Each day, in Facebook, Twitter and a host of other social mediums, your customers leave invaluable insights into what they like and dislike about your products, services and business practices. But capturing, aggregating, integrating, and then applying that data to further transform your company can be elusive without the right customer experience technology tools.
Consider the value consumers place on others' opinions. 54% of online adults said user generated content on social networks has influenced how they conduct online transactions, according to the Survey of Online Consumer Behavior by Harris Interactive. Of those influenced by social media, 64% avoided a vendor after reading a bad review and 59% purchased from a vendor after reading a good review, the study found.
The same study also found that 39% of those polled experienced bad customer service from a company's call center when they contacted it due to problems. As a result of this poor service, 45% stopped doing business with the company. How many businesses would, knowing this, change their training or policies, contact those dissatisfied clients with special promotions or take other steps to try and reverse their fortunes?
Whether information comes from your CRM system or tweets from the Twitter stream, it's essential that you use customer experience (CX) tools or technologies to harvest the data so it can be applied to improve customer engagement and deliver differentiate CXs.
Strategic benefits such as increased customer share, lifetime value and retention need tools that bring data management, process automation and information reporting.
Popular CX tools include Voice of the Customer, sentiment analysis, customer self-service, virtual agents, speech analytics, Net Promoter Score or other customer health score measures, Social CRM, traditional CRM, artificial intelligence and a slew of specialty apps.
Like any business software application, customer experience technologies require careful research to ensure you find the application best-suited for your company's needs and growth plans. Factors such as your customer target market, number of brands and geographical footprint will influence which solution makes the best sense.
When seeking out new tools, make sure the relevant departments - such as IT, customer service, public relations, sales and marketing, among others - are part of the software selection process, and are given ample opportunity to provide a list of wants and needs.
Any CX solution should integrate with social networks, email, surveys, telephone and other means of communicating with customers. It should also easily integrate with your customer relationship management (CRM) solution. In fact, many CRM systems have evolved to support CX objectives.
If evaluating new tools, make sure you correctly determine the amount of training, support and pre-implementation work required. Some developers offer vertical-market solutions. Others focus exclusively on B2C or B2B markets. Some solutions offer alerts that notify you when customers are becoming upset and threatening to go to competitors.
Of all the CX tools, social listening is the one that will source the most data, and generally deliver the most unexpected results.
Most social listening tools allow you to track what others are saying by trolling and extracting information about your company and products across the social web. They monitor the news and social media sites to aggregate user generated content, and provide you with this information so you can stay ahead of trends - good and bad - and be prepared to act.
Many social listening solutions incorporate a dashboard for a high-level view of how your company is viewed and portrayed, as well as the tools to drill-down for a deeper level understanding of the interactions between the business and customer.
Long ago, angry customers wrote letters to the editors of their local newspapers and gossiped to friends about the poor service they received at the local market. They had few shopping choices and their remarks carried little weight. Today, the voice of one angry customer - whether the complaint is valid or not - has a near limitless reach and is forever recorded.
Fortunately, social listening and CX management tools provide businesses with a way of capturing these words of worry and praise, and turning them into guides for future growth and profitability.