Consumers are absolutely empowered through technology now. That means your customers are as well. It has happened and it is a fact. We can’t control that. Sorry to point that out but that is our starting reality.
Our customers are empowered. They know it. Do we?
They know they have influence. Do we know they have influence?
Our customers know they have a voice that is powerful. They know they have more power than ever before. Do we know that they do and do we act like it?
If you are a member of the C-Suite or executive team, did you receive a report today alerting you to what your customers or clients said about you on Facebook, your call center, Twitter, YouTube, Tumbler, Blogs, Pinterest, etc. (the list is ever evolving). Do you receive it every day? Do you get weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual summaries? Have you engaged with any of them personally yourself? If not, it is a reasonable question why that isn’t important to you?
Even if we aren’t seeing it, other customers (or potential customers) are seeing what is going on. They are forming an opinion of us based on those comments. We can’t control what is being said. We can control how we will react in real time about it. We can control changing the experience in the future.
Say a customer has a bad experience on your web site and they tweet about it. Do we think others have had the same experience and haven’t said anything? You bet they have. Do we think others will find the same thing and either say something or not in the future? Yes they will find it and yes they will say something or not.
There is no hiding. If there is one horrible review out there, they will find it and not the 100 positive things others have said about us.
Companies are beginning to listen to what is being said on social media and respond to it if they can. It does require a commitment of resources but it is not going away. More and more customers (or potential customers) are going to share the good, the bad and the ugly about their experience with us.
Have you started to shift resources into engaging on social platforms? How does that compare to your investment in your call center? Is your call center and social media center integrated in the approach you want your customers to have? We have to manage our online reputation.
What are our customers going to align with if we don’t first define the experience up front? What do we want them to be a part of? Now is the time to invest more in the experience rather than improve how the sales transaction occurs. Our future as executives is in creating programs that scream out in splendor. It is about experiences that kindle meaningful and sincere interactions at every turn. At the center of our evolution (or is it a revolution) is the experience. The experience is everything now.
Here are the key ideas:
- Customers are in control of defining the experience and will communicate it whether it is good, bad or ugly.
- You need a monitor system or command center to stay on top of it, identify the root causes and fix them. Service breakdowns can’t be ignore. They won’t go away on their own. We need to identify them, report them up to senior executives and create a plan to fix the persistent ones.
- We should define an amazing experience for them and make sure that all touch points that define that journey are aligned to deliver that experience.
- Develop a continuous improvement process to take improvements to the next level on a regular basis. The average may be your next target but that isn’t the end game.