Social Media Can’t Be Your Only VoC Strategy
For customers, conversations with brands are never more than a click away. Social media is opening up more direct channels for communication between brands and consumers than ever before. And savvy brands know to use platforms like Facebook and Instagram as stronger touchpoints to engage consumers. You might have seen this play out with airline brand representatives alleviating concerns with disgruntled flyers online in real-time, or famous fast food brands exchanging cheeky tweets with critics. While social media is a powerful communication tool, it doesn’t replace a Voice of the Customer (VoC) solution when it comes to gaining actionable customer feedback. Without a solid VoC strategy in place, social media can easily become a place where your brand’s dirty laundry is aired via public conversations, rather than a real driver of positive change.
Here’s how you can use a strong VoC strategy to work in tandem with social to better understand how customers feel about your brand:
Seek Out Feedback
Customers often believe they can get better responses from brands if they post negative feedback on public channels. And while social media can facilitate these interactions efficiently, most marketers would prefer to avoid social media venting sessions.
The best way to do that is to capture negative feedback before it goes social.
Touch base with your customers along each step of their journey. How was their online shopping experience? How hard was it to find what they were looking for? What problems or frustrations did they have while interacting with your brand? The only way to know is to ask. Prioritize these touchpoints throughout the customer journey (whether through a simple slide-out survey on the mobile app, quick feedback button, in-store questionnaire or more) and make it easy for them to share thoughts.
While you may not anticipate every problem, you can avoid being put on blast on social if you can key into your customers’ experiences more proactively.
Social isn’t going away, and it’s difficult to completely eliminate negative feedback on these platforms. While you can work to reduce these instances by gaining a better understanding of your customers, you can also use negative feedback to solve real problems. That requires transparency.
Don’t ignore or delete negative social posts -- address them as soon as possible. Avoid direct or private messaging a customer if possible. Instead, reply via public posts to show others that saw original posts that you’re working to alleviate concerns. Otherwise, problems only magnify, since it might look like you’re ignoring upset customers.
Eliminate Social Silos
When issues come up on social, it’s important to understand what they mean for your entire customer experience. To really understand this, you need to look beyond the marketing department.
Social media is often considered the domain of the marketing department alone. This is a problem, considering many of the insights shared on social platforms aren’t related to marketing, but rather larger problems that brands must address. Issues with products, processes and user experience touch every aspect of your brand, and should be reported appropriately to the people who can actually address them.
A strong VoC strategy, empowered by the right tools, can pull insights from both social media and other feedback channels to align marketing, sales, product and customer success teams. That way, departments across your business can use feedback to their benefit and improve the overall customer experience.
Sophie Corlay is the global communications manager for Usabilla, a globally trusted customer and employee listening platform. Her background in cognitive neuropsychology naturally led her to a role in marketing, and prior to Usabilla, she led the consumer marketing team at Microsoft. In her current role, she leads a team of designers, content writers and campaign specialists to execute and roll out global communication initiatives that define Usabilla’s brand and story in today’s digital landscape.