January 26, 2016

BUILD LOYALTY IN CYBERSPACE

ENGAGING CUSTOMERS THROUGH THEIR PREFERRED CHANNELS CAN SPARK AND STRENGTHEN RELATIONSHIPS WITH BRANDS.

In cyberspace, every interaction can be broadcast to a person’s friends and contacts, which influences their views. In fact, losing a loyal customer who “unfollows” a brand on social media can have a ripple effect since about 10% of those who unfollow will tell their friends to do the same, and approximately 10% post a status update reflecting the change, according to Adweek SocialTimes.

“One influential person can have a bad experience and share it with their following, wreaking havoc on a brand,” says John Lovett, senior partner at Analytics Demystified, a consulting firm.

“In today’s world, complete strangers who took just moments to review a product or service can have more sway than millions of marketing dollars spent on advertising.”
—John Lovett, senior partner at Analytics Demystified

NEW PARADIGM FOR INFLUENCE

As social media becomes fully integrated into daily life, organizations must engage customers through all available channels, including websites, online videos, mobile apps and digital signage. This engagement, across the mediums people are already using, helps build and maintain brand loyalty at a time when customers are more likely than ever to switch brands.

“Service has extended beyond the call centers and physical stores to the Web and social media,” Lovett points out. “Companies at the forefront of this shift are spending time and money to train their employees on social media and to deliver experiences that exceed expectations.”

Negative online reviews, meanwhile, can wreak havoc on loyalty. “The power of choice is stronger than ever and brands no longer wield the influence they once did,” Lovett explains. “In today’s world, complete strangers who took just moments to review a product or service can have more sway than millions of marketing dollars spent on advertising.”

PUT SOCIAL MEDIA INSIGHTS TO WORK

Key insights obtained from social media sources, including Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, YouTube and similar services, can be used to better understand customer motivations, preferences and opinions of specific products. Companies can leverage these insights to deliver a positive experience. The information can also be used to identify problems with products or customer service, highlight new uses for products or point toward trends that could prompt organizations to add new features.

John Edwards has covered the technology industry for more than two decades. (teradatamagazine.com)