If you are interested in engaging your customers, your listening has to be customer-centric. I know you want to talk about your product and you company. We all want to talk about things that are important to us, but we only engage with people who listen at least as much as they talk.
Many marketers are intrigued with the idea of using Social Media in their go-to-market campaigns for the next product launch. They are disappointed to learn that there is usually not enough customer feedback available at the time of a launch to propel their new product to instant, viral success.
Authentic word of mouth cannot be “manufactured” by marketers when they need it, but can be leveraged very successfully when customers are engaged with their brand/category. Engaging customers is not an event within a campaign, but a long term, customer-centric strategy.
In the words of Brian Solis
The first mile of customer engagement is a post-commerce or post-transaction strategy that invests in an ongoing experience to keep customers happy now and over time. Doing so sparks positive word of mouth and in turn influences decisions the dynamic customer journey that defines the new era of connected consumerism. If in fact getting closer to customers is a key objective, then why do many businessesneglect the first mile of customer experience?”
Every product experience starts with an expectation. The expectation was originally initiated by product announcements, industry analysts interpretations of these announcements, pundits’ reviews and commentary, customers’ word of mouth, and eventually your own experience. When this experience exceeds the original expectation, the Social Customer has a propensity to generate authentic, positive word of mouth online that is read by scores of interested consumers, who view it as the most trusted source of information about your product.
Many companies monitor social media to supplement their Customer Support channels to help resolve specific customer issues. This is surely a part of Customer Experience, but only a part. Multiple and loud accolades to customer support satisfaction may spook potential buyers by making them think that the product quality is low, because it requires so much in terms of support efforts. However, customers’ stories describing why they have purchased the product and whether it met their expectations truly help potential buyers decide if this is a right selection for them.
The goal is to learn from a very large number of customers, in a very short time how they perceive your product and whether it has met their expectations. The techniques employed in the listening process can be used during go-to-market campaigns.