Social Media is the only real-time channel for successful brands to manage customer experience and brand management.
Social Media is the Voice of the Customer. That voice shares a customer’s experience with the world. When it is good, it becomes a brand ambassador and promoter. When it is bad, that voice erodes brand equity and tarnishes brand image. This year, Pepsi tried to be relevant and used social racism protests for the set up of its latest ad.
The backlash was immediate customer engagement that Pepsi had to manage in order to keep the intended brand message on point. The perception of the customers did not match the intention of the brand.
When JetBlue was redesigning the JFK lobby in New York, we hoped to hear comparisons to the Apple store on Social Media. This was the sign that we built the experience we imagined. The tweets came and we knew. Our brand message has been received.
Social Media is a collaborative space where customers engage with brands on products design and usability. THey discuss product specifications. In some cases, they even build their own products. Glossier’s best-selling product was produced entirely based on customer feedback via social media.
Regardless of brand strategy, today’s engineers and designers must tune in to Social Media and allow customers to co-create products and services.
Social Self Service
Today, customer experience is equal to social media. Customers expect to self-serve on social media. They look for real-time recovery of their experiences. And they expect brands to listen at all times.
When an airline cancels a flight, customers reach out on Twitter and Facebook to re-book themselves on the next flight or book a hotel if the flight is not the same day. Effective brands leverage these conversations to build brand engagement and loyalty.
The brand becomes another friend on social media. A loyal and helpful friend that listens and builds experiences with the customer.
Social Media is a real-time channel for brands to engage with the customer. It is a tool to build customer expectations for the product and service experiences that follow. The brand can communicate product features and educate the audience on a specific topic. If these messages match the actual customer experience, brand equity grows and the customer connection gets stronger.
Moreover, it is a measure for brands to assess whether a customer’s experience perception matches the brand’s experience intention. Successful brand managers don’t just have social media accounts. They utilize them effectively to communicate brand image. And they listen to how that message is received.
They use Social Media to make things right when they go wrong. And offer self-service options for operational recovery and self-help. For the authentic brand, Social Media is a competitive advantage. It is the channel to manage customer experience and build brand engagement. The brands that understand this best will not only win the millennials tomorrow, but every customer who expects relevant and personal customer experience today.
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