organizations to respond to conversations quickly and effectively:
Auto-responses come in handy when your business gets asked the same questions over and over again. That said, auto-responses can swing both ways when addressing customer concerns.
Here are a few examples of a brands responding quickly in the right way:
JetBlue responded within 6 minutes of the customer’s tweet – a huge advantage if you ask us!
Another example worth considering is one by OsmosisMed, which goes all out to appreciate the user’s feedback and actively asks them for suggestions:
On the negative side, templatized responses and tone-deaf advertising can cost you, customers!
Here are two examples of auto-responses gone wrong:
Raise your hands if this example feels familiar. Repetitive, robotic messages can drive customers up the wall and reinforce a negative brand image:
Engage in omnichannel personalized messaging through a unified inbox
If you wish to bring together all your customer communications, you need a unified view. This allows you to improve your customer experience by centralizing a variety of customer interactions such as live chat, social media messaging, private notes, audio and video calls, cobrowsing, and more.
Here’s an example of a unified inbox view from Acquire:
In short, with centralized access to all customer interactions, you can create consistency across channels. This improves the customer experience, meaning your customers stay happy and loyal to the brand.
Integrate chatbots for quick responses to general FAQs
As mentioned earlier, it is not in the nature of an “always-on” customer to wait. Enter chatbots. Chatbot software allows you to provide a seamless CX experience, connect with website visitors, qualify leads, and support customers in real-time. Unlike human agents, chatbots can engage users 24×7 and address queries in an instant.
Plus, they do not take coffee breaks, nor do they tire of answering the same routine questions time and time again. So if you wish to create a frictionless CX with convenience at its core, chatbots are the way to go.
3. Make sure all departments understand the value of social presence
Social can be thought of as a matter of ‘public record.’ This one key takeaway is critical to understand for all the departments of your company. Your organization and teams cannot operate in silos, answering customer queries with separate accounts – in this case, the @AskAmex and American Express’ official Twitter accounts. Offering delayed and hierarchical solutions can annoy customers and leave them frustrated (as shown below):
In essence, if your company has an official corporate account, you shouldn’t set up another account separately for your CX Team (and vice-versa) to address customer queries. It creates confusion and, you guessed it, makes customers wait – an undesirable outcome. Far better to streamline operations and offer a unified image to customers.
4. Use social media as a second chance to make a good impression
Facing the wrath of angry customers is no picnic. Take the case of British Airways, for example:
This post was seen by 76,000 viewers, and the company responded only after fully 8 hours had passed (talk about making a bad situation worse):
It is in situations like these, where brands need to make an extra special effort to placate customers, it really helps to be completely honest and accept the mistake, offer complementary solutions, or simply pen a heartfelt apology. For inspiration, let’s look at social media CX mogul, Starbucks. In 2008, the brand’s revenue dropped by 30 percent, and it reportedly closed more than 1,000 stores. So what did the company do?
In the face of faltering sales, the brand launched an ingenious campaign called “My Starbucks Idea” – complete with a dedicated website – where customers could share their suggestions:
Here’s a brief snapshot of how successful this campaign became:
It’s high time brands started leveraging technology and social media platforms to deliver innovative solutions that engage and entertain customers in equal measure. Agree?
5. Maintain a strong, consistent brand voice and messaging
This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but often brands – caught up in the daily hustle-and-bustle – end up making rookie mistakes. Take Equifax for example:
From posting incorrect links to using an inconsistent brand voice or even inappropriate hashtags – such mistakes can severely damage a brand’s reputation. DiGiorno’s use case comes to mind. Here, the brand misused the #WhyIStayed hashtag, accidentally tangling themselves up with the sensitive issue of domestic violence:
Remember that a brand’s voice consists of its tone, content, style, visuals, and the like. A minor error and a hard-earned reputation can go circling down the drain. In contrast, let’s look a few brands that are acing it with their tone, style, and voice.
Cards Against Humanity tops the list with its humorous, bold, and conversational email marketing, which really captures the spirit of the brand:
Another brand with a strong and consistent brand tone is BarkBox:
Here’s another killer example from airline Indigo. Looking at the content, it’s hard to believe that we’re talking about an airline here:
Here are the top 4 ways to establish a brand voice that resonates with your users and aligns your offerings with their expectations. That said, remember that this is in no way an exhaustive list:
- First things first, you need to define your brand’s voice. Think about what your ideal user looks like, what they prefer, what are their likes/dislikes.
- Zero in on a brand tone and style – it should be honest, not snarky, it could be warm, funny, etc.
- Pay special attention to the kind of words and sentences being used. And avoid using jargon, come what may.
- Make sure that your visual aesthetic is on-point and complements the content.
6. Respond to reviews – both good and bad
Social listening is the new black. The digitally-connected customer of today isn’t afraid to vent, appreciate, or reprimand brands on social media platforms. Most brands end up sending the same old message, such as:
Here, the brand Old Spice is making two fatal mistakes:
- It asks the customers to switch channels (from Twitter to a phone call) and, worse, puts them on hold when the customers make an effort to go the extra mile!
- The message content is dry and robotic.
If your brand is receiving negative publicity on social media, here’s how you can turn the tide in your favor.
In what was perceived as a highly-classist and controversial ad (and rightly so), Kent RO posted the following ad during the ongoing pandemic:
Naturally, the Twitterati went mad, trolling and shaming the brand left, right, and center. In response, the Chairman penned an apology:
Handy tip: If you truly wish to understand your customer’s mindset when addressing complaints, put yourself in their shoes, and respond.
However, it’s equally important for brands to have some fun from time-to-time and engage with users in good humor. Take Samsung’s example:
Shane Bennett, a Samsung loyalist, posted an image of a roaring dragon on Reddit and asked for a free unit of Samsung’s latest launch. Needless to say, the post went viral:
In an ingenious and laugh-out-loud response, Samsung Canada sent him the phone – and even personalized it with his fire-breathing dragon artwork:
This small CX effort helped the tech giant garner positive appreciation and won hearts across the board.
7. Drive social media engagement for real two-way conversations
One of the best ways to drive social engagement is by promoting user-generated content on all your social media platforms. This helps customers connect better with the brand,while the brand gets to promote its offerings in a more honest light. A win-win situation.
“UGC is considered to be 50% more trustworthy than traditional marketing by Millenials.”
The biggest advantage of UGC is that brands can leverage a host of formats to showcase their offerings, such as testimonials, videos, photos, discussions, blogs, etc.
Some interesting examples worth noting include:
8. Listen, analyze, and improve
Tying back to the previous point, brands should look at ways to leverage data gained from social listening and work towards reshaping their CX strategy. Why? Because data can help provide quality, contextual, and customized customer care. Plus, it tells the customers that you value their opinions, making them feel heard as well as appreciated. Here’s how SiteGround is prioritizing collecting customer feedback and driving a stellar CX.
SiteGround offers three different feedback channels for customers to leave their suggestions: tickets, live chat, and phone.
Post chat surveys are also a common feature:
That’s not all. Users can also write a review on Yelp:
Of course, you can only act on your user’s recommendations if you have a reliable feedback loop and a mechanism in place to factor in all the suggestions coming your way.
The 8 steps to success
Social CX can be thought of as the sum of all the online moments and experiences between a brand and its customers in the social domain.
In order to rise above the rest, brands need to ramp up their CX efforts, particularly on social. And as we’ve seen, to do this, they must:
- Offer the channels customers prefer.
- Respond quickly.
- Make sure that all the departments understand the value of a consistent online presence.
- Use social media as a second chance to make a good impression.
- Maintain a consistent brand voice, tone, and style.
- Respond to reviews – both good and bad.
- Use social media engagement for real two-way conversations with customers.
- Listen, analyze, and improve based on customer data and feedback.