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CX or Customer experience is the foundation for success in any business and customer-centric businesses who manage to evolve, despite a continually changing customer interaction environment, will achieve long term success. However, the advent and impact of social media on businesses has, in many respects, catapulted corporate South Africa realising how imperative the customer experience is, and the importance of a CX solution to manage these interactions.
Perhaps one of the most infamous examples of this is the United Breaks Guitars story — where a customer told a company exactly how he felt — on YouTube. Dave Carroll posted a protest music video, recounting his negative experiences with United Airlines. Carroll created a funny video expressing how the airline had broken one of his guitars and how he attempted to reconcile with United with no success.
The video ‘United Breaks Guitars’, immediately attracted many viewers who could identify with Carrol, and had 14,724,167 views at the time of writing this article, becoming an iconic story of the power of the social customer.
Social media provides customers a way to express themselves either in an adversary or advocate manner and therefore brands must realise that every customer interaction is a moment of truth, whereby it has an opportunity to learn from complaints as a great source of business intelligence and resolve them promptly, or an opportunity to enhance the relationship with customers and gain advocates.
McKinsey reports, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated, which points to just how important Customer Experience management (CX) will be to anticipate potential problems and provide prompt resolution.
Incorporating the Social CX concept
Ordinarily, companies have used transactional information such as purchase history, basic contact information and demographic information. Social media spreads conversations between the company and customer, by ‘listening’ to conversations through various cloud monitoring technologies, there is an opportunity to gather great insight about how the brand is performing. Apart from online reputation management, the insight of what your customers are sharing and their unfiltered experiences (which are amplified by their social network) can be addressed by linking all social channels to a single platform that allows the contact centre to respond directly within the company’s social assets.
From the cloud to the supervisor
To ensure that the contact centre represents the company accurately, any comment or request should be escalated from the contact centre to the business unit, which would have the appropriate answers and a workflow system, to ensure that the right person offers the right answer at the right time. In order to ensure speed and efficiency, the technology platform should be able to auto-suggest answers, where the contact centre can search the knowledge base and cut and paste the relevant answer, or more importantly, be able to edit the auto suggest answers for a specific, more personalised response. Through this process, it is pertinent to remember that purely technological solutions will never arouse an emotional connection between employee and customer, the kind of connection that could mean the difference between a positive or negative response in a complex situation.
Tailoring and adapting to businesses culture
It is vital to understand that the most efficient CX strategy implemented is one that is customised to the company’s business objectives. The most important element to a CX strategy then is customer relationships, and to achieve successful management, companies need to understand their industry, business environment and customer motives.
All employees likely to have contact with the customer must have all the necessary information at their fingertips and they need to ensure that the services on offer are personalised to each customer. For this to take effect, social media channels need to be established and managed constantly, where social CX (customer experience) platforms that are effectively managed will be critical to any company’s CX strategy success.
CX solutions should also be developed and implemented on a flexible technological framework, for easy upgrades to be made or for adaptation to changing business requirements, such as legislation changes that relate to privacy (ECT ACT , PoPI , TCF etc.), new sales promotion channels and database upgrades.
In today’s competitive environment, consumers have a lot of choice and therefore do not need a compelling reason to leave a brand, but certainly need one to stay with a brand. Many companies claim to offer outstanding products and services, however, the client’s perception is the ultimate truth. In the future, brands will not succeed because they have CX programmes, they will succeed when CX becomes integral to company culture and guides behaviour and actions of all employees to ensure that products and services satisfy consumers’ most important needs.