Social media has proven to be a powerful and indispensable tool for businesses at present. It has changed the conventional ways through which brands communicate, engage, and build relationships with customers. You no longer have to wait until customers enter your store to show that your service is exceptional, and your brand is awesome. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter help businesses and customers connect within a matter of seconds.
Traditionally, social media has largely been used for marketing purposes to strengthen the brand image and increase the number of customers. But, it’s potential extends far beyond that. They can be used as an effective tool to redefine and enhance customer experience.
Social media has already begun to impact customer experience on a big scale. It has provided a basis for the customer to do background research on a product, service, or brand before they confirm their purchase decisions. It acts as an avenue for customers to get to know about products they weren’t aware of before. Currently, with the rapid rise of e-commerce ventures, it also acts as a marketplace to perform business transactions. So, if a business needs to remain competitive in the market, an active social media presence is very crucial.
By appealing to customers’ emotions, perceptions, and needs through an exceptional brand presence online, you can persuade them to head to your store or website and purchase products, improve brand loyalty, and elevate the customer experience.
Here are some effective ways to boost customer experience with the use of social media.
Pay attention to your customers
Social media is one of the best resources through which you can learn what customers think about your product. A lot of people use it as a platform to channel their day-to-day experiences, emotions, and activities. Here’s where you will find many customers revealing their pleasant experiences with different brands or venting their frustration at brands that provide unsatisfactory service.
By listening to their invaluable feedback, you can develop the product further as well as improve the service you provide them. But, not a lot of customers post their views directly on the brand’s official account. In fact, 96% of people who discuss about brands online don’t follow those brands’ profiles on social media. So, you have to go beyond monitoring customers who directly engage with you.
By listening to your customers, you will be able to identify areas that you have overlooked in your customer experience strategy. This might be the average time taken to deliver goods, not being prompt enough in troubleshooting issues with your product, or even not paying enough attention to welcoming customers at the store.
Engage with your customers
Marking your active presence on social media is a great way to reinforce the reliability of your brand. This doesn’t mean you flood their feeds with endless promotional content like advertisements. Engaging is more to do with understanding what customers expect from your online presence and catering to it.
You can engage in discussions on the latest news that affect your business industry, notify customers about upcoming products, or provide informative content that details the benefits of using your product. Moreover, you can ask for their recommendations and suggestions to improve customer experience and discuss the feasibility of implementing them.
In this manner, you can make your brand seem more human and less mechanized. You are maintaining transparency and eliminating the block that prevents customers from fully engaging with a brand. Customers become more familiar with your brand and entrust you to provide a good customer experience. Statistics reveal that 71% of customers who had a positive experience with a brand online are likely to recommend it to others.
Provide prompt service and assistance
Businesses can also use social media to improve customer service. In fact, 67% of customers have contacted brands through social media for customer service requirements. It can be used as a medium to interact with customers by answering their questions, clarifying their doubts, and assisting them in using the product. Potential customers can also reach you via social media to inquire about your product before they purchase it.
Customers will no longer have to wait in line to get in touch with a support agent to solve issues as they can simply send a message or post a comment on your page. The omnichannel presence of a brand is very important for good customer experience as customers find it easy to reach out to you.
Based on the quality of service you provide online, customers also get to rate your business page on social media. But, this also means that brands can’t get away with a subpar job as a disgruntled customer’s review can tarnish your reputation. This is why social media representative who handles the accounts should be well-trained to provide prompt, relevant, and useful answers to customers.
Collect data to gain useful insights
The mammoth of data you can collect from different social media platforms is a treasure trove if you know how to utilize it well. Using effective data analyzing tools, you can go beyond the surface level to understand customer expectations, behavior, preferences, and purchasing patterns. They provide meaningful insights to understand the reasons for delightful customer experience as well as the causes of different pain points. This way, you know what you are doing great and what can be done better.
Again, don’t limit your search to discussions that only happen under your brand’s name. Pay attention to conversations related to your product/service to gain valuable insights. Look at what customers are talking about the industry you are in to identify the general strengths and weaknesses of the business field. You can also find out what customers think about your competitors and strive to provide a better customer experience.
Social media is a two-sided weapon that can make or break your business. Depending on the quality and level of customer experience you provide, your brand will either shine or wither among the pool of businesses active on it. Failing to realize its impact can be detrimental to the growth of your business. So, it’s vital to utilize it to expose your brand as a customer-centric business that invests genuine effort to engage with customers. It’s a virtual space where you can treat customers well and make them feel special and important. More importantly, it allows you to keep your valuable customers close and journey towards growth.
Jaakko is an award-winning CX professional and entrepreneur at Feedbackly, founder and community professional at the biggest entrepreneurial digital community in Finland – Yrittäjä.io. He is a notorious keynote speaker from entrepreneurial stories to day to day human communications and customer experiences.