7 Deadly Sins of a Social Media Customer Experience
We’ve all heard of the classic seven deadly sins from Christian ethics, and mused over the movie Seven, but few of us have taken the time to outline the so-called deadly sins of our trades. In terms of your social media customer experience, these deadly sins can lead to fan erosion, lost market share, diminishing profit margins, and a damaged reputation. If you’re involved in the management of social media marketing or a company’s customer experience, then you should take a few minutes to consider the seven deadly sins of your social media customer experience.
Innovation often ruffles feathers, but without it your company is following the herd and can only offer exactly what everyone else is offering. If you bore your audience with the same content shares and mindless banter that every other brand in your industry is utilizing, then you might be in a state of audience atrophy. People need a reason to follow you and engage with your content, products, or services. Step outside of the lines and find brave, new strategies to reach your audience. Sticking with the status quo is safe and easy, but it’s a waste of your resources and a failure to future-proof your outlook and methodology.
“I don’t know,” is a phrase that should never be used by your social front-line responders unless it’s followed by, “but let me find out for you!” Too often companies hire external social media management companies or internal social media gurus who are out-of-touch with the company’s policies and happenings, and inevitably the customers are the ones who are shortchanged. If a customer reaches out for assistance they deserve a response, so ensure your process routes your social responders to accurate information in a timely manner.
The youngest person is often not the most patient and even-tempered person to handle social media interactions with angry or confused customers. Yet, many companies appoint young people to oversee social accounts simply because companies presume younger people understand social products better. The right person or team might be young or old, but they should definitely have a thorough understanding of your social media policy, as well as some external oversight. Otherwise, you could be the next social horror story.
Sending a Mixed Message
You might have several sub-brands and multiple campaigns per sub-brand to oversee, but that doesn’t mean that your customer is fully aware of the distinguishing characteristics. In fact, it takes customers seven interactions with a single brand to remember it. So, each time you create sub-branding that number grows and your customer base can become confused. If you want followers to receive your message clearly, then your branding and message should be easily recognizable across channels so that your fans immediately recognize you.
When people follow you online, it reveals a slight vulnerability—they like you and want more. In response to that vulnerability, one of the worst things you can do is to be disengaged. Fans and brand advocates – your evangelists – want to feel special. All you have to do is reply to a comment, share one of their posts, or retweet something the fan has made public. By interacting with fans and making them feel special, you encourage the relationship and keep them interested in your company. If this sounds like dating, it’s because it is like dating: being an engaged partner leads to a long-term relationship.
On a side note, just like you would invest that extra attention into special interests in dating, you should do the same thing in consideration of your social media customer experience: find your power-followers and influencers and endeavor to make those people feel special, because their attention to your company is invaluable.
Underestimating Your Audience
It’s common to put your users into a few different buckets based on their social reach and prowess, such as influencer, moderate user, and novice, but you have to be aware that even novice social users can gain global attention if you make a spectacle. The plus side of this sin is that a novice user can also have a huge, positive impact on your brand: even though a customer might only have a few followers, they play a major role in influencing those people’s decisions. According to Harvard Business Review, one happy customer is three times more likely to recommend your brand, and 42% of happy customers will tell their friends about the good experience, according to American Express Global Customer Service Barometer.
Ignoring the Inbox
After setting up great campaigns on autopilot utilizing services like Buffer, it’s easy to tune-out and forget about the audience that is responding to your messaging. However, neglecting those replies, comments, emails, and reblogs can lead to resentment from brand advocates. You wouldn’t ignore a customer standing in front of you in a brick-and-mortar store, so why would you ignore their online feedback? A sin far worse than being disengaged, ignoring requests for information can lead to immediate defection. In fact, 51% of social users expect a response within a few hours, according to a Hubspot survey.
By 2016, 89% of companies expect to compete primarily based on their customer experience, according to Gartner. Your social media strategy is a vital aspect of your overall customer experience, because today’s customers are mapping their own journeys. They can choose to utilize social channels for online product research via desktop and mobile, and engage in anonymous conversations about your brand with others, or gain friends’ feedback about customer service interactions.
To drive a seamless process for customers who are making purchasing decisions, you have to integrate social media into your customer experience strategy and consider the feedback that is being readily (and freely) supplied by consumers. Navigation from any channel back to your e-commerce platform and physical locations should be intuitive and readily available so that customers don’t experience frustration while sitting in an expensive UberBLACK trying to find your storefront from your Instagram page. Avoiding the seven deadly sins of your social media customer experience is just the first step in satisfying social users today—you have to reconsider your customer journey and customer experience strategy, and then take a comprehensive look at what your audience wants.