As we know, our world is digitally advancing at an increasingly rapid pace. Connecting to people and businesses has never been easier, and this worldwide shift in Customer Relationship Management has heightened the expectations of customers.
Businesses are recognizing the fact that social media is no longer just an effective marketing tool; it has formed a crucial part of the customer journey and it is where the customers are, quite literally, being social. They are sharing content, interests, and even negative brand experiences.
With social media being so prevalent in our daily lives, it has become a preferred channel for customers to speak to brands, and they now expect to be attended to faster than ever. Social platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, have made it so incredibly easy for customers to complain. 65% of customers prefer to complain via social media and over 1 million people view tweets about customer service every single week, and roughly 80% of those tweets are negative or critical in nature.
It takes a customer under a minute to post a public complaint and businesses are contested to keep up and respond and resolve the problem in a matter of minutes, as criticism reaches twice as many ears as positive experiences.
We now live in a promoter’s economy, where customers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. Businesses are forced to be available online in order to mitigate bad word-of-mouth spreading like wildfire.
Social media has demanded a sense of urgency from brands in order to create an effortless customer experience. Keeping track of all customer comments and complaints is becoming more challenging for businesses, as a customer can post a tweet or Facebook status update from anywhere, and the speed of sharing a complaint with hundreds of people is something that more people are bothering to do because it takes such a short amount of time. The risk of losing so many potential customers is frightening to businesses and so; they have to be on their toes.
Customer-centricity has adopted a whole new expectation avenue for brands to meet and companies have invested in entirely new departments to handle social online queries as well as track customer trends and behaviors.
On the flipside, social media is also incredibly valuable for customer research and, of course, for marketing purposes. Businesses need to take advantage of these channels to be relevant. The insights available from the customers are priceless! Brands can now ask questions, show gratitude and create more of a brand culture through the use of these social platforms, and at a lower cost than other advertising and marketing tools.
In conclusion, businesses need to comply with the times and recognize that these online touch points are an integral part of the customer journey. It is essential to use social media to perform better on this virtual stage and to hand the social media microphone over to the audience, the customers, in order to meet their expectations and ultimately improve customer experience.