How Social Media + Customer Experience Rocks Brands

July 30, 2011

A secret formula was recently discovered to increase profits and grow your business. This is not an infomercial or get rich quick deal. It’s social media + customer experience. Over the past four years cutting edge brands like Dell, Southwest Airlines and Comcast have blazed the trail other brands now aspire to follow.

When you care about your customers, they will care about you. This translates to recommending your brand to others (driving referral business) and buying more of your products (increased customer lifetime value). If it’s that simple, why aren’t more businesses big and small harnessing the power of social media to engage with their customers? At this stage in the “social media revolution” it’s not just for marketing, it is a communications channel. Companies are only beginning to understand its importance from this perspective.

A study from Jive Software and Penn, Schoen & Berland found 27% of executives listed social business as a top strategic priority. Nearly half (47%) admitted a social plan was necessary but not a strategic priority and 19% said social business strategy was simply not necessary.

Becoming a customer-centric business means integrating “The Golden Rule” into your business strategy, core values and operations. For large companies whose corporate structure can make it hard to make small changes, this means moving mountains. It doesn’t have to be complex. It can be boiled down to a few simple concepts:

1. Treat customers as you would want to be treated. (Even better, how would you want a company to treat your mom or grandma?)

2. Be where your customers are online and offline. (Use communication platforms, such as Twitter or email, that your customers choose to use.)

3. Treat customer service as a branding experience. (Every touch point with your company from sale to finding out what happened to their shipment is equally important.)

Sounds easy right?

If you’re seeking more specific ways a company can become a customer experience rock star, I recommend picking up the new book The Hidden Power of Your Customers by Becky Carroll. It’s a fantastic tool with practical advice you can apply to your business now. I especially like the inspirational stories about brands like Zappos who are out walking the talk. In fact, Tony Hsieh thinks it’s a good read too.

“At Zappos, we found that the more we invested in the customer, the more loyal they were, and the more we grew from word of mouth. The Hidden Power of Your Customers explains why this works and why all companies should think this way.”

– Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.com, Inc., New York Times best-selling author of Delivering Happiness

If you’re in San Diego today, stop by the U.S. Grant Hotel between 11am-2pm to meet Becky at her first official book signing. You can mingle the Social Media Club while enjoying a mimosa. RSVP here or get your ticket at the door. Full disclosure, I am the promotions director for Social Media Club San Diego and a long-time Becky Carroll friend and fan. This is my plug.

Leave me a comment and share your best customer experience with a company. Or, tell me about ways your company is out walking the talk. You can also join the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #hiddenpower. We need more inspiration in this world!

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