It’s pretty safe to assume you’re doing your best to make every experience customers have with your business as pleasant and productive as possible. However, even if you try really hard to provide exceptional service and exemplary products, it’s also a given that you can’t be everywhere all of the time.
Fifteen years ago, those complainers griped to friends, neighbors and family members leading to limited word-of-mouth impact to your business. Today, the Internet has amplified word-of-mouth immeasurably. Research by the Word of Mouth Institute finds that 81 percent of U.S. consumers are influenced by their friend’s social media posts.
Consumers use search engines to research product options and consult everything from chat forums to review sites to blogs, where people express their opinions without censorship. By looking for unfiltered information to support their purchase decisions, they consider the Internet a more reliable source of information than the seller.
The rising power of the consumer and the prevalence of social media mean that dissatisfied customers can significantly damage the reputation of a product or company in a few minutes and make or break its ultimate success. A bad review is instantly available to thousands of readers and has the potential to significantly affect purchasing behavior.
Canadian musician David Carroll accomplished this in 2009 with his public critique of United Airlines. When baggage handlers damaged his checked guitar and customer service agents refused to offer compensation, Carroll composed a four-minute song complaining about the airline and uploaded it onto YouTube. “United Breaks Guitars” was viewed 150,000 times in a single day. Three days after Carroll posted it, more than 500,000 people had watched his video. The enormous negative publicity resulted in significant financial losses for United, both because of mistakes in its customer service department, and because one disgruntled customer had access to a very public platform. Here it is in all its glory ..
Here’s what Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook, tweeted at last year’s Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity:
“Would I want to receive a one to one message from a brand, product or service that I like? Absolutely!” – @sherylsandberg – COO Facebook
We’ll add to that sentiment. We’d want to receive a one-to-one message from a company especially if we’d had a negative experience. Your company’s value changes constantly with every single one of your customer interactions. In order to better understand what is happening along their customers’ journeys, many companies rely on customer experience surveys.
Strategically developed and deployed Feedback Automation, such as querying a customer with a three-question survey right after a purchase, quickly enables individualized and responsive customer service and functions very much like a conversation between you and the customer. Managing the customer experience means monitoring the interaction between customers and your organization, and developing specific strategies to best meet your customers’ expectations.
Directing your best representatives to spend a large proportion of their resources on existing customers is one of the greatest secrets of leading organizations. Your responsibility is to provide your representatives with all available information so that they can listen personally to customers and respond immediately to their comments, concerns, and needs.
Feedback Automation enables companies to follow up and fix issues as they happen BEFORE a customer posts a negative review on Yelp, tweets about his experience or goes on an online rant. By listening to customer feedback, you’ll be on giant step closer to managing your customer’s experience and building a positive reputation for your brand.