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Interview: How social media revolutionalises customer relationship

Zafar Anjum | May 6, 2013
Customers are feeling more enabled for the first time as more consumers adopt social media as an outlet for airing issues. The consequence has been nothing short of a consumer relationship revolution. Spence Mallder, senior vice president, general manager workforce optimisation and chief technology officer, of Aspect, elaborates.

Spence Mallder

Spence Mallder, senior vice president, general manager workforce optimisation and chief technology officer, Aspect

Customers are feeling more enabled for the first time as more consumers adopt social media as an outlet for airing issues. The consequence has been nothing short of a consumer relationship revolution. Spence Mallder, senior vice president, general manager workforce optimisation and chief technology officer, of Aspect, elaborates.

How has social media changed consumer expectations from organisations (in terms of their interaction and engagement)?

The rise in social media has sparked a revolution in the customer experience-customers are feeling more enabled for the first time as they direct their own public conversation about your brand.  As more and more consumers adopt social media as an outlet for airing issues, there is an increasing expectation of customer service to suit their requirements. The consequence has been nothing short of a consumer relationship revolution.

Rather than simply accepting what brands tell them, consumers today are turning to their "trusted" networks for guidance about the value of each purchase. With shoppers now able to share experiences instantly-not to mention accessing and interacting with that data at will-the importance of each customer experience has increased exponentially. Businesses must adapt to these changes in customer behaviour and expectations-or expect to suffer the social exposure of their now-failed brand promise.

Recent studies by Bain & Co show that 90 percent of customers trust peer recommendations as opposed to just 14 percent who would trust brand advertising. Customers who engage with companies over social media are more loyal and spend up to 40 percent more. As a result, the pressure to serve customers on social media is increasing and cannot be ignored further.

How are organisations currently harvesting this information from social media and using it to their advantage?

The monitoring and engagement of social media is a very new information technology and business discipline that is all about the customer. In the era of the always-online customer, social media is a primary channel for customer engagement. Companies have not failed to notice the viral impact and visibility that social media is capable of and this has prompted them to engage beyond the tired method of "shout marketing."

They are using social more often to promote their brand, monitor trends among customers, and even research new product ideas. In fact, 80 per cent of the top 100 fortune companies are using at least one social media profile to engage with their customers (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Blogs).

Take Starbucks for example. They have more than 2.5 million Twitter followers. This number is considered extremely large when you think of social media measurements. Starbucks uses Twitter mainly to engage with followers and answer their questions. Starbucks has a long history with social networking sites.

 

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