Maintaining a focus on constant improvement to your Customer
Experience has always been a crucial component of your business’s success, but
in this day and age of social media and search engine reviews, it is
increasingly a game changer. While the responsibility of delivering quality
customer experience lies squarely on operations and customer service, it is the
marketing department that has to clean up the mess if things go awry, or
conversely, take advantage of opportunities when praise is given. Being aware
of what is being said in social circles and the multitude of online reviewing
sites, as well as prepared with various canned responses to both positive and
negative feedback will benefit your brand reputation.
While a particular customer experience may seem limited in
scope, it can quickly spiral into a changed customer perception of your overall
brand. In fact, customer experience and brand perception have become rather
synonymous: Customer experience boils down to the perception the customer has
of your brand. Even if you think your brand and customer experience is one
thing, if your customers perceive it differently, that is what the actual
customer experience is.
It used to be that if a client ran into issues with your
sales process, product delivery, billing department, or any other aspect for
their experience with your business, the fallout was limited to the client’s
own circle of influence: neighbors, family, co-workers that they happen to talk
to while the experience is still raw. But with Facebook reviews, Google
reviews, Yelp reviews, TripAdvisor revisors, Instagram posts, Twitter feeds,
(and on and on and on), your customer’s circle of influence is MUCH larger, and
their channel to distribute their opinion is MUCH faster.
On the flip side, the ability for customers to express their opinions widely in the public space allows for your business to better see what you are doing wrong - as well as what you are doing right. Keeping your finger on the pulse of what your brand perception and customer experiences are allows you to respond when something may be off. staying on top of reviews and feedback is critical, whether it’s addressing a particular client misunderstanding that can be easily corrected, or identifying an area for improvement in your operations to ensure the issue doesn’t perpetuate.
Should your focus on improving customer experience truly pay
off with positive reviews, this doesn’t mean your marketing efforts should
slow. This is precisely the opportunity you should capitalize on and encourage
your promoters to continue to fuel viral growth. Acknowledging and thanking happy
reviewers, or even asking them to complete a testimonial or survey, will result
in repeat business and increased referrals.
Bottom line: Every customer experience matters and contributes to your brand perception and online reputation. Staying on top of what is said, responding to both positive and negative reviews, and delivering the feedback to the appropriate department in your organization is now a major marketing responsibility.