Recognizing the Impact of Social Media
In this day and age – an age Forrester Research defines as the “age of the customer,” in which focusing on the customer matters more than any other strategic priority – social media has created a shift in power. Organizations no longer hold all the cards. Consumers are now more empowered than ever.
According to a recent U.S. benchmark study by Forrester, almost 96% of U.S. adults online today have a Facebook account, and roughly 25% have either a LinkedIn or Twitter account. As a result, most people have a connection to at least one social media channel.
As consumers continue to turn to social media to express their views and seek resolution to issues, enterprises are increasingly placed under a virtual magnifying glass – in a very public forum. In the past, unhappy customers would usually try to resolve issues through the customer contact center, or at their local branch or retail location. However, given the explosive growth of social media, customers commonly use digital channels as a means to resolve issues or vent frustrations.
Social media is here to stay. If you haven’t incorporated it into your customer experience strategy, now is the time to start the process. While social media channels can provide a forum for customers to express frustrations, it can also be used as a sounding board for consumers who are doing research – a golden opportunity for enterprises to engage with customer to promote their services and brands. Organizations can no longer afford to overlook the potential value and challenges associated with social media, particularly since savvy competitors may already be using these channels to their advantage.
To turn social media into an opportunity rather than a potential menace, determine where social media is playing a role in your customers’ journey with your organization – then align your organization’s social media activities with your customer experience strategy.
According to a recent Forrester report, “How does Social Media Contribute to Customer Experience,” following are some clear goals and best practices for any organization seeking to take advantage of the many opportunities provided by social media:
- Understand customers’ existing use of social touch points
- Document existing social activities and map them to your customer journey
- Identify gaps in the journey and isolate any disconnects in existing social media initiatives
- Establish guidelines and metrics to keep your organization true to its social objectives
Today’s astute customer experience professionals should seek ownership of their organizations’ social strategies. Ensure the social activities of your organization contribute to a consistent experience for your customer. By recognizing the influence of social media and the places where it is playing a role in your customer’s journey, you can take the appropriate actions to harness that power – and take advantage of the new and exciting opportunities it presents.