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Is social media a boon or a curse for customer experience?

What is customer experience?

Customer experience (CX) can be defined as the sum of the interactions between a customer and a business over the period of their relationship. A positive customer experience creates repeat and loyal customers. Companies that invest in building positive customer experience tend to achieve higher customer satisfaction rates, reduced customer churn and, in turn, improved business revenues. The impact that CX has on the revenues of a brand can be gauged by this data – a research by American Express revealed that 60% of customers are willing to pay more for better customer experience.

american express better customer experience social media

Source: 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer | American Express

A great customer experience is a sure-shot way to strengthen the bond that organizations share with customers. Today, companies are implementing new and innovative ideas to provide exceptional customer experience by using multifarious modes and technologies. Of the many modes available, social media is proving to be the best for providing exceptional customer experience.

What is Social Media?

Social media is a computer-based technology that enables users to share views or information and allows them to build a virtual network. It comprises of web-based platforms to helps users interact with other users. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tumblr are a few examples of social media platforms. For individuals, social media is a tool to interact with like-minded people. On the other hand, for businesses, it is a medium to connect with existing and prospective customers.

social media icons

Source: Pexels

Furthermore, social media is a powerful tool in generating business leads and building a brand image of the business. Earlier, brand imaging or advertising was solely done through paper, print, outdoor, and electronic media. This turned out to be a costly affair for the businesses. However, today, social media is used for the same purpose, making it not only cost-effective but also convenient for businesses. While earlier social media was just a marketing and selling platform, today, it plays an extensive role in customer experience management. It is both a research tool for understanding the problems in the customer journey and a platform for building great customer experience.

It is important to note that social media is a double-edged sword: it has its shares of merits and demerits.

Here are a few advantages of social media in creating customer experience:

It helps businesses reach a large audience

The widespread audience available on a single click is extremely helpful for businesses in generating leads at a larger scale. Social media is growing rapidly and “the number of people using the top platform in each country has increased by almost 1 million new users every day during the past 12 months”, as stated by Global Digital Report 2018. The below infographic from Search Engine Journal reveals the number of monthly active users on different platforms. This clearly demonstrates that businesses can get exposure to millions of people around the world by leveraging the power of social media.

Source: The Growth of Social Media v2.0 | Search Engine Journal

It is cost-effective

One of the biggest advantages of social media is that it is cost-effective. Social media is less expensive than traditional media such as TV, radio, and print because all you need is a strong internet. Though paid advertising is of great help, businesses have seen great results without it too.

It helps connect with customers easily

Because most people today are readily available on social media, updating customers about new products, services, or news about the business helps in connecting closely with them. Also reaching out to customers on a daily basis by replying to their comments, answering their queries, or engaging them with interesting posts are great ways to build a rapport.

Brands that engage effectively with customers gain a huge follower base. These followers turn into the brand’s loyal advocates and help in the publicity of the brand through positive word-of-mouth.

It helps to capture preferences and trends

Social media platforms are great for deriving deep insights into customers’ behaviours and preferences. Because customer preferences can be captured and studied, brands can provide an enhanced customer experience by meticulously studying these patterns.

Therefore, businesses can use social media to build and increase their customer base, enhance brand image, and provide an exceptional customer experience. Yet, despite several benefits, social media, if not managed appropriately, can also be a bane for brands.

Here are some reasons why social media could be a curse:

It can worsen an untoward situation quickly

One of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time, Jeff Bezos said

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.”

This quote very appropriately sums up the powers of negative word-of-mouth over the internet. The speed at which negative feedback travels is very, very fast and businesses must remember this. Customer’s negative feedback can exacerbate an untoward situation as the feedback can become viral on social media and damage the reputation of business easily and quickly.

Also, in this fast-paced world, customers expect responses promptly. When brands fail to do so, it can severely cripple their reputation.

Sometimes, ghostwriter’s fake negative remarks can ruin a brand’s image. Further, accidental damages by internal and external factors such as compromising of sensitive data can also bring disrepute to a brand. We all know how Facebook itself was impacted by the recent Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

In such a case, what can brands do to ensure that they leverage the power of social media and not get affected by the demerits? In an earlier blog, we had listed six great ways for brands to become social media rockstars!

Conclusion

So, is social media a boon or bane for organizations? Unfortunately, there is no one right answer! If handled sensibly and with discretion, social media is a blessing for any brand. However, if mismanaged, it can severely damage the brand’s image.

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