If you are a brand with a social presence, are you listening carefully to what the customers say about you? And if you are very strong brand, rooted in tradition and consumer sentiment, how invested you are in your digital profile?
When Brands Miss Out On Listening
When I recently attended an event about digital branding, it amazed me that many FMCGs and traditional product companies are only recently waking up to the digital branding and customer care in the social media platforms, that too only when faced with a crisis. While these strong brands do appreciate digital, it sometimes takes a social disaster before they invest in a care platform in the social media.
A recent study, the State of Customer Service Experience 2015 whitepaper, by a social analytics company Locowise, found that while only 2% of customers choose social media as their preferred method to contact customer support, around 33% of customers said that social customer support doesn’t meet their expectations from a brand.
Are we living in a digital world where too much noise is making us deaf to what our customers are saying? Or is it that we only care about pushing our content across the digital platform? Or are insanely bothered about the metrics to certify our content marketing project as successful that we are overlooking the very customer who made us the kings?
So what happens when brands tune out customer complaints? Is that really so harmful? In September 2013, Hasad Syed became the first customer to use Twitter’s paid post platform to tweet out his grievances against British Airways for losing his luggage. Did it pay off? Yes, and within hours he got a reply form the airline. Syed is Twitter’s first user to use paid post to make a brand listen. The brand possibly could have avoided it had it really decided to listen early.
So How Should the Brands Listen to Their Customers?
A very simple answer is, by being there, where the customers are. So if your customers are on Twitter, you have to be there; or choose Facebook, if that’s where your customers are. If no one’s on Instagram, maybe it’s not that a good platform for you.
I read once, ‘You should always be keeping a close watch on your brand mentions on social media and anywhere else on the web’ (The most definitive guide to managing comments on social media), and agree so with the author. It’s very important to get this right, yes, even when your presence in the market in entrenched in strong customer sentiment, and you had been the market leader for last decade and a half. Ignore your customer in the digital world, and be ready to let the things slide down a very tricky slope. Says Social Samosa, ‘Brands need to have a continuous monitoring system because that makes all the difference. We will never know when the next trend is going to pick up or when one of your frustrated customer is going to hit upon you on Twitter.’ And I tend to agree.
“Know what your customers want most and what your company does best. Focus on where those two meet.” ~ Kevin Stirtz