Evolving Customer JourneyOur latest guest post from J.D. Power and Associates’ Director of Social Media and Text Analytics, Jacqueline Anderson. Enjoy!

As someone who gets to spend a good deal of their time talking to Fortune 500 companies about the role of social media in their organization, I consider myself one lucky lady. It’s an exciting time of transformation as we watch companies and customers making direct connections like never before.

Of course, transformation always breeds uncertainty and anxiety. It’s human nature. And, when you’re talking about changes that directly impact major processes in an organization, it’s no wonder that people are scrambling to figure out just what to do. A few of the questions I get most often include:

  1. Do we really even need to have social media as a service channel?
  2. Does having a social service channel make a difference in customer sat?
  3. How do we rectify social in our marketing group with the social service we want to deliver?
  4. Can my existing agents deliver on this?

As a market researcher by training, my answer to number 1 above is, “Do your research.” We know that seemingly everyone is online these days and many are social, but not all! It’s important to do the legwork to figure out if a) your customers are socially active online and where and b) whether they’re looking for you in social (and if so, where). Once you have those answers you can proceed. If your customers aren’t active right now though, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. It means that you have more time to devise your strategy. If they are, then you need to understand where exactly in their journey they are most likely to reach out so that you can be ready to assist.

If your customers are looking to connect in social then the answer to number 2 is a resounding, “YES!!!” The 2013 JD Power Social Media Benchmark Study shows that social marketing and servicing do have a direct impact on customers’ perceptions of a company, their likelihood to recommend, and their likelihood to purchase. So not only does social servicing matter, customer satisfaction with these interactions matters too.

We’ve all heard the stats that bad experiences get more WOM (word of mouth) than good experiences. And now, we have better insight into the actual tactics and practices that can impact those levels of satisfaction. For example, by understanding where and when in the customer journey your customers are most likely to reach out to connect, you can arm your social service agents with the right information to ensure faster response and resolution times.

If you are looking for more information and discussion on the changing dynamics of the customer journey and the role of social in that change, come join us on December 5th! We can talk about the answers to numbers 3 and 4 above or any other questions you might be pondering!