The other day, I was listening to a friend of mine vent about her "horrible" experience with the local oil company. She was running low on oil at home, and with a snowstorm coming, she wanted to fill her tank to make sure it didn't run out.
However, when she tried calling the company, she was placed on hold for what felt like an eternity. She then tried getting in touch with someone on Twitter and Facebook, and low and behold, the company had yet to set up an account.
"I'm never doing business with them again," she vowed. Just like that, a nearly two-decade relationship was terminated.
Personalized service becoming a must
Brand loyalty is a dying breed, if it hasn't passed away already. These days, it takes next-to-nothing to turn a customer away for good. Innovations like social networking sites, web chats and mobile devices have created a more impatient and demanding customer than ever.
In the digital age, consumers have come to expect service whenever and wherever. If you don't make that happen for them, they will have no problem brushing you aside for a company that will.
According to a recent InContact and Harris Interactive survey:
- 86 percent of consumers anticipate brands will offer service anytime and from multiple channels.
- More than half of Americans would consider switching brands based on the number of customer service platforms they offer.
- A quarter of consumers don't have any loyalty.
As a marketer you have to pay attention to this link between loyalty satisfaction and the communication channels for consumers. Social and mobile are really changing the game because organizations can't hide from their customers. Before, they were ready to build a moat, separating the organization from consumers, but social media dropped the drawbridge across it.
Punching back - give customers what they want
You're probably wondering right now, "How do I go about meeting these demands?" The answer is simple: Give customers what they want.
People have different preferences with regard to how they like communicating these days. Many consumers favor social media, others are keen on internet chats and some people still even like using that antique device known as a phone. Make sure you offer enough platforms so that customers will be able to choose the one they're comfortable with.
You don't need to have every single channel. If you think having both a Facebook and Twitter is beyond your capacity, choose one over the other. Just make sure you're delivering top-notch service through that channel, as poor social communication can actually have an adverse effect. At the same time, make sure you're not neglecting traditional service methods either.
I know it may seem like a lot of work, but the reality is that consumers are going to continue expecting service through these mediums. You should accommodate them now before they decide to take their business elsewhere.