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The Undeniable impact of Social Media on Customer Experience and How to Make The Most of it?

Written by Vivek Jaiswal | Co-founder, Customer Guru

If I am allowed to use a hyperbole, I would say social media is where the sun rises – the world no more wakes up to radio or newspapers!

Many organisations and personalities have realised the power of the social network and have started adopting it as a means to stay connected with the world. Even political figures are actively connecting with their countrymen through social network. India’s Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, is famous for promptly sharing his selfies and his agendas on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. And people love it because they feel a personal connection through the social network. Similarly, when it comes to reaching customer service, people would rather tweet or post on a company’s social media profile than staying on hold while waiting for someone to answer their customer service call.

In the last 10 years, along with opening up great new ways to connect with customers, social media also opened a can of worms for organisations. One of the most prominent effects of social media is its impact on customer experience. With an increasing importance of customer experience, which is somewhat depicted by the Google trend chart below, social media and its impact on customer experience cannot be ignored or left to take care of itself.

Customer experience search trend

In her article “How to build a Social Media Customer Engagement Strategy“, Sonal talks about how to build the right social media strategy for managing customer engagement on social media. Today, let us look at how social media is actually impacting customer experience:

Social media allows you to be the good, bad and ugly

Ten years ago, companies did not have to worry about customers sharing a negative experience; if they did, it hardly reached beyond a handful of people. And even if such was a case, the numbers were still manageable. But today, a negative customer experience spreads like forest fire! A case in point: in 2014, Flipkart, India’s biggest e-commerce company, was bombarded by ruthless tweets and Facebook comments by its customers for the mega glitches the site encountered during its Big Billion Day Sale. The company came up with a well explained apology the very next day which was splashed across all social networks. In no time everyone forgave and forgot all about it.

Investing enough time and resource on social media is the only way out. Put enough employees in this sector to follow every negative feedback.

Being present is not enough. Self promotion has a bigger impact.

Various social media platforms let organisations advertise by paying for a virtual space. That way, every time a customer logs in, he sees the company’s advertisement on their social feed. Interestingly, the scale of social network enables these companies to get in front of enough of their ‘Promoters’ who would willingly share these posts and spread the advertisement in their network. Companies right now are harnessing the power of advocates to do their marketing for them.

Don’t be passively present on social media and don’t consider it as a one way channel for your customers to reach out to you. Make use of your promoters’ social network to acquire more customers.

The share more, gain more strategy

Modern companies like Uber, Dropbox and Airbnb get raving reviews and recommendations of there services in Facebook and Twitter feeds because of their marketing strategies. These modern day organisations were born in the age of Social Media and are well aligned to harness the sharing community of social network. Dropbox encourages sharing of positive experiences using referral marketing. Here’s a screenshot of their campaign:

Dropbox referral campaign

This one initiative that was spread virally via social media helped Dropbox grow from 100,000 users to 4,000,000 in just 15 months.

However, delivering a great customer experience is a prerequisite to asking for social shares and a terrible experience will almost certainly invite social sharing, indeed not in favour of the brand. Social media makes it possible for customers’ experiences to reach potential customers and influence their buying decision. It is now up to the brands to ensure the experience is positive enough for the decision to be made in their favour.

Have you ever made or changed your buying decision based on what you saw on your twitter, facebook, google+ or LinkedIn feed?