Posted by eleventy on Sep 20, 2012
In today’s multichannel world, there are more ways than ever for customers to interact with brands. This is great news for brands because it means more people are engaging with them. But increased engagement also poses challenges. It means organizations must be prepared to quickly respond to customers across channels. Companies have to nurture customer relationships more than ever before.
Too many organizations are still lagging behind when it comes to the quality of their customer experiences. This can be a crucial mistake. With blogs, social media and social new sites enabling people to spread the word with a few keystrokes, a single poor customer experience can do extensive damage to a brand. Don’t just take our word for it, check out these telling stats from the 2011 Customer Experience Impact Report…
The 2011 Customer Experience Impact (CEI) Report explores the relationship between consumers and brands. Based on a survey by RightNow and Harris Interactive, the report reveals facts about what consumers are looking for from a brand, how quickly they will “dump” a favorite brand, and their tendency to seek retribution after a break up.
After companies acquire new customers, they often ask the individual how they found the brand. Was it an ad, referral, social media, etc.? One item not usually on that list – dislike of the competition. A great unspoken driver of new business is disdain for competing brands. Companies should never forget that poor customer experiences can lead individuals to explore brands they may have never considered before.
Customers will not only actively work to avoid brands that provide subpar customer experiences – they are even willing to pay more to avoid them. That means if you’re looking for way to stand out from the competition, it can be well worth the investment to establish (and promote) higher quality customer experiences across the board.
A far worse crime than upsetting a customer is not giving them the ability to have their complaint heard, acknowledged and (ideally) corrected. That means organizations need to respond to each and every complaint whether it comes via mail, phone, email or website; as well as complaints posted on your company social media pages or any other company-operated Web forums.
Don’t just respond to customer complaints and inquiries, respond fast. The faster the better. We live in a world of immediacy. People expect companies to respond within 24 hours no matter how they make contact. Have a strategy to ensure all inquiries are addressed as quickly as possible. And don’t make the all-too-common mistake of letting online communications fall by the wayside.
Because of the Internet, customer complaints now have a much louder echo. For every person who posts something negative about your brand on Facebook or Twitter, a hundred or even a thousand more people may see that comment. On the Web, negative opinions have a way of quickly growing and swelling. The best way to avoid this? Provide better customer experiences.
There’s more to that stat too – 22% of those customers also proceeded to post a positive comment about the organization after the experience. By providing great customer experiences, a negative can actually turn into a positive. Use complaints as an opportunity to remind your customers the brand acknowledges and values them.
You have no chance of providing a great customer experience if you don’t respond. Every phone call should be answered. Every email should receive a reply. Every comment on your Facebook page should be addressed. It takes time and effort, but the payoff is worth it. If you’re losing customers because you are not acknowledging their communications, your brand is in trouble.
Is you’re company still swimming against the current by resisting Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites? Guess what – you customers are looking for you there. They are trying to communicate with you on these sites, and disappointed when they can’t find you. Nowadays customers expect companies to have a social media presence. The very existence of active social media pages can increase positive perceptions of your brand. Don’t be MIA in the social space.
Marketing involves every aspect of your organization. It’s not just how you present yourself to the world, it’s who you actually are and how your organization functions. Strong branding begins from within. When you provide great customer experiences across channels, and make the most of each and every customer communication, you are enhancing your marketing and increasing your brand value. The numbers don’t lie – customer experiences make a massive difference.