Co-Create a Better Customer Experience… With Your Customers

Listen, Act, Co-Create, Repeat

In a classic article from 1986 entitled “What Gets Measured Gets Done,” Tom Peters says: “In the customer arena, we believe that regular, quantitative measurement of customer satisfaction provides a much better indicator of future organizational health than does profitability or market share change.”

social-listening

More than 20 years later, we still couldn’t agree more. In fact, a significant portion of our business is built on this premise (for example, Customer Experience Mapping is our suite of research and analytical tools). But obtaining an accurate measurement of customer experience and opinion has traditionally been a bit elusive.

Why is that? For one, customers say one thing, and do another. The questions many marketers ask don’t track to those customer actions or the perceptions that drive enterprise value, or – more often – are irrelevant to understanding and/or meeting customer wants and needs. Our qualitative research attempts to drive quantitative insights, ending up with an opinionated sample of one.

And today, social media has taken the conversation out of the hands of traditional marketers, essentially usurping traditional corporate control over communications channels. And honestly, that’s a great thing. Particularly for those marketers interested in new ways to get at that “regular, quantitative measurement of customer satisfaction” that Peters first mentioned over two decades ago.

The consumer revolution is good for marketers.

Today’s consumers are quite comfortable expressing themselves. Typically mobile-centric, technically savvy, more demanding and better informed than ever before, they’ll be looking to contacts online and off, across social networks, feeds, through rating sites and more. As such, social media is a vast window into a high-level overview of customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

Monitoring customer “conversations” via social media platforms allows you to capture nuances and emotions, as well as chart trends in these areas, and should be a key part of an ongoing customer satisfaction and experience monitoring initiatives.

This wealth of information is your opportunity to co-create an improved customer experience – with your customers.

Don’t be afraid to find out what isn’t working. And if you are, be even more afraid of NOT finding out.

Finding out what customers are thinking makes it possible to fix what isn’t working for your customers – and to create more of what they want. Building loyalty and retention impacts the bottom line – resulting in greater financial value to your organization.

There are several tools that help you do this yourself (such as Social Mention) where a quick search will give you your “Social Rank”, show you if – and if so, where – you’re being discussed, and what’s being said. Twitter Search is another tool to find comments on that platform, as well as others ranging from the powerful tools in Google Alerts and blog search engine Technorati, to social aggregator FriendFeed or backtype, a tool that lets you manage, search and monitor blog comments.

Though you can’t control these touchpoints, you can seize the opportunity to co-create conversations and experiences that will help you influence them.

There’s no doubt that Social Media conversations are occurring around your brand, whether you know it or not. So the better your organization does at understanding and improving customer experience, the higher the likelihood that what’s being said will positively support your brand and perceptions of it.

By using Social Media to track your brand, follow your customers – and solicit their opinions – you’ll be grabbing an opportunity that simply didn’t exist even a couple of years ago. Business Week’s April 2nd article points to just a few of the ways that some companies are using Twitter to straddle that line between customers service, marketing and brand management.

Whether you track Social Media as part of a systematic, regular program for tracking and improving customer experience, or simply as a way to get occasional “snapshots” of opinion and popularity, the tools for managing those touchpoints you cannot control are now just a few keystrokes away – right alongside your ability to use customer input to co-create the customer experiences that will help your organization better stand out, and compete.

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