Customer experience has become a popular buzzword in 2016 - right up there with ‘digital transformation’ and ‘digital disruption’. Most of us know it’s likely to impact every area of our business, that it might have something to with social, and needs to be at the top of our very long list of customer-obsession strategies (along with finally proving that social engagement actually does drive value in the long-run).
But what exactly does customer experience mean? How is it connected to social media? And is it really as important as the hype suggests?
CX sounds broad, because it is. It’s the sum of all interactions with your customer throughout their lifecycle. It’s that precious opinion that is carefully built and nurtured in your customer’s mind as they go through their journey with your brand. It’s not just one moment, it’s all of them. And to guarantee your brand’s success, you have to make the most of every, single, moment.
This is where social comes in. The advent of social has transformed business because it forces brands to understand the trails that customers leave and the behaviours they exhibit. Because of social media, our customers have now become people, not just data points in a market research project. Social is the key enabler for delivering outstanding CX, and driving real business value from it.
A recent research project from Falcon.io surveyed 621 marketers across the US and Europe to find out whether CX is a priority, and if so, how they are handling it within their organisation. Here’s a summary of what was found:
So what exactly do these insights mean for you and your brand? And what learnings should you be taking from this?
Time to join the crowd
Over three quarters (78 per cent) of respondents claim CX is an important part of their marketing strategy. The figure is even higher for US-only respondents at 90 per cent. This shows that the vast majority of brands out there are building their marketing machine around this ‘sum of interactions’ theory, taking care to nurture brand perception and promote a positive recollection of every brand experience. This ensures loyal customers, who will not only come back to you, but will rave about you to their friends. Prioritising CX will drive more brand loyalists and more repeat purchasers, because a strong CX strategy will ensure you drive maximum lifetime value from each customer.
The key takeaway here is to join the crowd of marketers who are prioritising CX. If you’re still trying to compete in the marketplace with the traditional ‘push-marketing’ mindset, you’ll be ignored by your customers and left behind by your competitors.
Follow the breadcrumbs
A key trend that has surfaced from this research is the prominence of social data in the development of customer experience. To maximise the value of each interaction with your customer, you first have to know where those moments will happen, and what your customer will need in each moment. This is where social data becomes valuable, it’s a real-time insight into your customer’s behavioural patterns, interests and desires in the digital world - a way to follow the trail of breadcrumbs left by your customers.
Almost two thirds (60 per cent) of marketing leaders see social data as the future of CX, and not without good reason. By investing more in gaining insights about your customer's journey from social, you’ll be arming yourself with the tools you need to genuinely move and inspire your customers when they finally do interact with your brand. The opportunities here are endless: you can use social data for content marketing inspiration, campaign ideas and social content, as well as better customer service and more optimised purchase journeys.
CX is broad, so you should be too
If CX is the sum of all interactions, it’s important to have an insight on how effective your CX strategy is across multiple channels. Knowing exactly what your customers need on Facebook is one thing, but knowing how to encourage your customers to be brand ambassadors by influencing their journey across Facebook, Twitter, email and more general CRM interactions is another. Your insight from one channel should always inform how you interact across the rest - this is the only way to forge a seamless customer journey and a shining brand perception.
Manita Dosanjh is PR and communications executive at Falcon IO