Social Media is the only real-time channel for successful brands to manage customer experience and brand management.
Social Media is the Voice of the Customer. That voice shares with the world the customer experience of brands. When it is good, it becomes a brand ambassador and promoter. When it is bad that voice erodes brand equity and tarnished the existing brand image. This year Pepsi tried to be relevant and used social racism protests for the set up of its latest ad. The backlash on social media was an immediate customer engagement that Pepsi had to manage to keep the intended brand message on point. The perception of the customers did not match the intention of the brand. When JetBlue was redesigning the JFK lobby in New York we hoped to hear comparisons to the Apple store on social media as a sign that we have built the experience we imagined. The tweets came and we knew. Our brand message has been received.
Social media is a collaborative space for the customer to engage with brands on products design and usability. Customers discuss product specifications and, in some cases, build their own products. Glossier’s best-selling product was produced entirely on the feedback of customers on social media. Regardless of brand strategy, today’s engineers and designers must tune in to social media and allow the customer to co-create products and services.
Today customer experience is equal to social media. Customers expect to self-serve on social media. They look for real-time recovery of their experiences and expect the brands to listen at all times. When an airline cancels a flight, customers reach out on Twitter and Facebook to rebook themselves on the next flight or book a hotel if the flight is not the same day. Effective brands leverage these various conversations to build brand engagement and loyalty. The brand becomes another friend on social media. A loyal and helpful friend that listens and builds experiences with the customer.
Social Media is a real-time channel for brands to engage with the customer. It is a tool to build customer expectations for the product and service experiences to follow. The brand can communicate product features and educate the audience on a specific topic. If these messages match the actual customer experience the brand equity undoubtedly grows and the connection with the customer gets stronger.
Social Media is a measure for brands to assess if the experiences perception of the customer matches the experience intention of the brand. Successful brand managers not only have social media accounts but also utilize them effectively to communicate their brand image and listen if the message is received or no. They use social media to make things right when they go wrong and offer self-service options for operational recovery and self-help. For the authentic brand, social media is a competitive advantage. It is the channel to manage customer experience and build brand engagement. The brands that understand that first will not only win the millennials tomorrow but every customer who expects relevant and personal customer experience today.
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