Customer experience trends engraved in social media channels

Paul Stockford, president of Saddletree Research, an organization that gauges industry change trends, notes that the changes of customer experience management will continue an upward movement in social channels. Interestingly enough, the social trends since 2008 have grown exponentially. In 2008, social media and customer service were not even on the radar; in 2009 it grew to 13%, and this year 40% of contact centers actively use social media in their customer service.

Stockford provided some suggestions that organizations should be aware of as to the ever-changing environment of social media and its profound influence. For instance, the power of the media can cause a singular customer experience to “go viral.” We all remember JetBlue’s Steven Slater from Flight 1052 from Pittsburgh to Kennedy Airport last August. After a heated exchange with a female passenger who stood up before the plane came to a complete halt, and began to pull her luggage from the overhead compartment and hit Slater in the head, a rather heated argument ensued. Slater told off the 100 passengers over the public address system, activated the emergency chute, jumped on the evacuation slide, and high-tailed it out of the airport. The debacle made headlines for days!

There is also a powerful link with companies and customers who actually listen to the suggestions and feedback of consumers. When consumers feel that the phrase, “We take your suggestions seriously,” is more than just an ego rub and feel their suggestions, complaints, and compliments have made a difference, it becomes a positive way to bring about customer loyalty.

Powerful brands help customers make educated choices. Even though established brands are still vulnerable to criticism and loss of revenue, their constantly increasing improvements set new parameters for customer confidence, trust, and convenience. Zappos brought “quirky” to our shopping experience, but their shopping experiences, quality of products, and customer service protocol with devoted employees and branding continues to set them apart.

Also, Stockford pointed out the relevance between the marketing departments of a company and customer service. Once upon a time marketing departments were considered profit centers, and their primary task was to only drive sales. In direct contrast, customer service departments were painted as cost centers – never the two to intertwine. Now, with so much information available over the internet, both about companies and the consumers who buy from them, there are many more methods of delivering positive customer experiences; thus the new connection of all departments urging each other to work together for the total positive experience of the customer.

Let’s face it; the younger generation is driving these changes. Everyone who wants to survive needs to pay attention and be ready to advance as technology demands.

photo credit: MoritzBarcelona