You’ve just taken your child to the local county fair. She was lucky enough to win the goldfish in the ring-around-the-bottle game. The odds were not in her favor, that’s why you let her play. Now, she’s giddy as can be and you have a new pet that needs a lot of attention. You have a choice – you can take the fish home, forget to do anything with it and teach your child about life and death; or, you can buy the fishbowl, accessories and food and become a fish family.
Chances are you really don’t want to navigate towards the first option; it would make you (feel like) a bad parent. You don’t bring the goldfish home just to ignore it. That strategy causes a lot of heartache and unnecessary stress. It’s a teachable moment and you want your daughter to get the most out of the situation, hoping the goldfish sticks around for a while. After all – you’ve already bought the bowl.
In the omni-channel customer engagement environment, the analogy has some merit. You don’t put a channel for interaction in place and then just ignore it. You may not be excited to add the channel, but you know that your customers expect it, demand it even. It’s good for business, but only if you apply the same thoughtful oversight that you’ve applied to all other options. If not, the customer using the channel will get frustrated and go somewhere else.
Such a scenario happens way too often in the omni-channel customer engagement environment where social media has been added, but not necessarily wanted. The decision makers believed that they needed to have a social media presence because everyone else had one. But they did little more than assign the build of the channels. Now the brand is virtually silent on social and the effect is deafening.
A recent Forbes piece stressed the importance of social media in the quest to keep customers happy. Like the goldfish, you have to nurture it, feed it, clean the bowl if you expect it to survive. If you also expect it to play a pivotal role in your omni-channel customer engagement strategy, you also have to use it the way your customers expect.
Consider that customers who tweet a brand expect there to be a response and 53 percent expect that response to happen within the hour, according to research by Millward Brown Digital. If the tweet makes reference to a problem, 72 percent expect the response within the hour. But brands are falling short as the average response time on Twitter (News - Alert) is more than four hours – if a response happens at all.
And don’t assume this is just smaller brands who are missing the mark. Among Interbrand’s 100 Best Global Brands, the response rate is just 42 percent, according to Simply Measured. One metric suggests that 60 percent of customers who feel ignored by social media are more likely to share their displeasure, especially if the problem is a legitimate one that hasn’t been resolved.
If you truly want to create an environment where customers feel heard, get satisfaction and happily share their recommendation of your brand among their friends, you have to approach your social media strategy just as you would your web chat or email strategy. And like it or not, you have to be on social media and you have to be effective. It’s time to get the goldfish and invest in a large aquarium – this one’s not likely going anywhere.