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B2C Social Customer Experience Best Practices Emerging in 2015

Lithium Alumni (Retired) Lithium Alumni (Retired)
Lithium Alumni (Retired)

blog_2015emergingpractices.png


Looking back at 2014, many Lithium customers were engaged in efforts to transform their social customer experience. Advancing the business’s orientation around the customer's point of view was an overarching goal for 2014. Re-envisioning the enterprise value of community or envisioning a more integrated online community, were also top of mind for many customers.

 


As we enter 2015, three best practices for managing the social customer experience are emerging. Large B2C brands, focused on managing the customer experience all have a similar short list of key focus areas.

 

 

This post outlines a three emerging best practices for managing the social customer experience.

 

  1. Know me: our customer expects personalized digital experiences. Community must support personalization efforts with advanced technology.

  2. Engage me: customers expect to engage on their terms, not on the brand's terms. Our community extends beyond our domain. We must begin to customize engagement on a channel by channel basis 

  3. Make it easy for me: Simple trumps WOW! Community must help us focus process and resources on making it easier for our customer to do business with us.

 

Personalization: Know me 
Today's digital consumer expects to be known. When brands show they know the customer, loyalty develops. Designing shared experiences that align the customer lifecycle with the customer journey is critical.

  

Personalization initiatives that are on tap in 2015 include:

  • Figuring out Social Identity: Our customers repeat the same thing over and over about social identity.  - Don't ask the customer to create an account, ever. Know who your customer is before she gets to your .com landing page, community thread/post or customer support portal. Allow consumers to login using their social identity. 
  • 360 degree view of the customer: Always be prepared to have an intelligent conversation with the customer. Regardless of channel or device, know the customer tenure and status. Know the products they own, rewards they've earned, the shopping events involved.

 

Customization:  Engage me
Acquiring and retaining customers by promoting product features is expensive and risky. Access to product and price info via search and social channels is undermining brand loyalty.  

 

Customization initiatives that are on tap in 2015 include:

  • Optimize the paid, owned and earned media mix by asking customers how they want to interact with the brand. Explore tools able to gather intel across all channels and all devices. 
  • Digital and social communication programs must evolve to speak the language of the consumer. Use social customer experience data to evolve how the brand engages consumers on a channel by channel basis. "Total community" learning is critical to our engagement programs remaining relevant on social channels.  

 

Process Optimization: Make it easy for me
Learn how to make the customer experience simpler. Identify the critical  employee-to-customer engagement touchpoints needed to build innovative products and experiences.  

 

Process Optimization initiatives that are on tap in 2015 include:

  • Focus process optimization efforts on making it easier for the customer to do business with the brand. Use social customer interaction data to identify barriers to delivering successful customer experience outcomes.
  • Tie social marketing and social support program success metrics to successful customer experience outcomes.

 

So what does this mean for 2015?

So as much as things change, they also stay the same. 2015’s trends build on what we have already seen working well this year. Businesses need to embrace the outside-in point of view. Marketing programs must use all information available from the social customer experience. Customer experience will trump product feature and price. 2015 will be the year that customers demand simplicity from the brands they love. Brands who deliver beautifully simple experiences create consumer habits that make loyal lifetime customers. Brands who can’t deliver simplicity, will become irrelevant.

 


xav.jpgXavier is Director of Social Strategy at Lithium. His time at Lithium is spent focusing on building digital transformation and long-term customer engagement programs and solutions for our enterprise retail, marketing and media customers. Xavier has been a featured speaker on topics including web analytics and digital branding, CRM and customer loyalty at shop.org, eMetrics, The Word Of Mouth Marketing Association and the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.

6 Comments
Lithium Alumni (Retired) Lithium Alumni (Retired)
Lithium Alumni (Retired)

I don't know that I agree with " Don't ask the customer to create an account, ever." Personally - I don't want my engagement with a company to be tied to my personal social media ID(s) & won't participate if I can only do so that way. All about options imho

Lithium Alumni (Retired) Lithium Alumni (Retired)
Lithium Alumni (Retired)

@StephanieH - Most of the feedback we have received on this was from Telco and retail customers who have a vested interest in speed and designing for immediate engagement. IS you thought that different industries see things differently? interested to know more. - X

Trusted Contributor
Trusted Contributor

Great @XavierJ  I find myself agreeing with @StephanieH on this.  I appreciate the information.

 

Check it out @cindycapo and @edaccessible

Trusted Contributor
Trusted Contributor

 Interesting findings @XavierJ. Thank you for bringing this to my attention @stevekrohn

Trusted Contributor
Trusted Contributor

my pleasure @edaccessible this is a great forum and community. I'm glad @XavierJ brought the topic up to begin with. 

Lithium Alumni (Retired) Lithium Alumni (Retired)
Lithium Alumni (Retired)

@XavierJ - I think it was well said in today's presentation at LiNC, by Tim Fishburne - that Google found that "immediate need trumps brand loyalty" (or something to that effect) ... if I am looking for an answer to a product or service issue - I don't necessarily want to "join" a Community - I just need an answer to my question; I think this holds true for many (most?) consumers.

 

Having said that, if I MUST "join", to get an answer to my query, - I'd rather create a unique identity for a specific Community, that have it linked to everywhere else I have left a digital footprint.

 

Plus, I'm a pretty private person - increasingly concerned about my digital info "out there" ... indeed, this is the 1st year I've even allowed pictures of myself to be even remotely connected to my personal FB page & I never link my FB page or "like" commercial products/services from my personal page. I have a 'junk' FB profile for that 'stuff' that has virtually no personal info about me.

 

I find "customers expect to engage on their terms, not on the brand's terms." & "Allow consumers to login using their social identity." to be somewhat contradictory statements ... it is all about options & flexibility imHo and how difficult is it to offer both options anyway?