Welcome To The Age of the Consumer

Jan 29, 2015  | 

Welcome to the age of the consumer, where the consumers are faster, smarter and bolder than you. Today’s consumers read online product reviews, share content with their 300+ followers, and, most importantly, complain about you. We no longer live in the pre-tech days where one bad experience with a brand or product reaches just a few people by word of mouth. Today, these consumers are taking their complaints to social media platforms. Say goodbye to the good ole’ word of mouth days, and say hello to the thousands of followers your message is reaching.

Social Customer Service: The Good, the Bad and the Highly Underrated
A 24-hour call center is no longer the kind of support your customers are looking for. If your brand isn’t listening and responding online today, you’re losing your potential customers of tomorrow. It’s time to hop on the bandwagon; social customer service exists, and it is here to stay. It is a nonstop public display of your relationship with each and every customer. Once again, in the age of the consumer– they control the relationship, and as a brand you are expected to listen.

Posts on all of your brand’s social media accounts should have a personalized response that answers the consumers’ post within one to two hours, even on nights and weekends. Unlike your apologetic significant other, flowers and a nice gesture is not going to get you out of the doghouse in this relationship. The absence of a quick and appropriate solution to your customers’ needs leads to the worst kind of break-up, a nasty public post on your brand’s social media accounts, and definitely no call back.

Why do You Care?
When it comes to social media, everyone should know that nothing is private. An angry customer calling into your call center is much different than an angry customer writing on your Facebook page. As of right now, the consumers’ experience and relationship with brands on social media is severely lacking. But good news! No brand right now is really doing it right. This means that there is a wide-open opportunity to become the leading brand on social media within your segment.

Customers end up spending 20% to 40% more time with companies who engage and respond to social media customer service requests. Brands can break through the clutter that is social media marketing with a customer-obsessed approach. When you are customer-obsessed you act on consumer insights to create better products and services, build a relationship on trust and adapt to consumer needs. This approach leads to higher customer retention, and a seamless service experience. Taking this approach to social media means being transparent, responsive, personal and relevant. It’s time to capitalize on your social investment by producing worthy content, facilitating conversations and creating meaningful relationships.

The Shift

Today’s consumers want to provide just as much thought leadership and important content on social media as you, the business. These consumers love to be recognized for their opinions, especially by the brands and businesses they love. There are ways to engage consumers and utilize this relationship to improve experiences with your brand. Inspiring consumers and giving them the tools to create, share and respond are the first steps. It then falls back on you to engage, react and adapt. This social media relationship can lead to customer loyalty for active users.

Community Management

When you are managing your community on social media, you need to keep contingency planning in mind; this goes along with adapting to your consumers. You, the brand, need to anticipate how your marketing efforts will provoke various responses from your consumers. Just like crisis management in PR, by planning ahead you can be quick to take action with emerging scenarios. Be prepared to answer questions, talk like your diverse consumers and pop in on conversation when the opportunity arises.

Brands should be listening to customers in more ways than one. Not only should you be paying attention to what your customers say on social media, but you can also learn from your analytics. Truly getting to know your customers through data is a strategic way to adapt to their behaviors, interests and demographics. Getting started on proactively managing your communities online can seem like a daunting task, but becoming a leading brand on social media will be worth the investment.