Saturday, February 25, 2012
What’s the Biggest Challenge to an Improved Customer Experience?
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Articles appear all the time with advise on improving your customer experience. Some
tell us all that it's about the need to focus on the integration of channels, or advice that it’s about
learning how as humans to connect with the digital world. Others claim that it's all about increasing
first call resolutions, getting employees to smile, improving website usability, facilities appearance, call waiting times,
the appearance of staff, the image projected by advertising, the smell of the lobby, and dozens of other factors.
We disagree. We believe that the real challenge comes in understanding the experience from the customer
point of view and identifying priorities for improvement. Trying to do it all will never work, it’s
costly and inefficient. The real challenge therefore is one of proper allocation of resources.
key driver analysis in traditional customer sat nor NPS helps identify those priorities. Those approaches
look at the experience functionally, from an insider’s view. They fail to consider the multiple interactions
and multi-sensory composition of the TOTAL customer experience that brings customers back, causes them to spend and increasing
share of wallet with the brand, causes them to generate more positive word of mouth for the brand -- or drives them to the
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Crisis Management through Social Media
Following the grounding of the cruise ship Costa Concordia, parent company Carnival Cruise line has taken much criticism
for its handling of its social media presence. Initially the CEO went dark on Twitter but the company maintained
status quo on Facebook with the usual postings of updates on trips, deals and specific ships. After six
days, with hundreds of negative posts on their Facebook wall and other outlets, they finally stopped online marketing and
announced a temporary halt to their Facebook and Twitter activity “out of respect” and to focus on helping with
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Their announcement a week
later that they were ready to “engage” stirred much more negative response. Social media experts
have strongly suggested that Carnival terribly mishandled the situation. They suggest that the company
should have brought forward key individuals in the social media to answer questions, share ideas in chats, hang-outs, or stream
That all sounds logical, but
what were they to say: That the captain was really at his post and doing his job? That
they usually conduct safety drills? That the captain and the crew handled the crisis well based upon their
training and valor? But in reality they had failed horrendously on board ship and there was little defense.
Further, it’s likely that their legal counsel had instructed all executives to say nothing.
So what to do? We believe that the proper way to manage a crisis playing
out in social media must begin well in advance
of the event. Yes, the captain and crew of the Costa Concordia
failed horribly. That can’t be explained away or denied. But on the social media front
they could have prepared. Loyal customers who had been on many safe and enjoyable cruises can act as the Best Customer Advocates,
in good times as well as when a crisis strikes. They should have been identified well in advance. They should have been armed
over time with information and stories (safety records, engineering, training, corporate citizenship, staffing, etc.) to
help them generate positive word of mouth for the brand (both online and offline). Such communications could have helped
generate sales in good times and add perspective and balance to the public dialog in bad times.
Monday, February 6, 2012
How engaging is your Facebook page?
We don’t have a great Facebook page. We don't have hundreds
of Twitter followers. We set up accounts several years ago and quickly realized that we just
didn’t have enough new experiences and original material to keep it up. Do you? Some
very smart folks we followed for a while couldn’t really hold our interest. Unless you’re a celebrity with
a paid ghost writer, a corporation with a continual flow of games and coupons, or a real news organization, it’s probably
also difficult for you or your corporation to be continually generating content that’s worth reading.
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Does that mean public
social media shouldn’t be part of your marketing strategy? NO. We believe Facebook,
Twitter, blogs, review sites, and all the rest must be part of any action plan. But here’s our alternative
Rather than trying to be the one generating
all the content about your business, all the time, instead stimulate a lot of your existing customers so they will comment
about you in their own Facebook pages, Tweets, reviews, and blogs, and for that matter in their more private phone calls,
emails, text messages, and even face-to-face conversations. They have the experience with your brand, but
they need some motivation, content, and to be pointed in the right direction. We call it Identifying
& Arming Customer Advocates. It’s part database marketing, part PR, part promotions, part relationship marketing.
Its time has come.