In this day and age, customer experience and the fostering of business-to-customer relationships is everything. “Word of mouth” referrals and recommendations from past customers are the strongest form of marketing for a company. Unlike the business-world before us, we live in an online-obsessed society. This means one bad customer experience can spread across the world wide web to millions at the click of a button. “Word of mouth” has been taken to a whole new level. Let’s look at the ins and outs of customer experience and how you can manage it positively for your business.
Social Media and how it has affected customer experience
It is safe to say that 99% of your customers, whatever business you operate, will have at least one social media profile. Social media provides your customers with a platform for expressing positive or negative views on anything they want to that can be shared to a multitude of people all at once. Social media affects businesses and customer experience by:
- Providing a public and labelled platform to share reviews and experiences
Businesses across the world use social media to promote their products and services (and let’s face it, if your business isn’t… it needs to be) using a Business Profile. Customers are able to directly post their reviews on the business to their profiles for potential customers to see. While this can work in favour of the business if the review is positive, it can also be detrimental to the business if the customer experience was negative.
- Grouping target demographics together in Friend’s Lists
Social media platforms give users the opportunity to create Friend’s Lists or have Followers. People with similar age, gender, likes, social status and geographic location are all befriending each other and sitting in one giant pool of photos and status updates. If your customer posts a negative customer experience on their News Feed it is likely that a large chunk of your business target market is going to read that review.
- Focusing on a one-sided story
More often than not, a customer will take to social media to express their opinions on a negative experience rather than a positive one. A business doesn’t always have the opportunity to express their side of the story or defend themselves without inviting a large amount of backlash from the online community. Two negative customer experiences out of 1000 positive ones could be the only reviews your business gets on social media.
On the other hand, a fantastic customer experience review on social media is a big win for your business. In a technology-driven world, it is more important than ever to ensure you provide every customer with a positive experience.
Managing the balancing act between customer experience and good business
Don’t compromise your business under the threat of online reviews. A bad customer experience does not always reflect on your service or product or staff.
You can prepare your business for negative reviews online by finding your ideal customer and building a strong relationship with them. Engage directly with your target market through a social media business profile by posting relevant and helpful content that isn’t a “hard-sell” for your product/service. Establish yourself as a prominent member of your target geographical area by assisting at and promoting local events. Doing business in the 21st century means meshing a number of mediums into your action plan and balancing online and offline customer experience.
Top tips on how to provide the best customer experience:
- Be positive – smile!
- Actively listen to the customer
- Be honest and provide clear communication
- Engage with your customer, online and offline
- Acknowledge a customer’s frustration and show empathy
- Always respond to your customer with a solution or a plan of action
- Think of how you’d feel as the customer and what you’d expect
- Underpromise and overdeliver!
Another way to focus on providing positive customer experiences is to identify work that can be outsourced. Tasks like phone answering and appointment booking can be outsourced to companies like SOI – freeing up your time to focus on your products and services, customers and clients. SOI offers flexible workspaces alongside Virtual Services, and has professional staff that are specifically trained in providing your customers with the best possible customer experience. All of our services are tailored to suit your business. Send us an online enquiry to discuss your business needs further.
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