In earlier installments of this series, I highlighted two core drivers of successful customer initiatives.
The first driver of success starts with your employees: create a culture that engages them, treats them as internal customers and leverages their experiences as consumers. After all, we all are consumers and experience the good, bad and ugly customer experiences every day.
The second driver of success is all about your end customers: their expectations, their priorities, and their “moments of truth.” When you truly understand why customers chose you, why they come back (or don’t), and why they stay (or run to your competitor), you are on your way to creating the consistent positive interactions that bring your customers back – again and again.
The final installment in this series focuses on the third core ingredient in successful customer initiatives: how you blend high touch experiences with on-demand, just-in-time experiences via technology.
Organizations have jumped on the “social media” bandwagon and, frankly, many have fallen off. Utilizing technology whether it’s your company website, social media such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube require a strategy, an implementation plan, maintenance continuous improvement, and a structured method of tracking and evaluating success.
Two ideas to consider:
1. Go back to what you learned about your customers! Determine what “blend” of high-touch experiences and on-line and on-demand experiences your customers want, need and prefer. This is your baseline for your strategy for completing the best experiences for your customers.
Think about companies like The Ritz Carlton and State Farm. They emphasize the personal touch, while also offering alternatives through 24 hour on-line access to reservations, agents, etc. Now, think about a company like E-surance, where the customer experience is reflected in their slogan “people when you want them…technology when you don’t.” Or how about Discover’s new ‘It’ card? Discover emphasizes the same concept: you can go on-line or you can talk to a ‘live’ agent 24/7 – it’s your choice, your preference…but we’ll be there. These companies understand their customers’ needs, priorities and preferences….and deliver consistent positive customer experiences.
2. Define a detailed social media strategy that goes beyond your website and customer support. How do you or how should you be using social media? It starts by asking yourself who your audience is. Many companies make the fatal mistake of believing that creating a Facebook page is similar to the great film “Field of Dreams”: build it and they will come. Bad news: they won’t come unless they have a reason to.
Who is your audience for communication through social media: current customers; potential customers; current employees; potential employees? If your Facebook strategy is not defined and mostly consists of pictures of your annual bowling event or holiday party it is very likely customer traffic will be low if existent at all.
The bottom line: social media is an investment in time, research, strategy, and yes money. Start at the beginning and ask yourself a simple question: Why are we doing this? The answer may be surprising: no…at least not yet.
Until next time: connect, collaborate and create!
The Connector – Ryan