If your primary objective is to learn how to ride the wave of social media to enhance the customer experience within a specific touch-point or departmental function, there are already numerous blogs, articles, and publications which serve this purpose well. There is no need for you to spend time reading this document. If, however, our core messages are aligned with your most pressing concerns, it is worth investing your time in reading this paper.
Here is what we’ll be covering:
- How to integrate social media into the Total Customer Experience across the entire customer lifecycle;
- How to optimize resource allocation among various social media by aligning with business objectives; and
- How to manage your brand and social media with one integrated and quantifiable management system.
Figure 1: Touch-point Experience across the Customer Lifecycle – Overall
Social Media: Adding Value to the Total Customer Experience
Foreword by Bob Thompson, CustomerThink Founder/CEO
A few years ago, the term “Web 2.0” was coined to reflect a shift to users creating their own content and collaborating with others on the Internet. Clearly this consumer-friendly Social Web is here to stay, with hundreds of millions of people using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and thousand of other free services.
Individuals are using social media for personal reasons, but increasingly are also sharing their views about brands. A 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study found that 78% of new media users interact with companies or brands via new media sites and tools, up from 59% in 2008. These “social customers” can build up a brand—or tear it down—at unprecedented speed.
More recently, social technology has begun to penetrate the enterprise. In some cases, creative employees are using services designed for individuals as new channels to engage with customers and prospects in marketing, sales or customer service. In others, enterprise-grade applications are being implemented to improve employee productivity, power customer communities, monitor conversations and so on.
Now is the time to start separating social media hype from reality. The June 2010 CustomerThink “social business” study found that business managers are enthusiastic about the potential for social media to help their business:
- 42% consider social media “very important” in their jobs
- 53% say social media helps their organization succeed.
- Improving the customer experience is the No. 1 expected benefit
However, we also learned that about 80% of respondents were unsure about the ROI of their social media initiatives. Of the key six issues analyzed, “poorly defined business requirements” stood out as the biggest obstacle to success.
In our research, we’ve consistently found that the customer experience is a key differentiator that drives loyalty and retention. Strategically, as Sampson Lee points out, you should plan more holistically to use social media to enhance the total customer experience. Don’t create social media silos to frustrate your customers!
Document Structure: The Flow and Specifics of Each Section
This document is composed of nine sections. Three sections are written by me, and experts in each specific domain contributed the other six sections.
Section ONE: Where Social Media meets Customer Life Stages (current section) – I start by stating the reasons why you should spend your time reading this document and I introduce the flow and give a perspective on how social media fit into the customer experience and influence experiences across the customer lifecycle.
Section TWO: Social Media and Research & Development – Co-creation with customers was a regular practice at some companies even before the emergence of social media. Today, Wendy Soucie from Wendy Soucie Consulting is going to show us that social media makes it easier and more effective for customers to engage in the product development process.
Section THREE: Social Media and Branding/Public Relations – Brands are owned by both customers and non-customers. Karl Havard from pownum illustrates how social media enables customers and non-customers to shape, interact with, and influence your brand long before they are touched by your own branding and public relations efforts.
Section FOUR: Social Media and Marketing – Marketing in the world of social media is about engaging your customers and non-customers. In a broad sense, as Jim Sterne from Web Analytics Association tells us, it closely relates to branding, PR, sales, and customer support. In short, you have to create relevant and compelling content so that you can attract attention; no matter what kind of activities you want to engage customers with in your next steps. You want your customers to talk with you – by leaving message, posting on your blog, following your company tweets, etc.
Section FIVE: Social Media and Sales – Talk is cheap. You need to turn conversations into actions, not just interactions with your customers and prospects. Axel Schultze from Xeesm demonstrates with a real case how to achieve tangible and more effective sales results by reallocating resources from traditional sales channels to the new emerging social media.
Section SIX: Social Media and Operations – Can social media help to enhance efficiency? To achieve the same results with fewer resources? To achieve better results with the same resources? To maintain or even enhance customer satisfaction levels while investing fewer resources in operations? Rick Mans from Capgemini shares with us how social media affects operations in a client case study with sound results.
Section SEVEN: Social Media and Customer Service – Can social media be used to service your customers? It is fast, interactive, and convenient for end-customers. But, at the same time, it poses new challenges to companies in terms of organizational structure, dynamic workflow, and resource allocation. Guy Stephens from Foviance interviews one of his clients and provides insights on this controversial topic.
Section EIGHT: Integrating Social Media with Total Customer Experience – In this section, I will organize the silos into an integrated whole. To look at an organization meaningfully, we must first derive the importance levels of social media on each customer life stage during the entire lifecycle. Besides the horizontal perspective in a natural time sequence, we also have to dive deeply into the vertical perspective by weighting the influence of social media in delivering experiences at each life stage among all customer-facing channels. Only with both the horizontal and vertical perspectives, can you have a comprehensive and strategic view of how to allocate resources to various social media.
Section NINE: Managing Your Brand and Social Media with One System – I define Brand as a perception – generated by the aggregate customer experiences across all touch-points and covering the entire customer lifecycle. Social media is just one customer-facing touch-point; there are other channels to deliver the numerous touch-point experiences. Real data generated from our work with clients and research on the global credit card customer experience*, the global mobile communications customer experience**, the global city visiting experience***, and the global B2B purchasing experience**** is used to introduce the concept of ‘Branding by TCE’. This data illustrates how social media fits in the big picture of the TCE (Total Customer Experience) model, by each touch-point experience and by each functional area.
An Overall View on where Social Media meets the Customer Life Stages
Figure 1 shows the customer life stages in a natural time sequence. In reality, the actual sequence may not fall into this exact order; there is no absolute sequential order for all customers and all circumstances.
For example, Branding/PR may touch customers at multiple life stages. Toyota’s quality issue and the PR surrounding its resolution affected some customers at the end of their lifecycle and, yet it touched prospective buyers of Toyota’s cars at the beginning of their lifecycle with Toyota. In some circumstances, Customer Service touches a customer before Operations, or perhaps Customer Service touches customers before Sales. In general, this model gives us an idea of the key components of customer lifecycle with which social media may interact. Our contributors will explore this sequence step by step, beginning with section two through section seven.
As more and more types of social media emerge, it is logical and even necessary to consolidate their management into a single system. In sections eight and nine, I will show you how: by integrating social media with total customer experience and I’ll show you why: the beauty of putting social media under one roof.
This document “Social Media under One Roof: Integrate Social Media with the TCE Model” is composed of nine sections. Three sections are written by Sampson Lee, and experts in each specific domain contributed the other six sections: Wendy Soucie from Wendy Soucie Consulting; Karl Havard from pownum; Jim Sterne from Web Analytics Association; Axel Schultze from Xeesm; Rick Mans from Capgemini; and Guy Stephens from Foviance.
Section ONE: Where Social Media meets Customer Life Stages (current section)
Section TWO: Social Media and Research & Development
Section THREE: Social Media and Branding/Public Relations
Section FOUR: Social Media and Marketing
Section FIVE: Social Media and Sales
Section SIX: Social Media and Operations
Section SEVEN: Social Media and Customer Service
Section EIGHT: Integrating Social Media with Total Customer Experience
Section NINE: Managing Your Brand and Social Media with One System
* “Global Credit Card Customer Experience Research,” CustomerThink Corp. (U.S.) and Global CEM (Global Customer Experience Management Organization), July 2009.
** “Global Mobile Communications Customer Experience Research,” CustomerThink Corp. (U.S.) and Global CEM (Global Customer Experience Management Organization), April~May 2009.
*** “Global City Visiting Experience Research,” CustomerThink Corp. (U.S.) and Global CEM (Global Customer Experience Management Organization), December 2009~January 2010.
**** “Global B2B Purchase Experience (IT Solution) Research,” CustomerThink Corp. (U.S.) and Global CEM (Global Customer Experience Management Organization), February 2008.