Microblogging an important message to businesses
Increasingly businesses are finding it imperative to stay on top of advances in the digital world if they are to keep one step ahead of their competition.
The Social Media explosion has created a whole new marketing platform which is much more immediate and capable of reaching far more customers in just seconds.
Microblogging is one of a range of new social media tools companies can utilise to communicate with their customers, partners and staff, and ultimately translate into some tangible business results.
Mike Saunders, Chief Executive Officer, of digital marketing agency Digitlab, said more and more businesses across South Africa, the continent and the globe are engaging with social media networks.
He said: “What businesses are starting to realise is that people don’t live just a virtual life or a physical life it is a combination of them both and so if you want to successfully communicate, lead, guide or manage people you need to be able to connect with them both in the digital and physical space.
“Businesses need to learn how to be successful in the digital world and we are seeing more and more businesses getting involved, particularly larger companies in South Africa which are managing their social media strategies internally and committing resources to allow them to do it correctly.”
Digitlab is a Durban-based, 20-employee strong agency which provides marketing solutions for companies in South Africa, Nigeria, and London, New York, France and has interested companies in Australia.
With massive rise of Twitter, microblogging is proving an efficient and beneficial way for companies to do a wide range of marketing strategies from growing its brand’s awareness to helping it boost its customer service.
Saunders explained that quite simply microblogging is similar to blogging but uses short phrases to get a message across. Consequently, Twitter is the ultimate microblogging platform and what a person would do on the site is the same for a business.
Saunders said: “There are some other platforms that sit around microblogging such as Facebook. These short succinct conversational pieces allow businesses to talk to the consumer by giving them bite sized pieces of information or updates on their brand or services.”
Companies that have taken the microblogging route have found it invaluable for supporting customers and improving on the service they can offer to them.
Talk to customers
Saunders used South Africa’s leading retail giant Pick ‘N’ Pay as an example. He said: “They listened to their consumers talking about them on Twitter and if there was something negative said immediately worked to rectify the situation with that customer.”
To start a microblogging campaign, however, it is not enough just to make the odd tweet when someone on the staff remembers to.
Companies need to devise a social media strategy which will take account what sort of image it wants to present to the world, what sort of content should be posted and the frequency of postings.
“Once a company reaches this stage of where they strategically want to go with this tool it is a good idea to get consultants in this space because they can show what is possible and design a strategy around that,” explained Saunders.
“An agency can act as a catalyst within the organisation and help it to create value. However, over time most businesses would look to manage the strategy in-house and begin developing and executing skills within the organisation to manage it.”
What it does
Ascertaining value from running a digital social media campaign is still largely under debate, but Saunders explained that there are certain metrics that can be determined.
He said: “We can measure the volume of how people are talking about a company and then measure the sentiment within the conversation which becomes a very real metric. What needs to be focused on is the idea of what it does for us as opposed to saying what is worth to us.”
There is no doubt in Saunders’ mind that businesses who are not jumping on the social media bandwagon will get left behind as the advances in technology continue to accelerate.
“In the future to be successful in the digital world there are four main things to be thinking about,” he said: “Mobile, social, data and IoT (the Internet of things).
“The big thing to remember about all of these four things are that they are interlinked and you can’t just focus on one.”
Re-defining the economics of CX in the new customer journey
There’s no shortage of customer service channels for the enterprise to select from today. Regardless of the many new metrics that have emerged – such as customer success, or empathy – cost reduction is still a primary driver in selection criteria.
There are many articles dedicated to how companies can turn customer service and customer experience (CX) from a cost to a revenue centre. The problem is, if you stop there and don’t look beyond cost reduction, you’re limiting the scope for CX to become an even bigger economic contributor in the enterprise.
There is every opportunity for customer service and CX to significantly influence the front end of business, particularly amongst direct-to-consumer subscription-based products and services, such as popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, as well as sports subscription services like DAZN.
In these products and services and others, there are new customer journeys that may drive business growth and revenue. They start earlier and may last a lifetime, so getting things right at the start of the journey is key so that customers have the best experience from day one.
Not only will this help in making customers less likely to reach out for issues-based support further down the line, but these customers will be much less likely to churn, and much more likely to take up new services as they are offered throughout the lifetime journey.
So, what does the new customer journey look like for these services?
Opportunity waiting for the likes of Netflix & Disney
While consumers may have previously regarded customer service as a way to mitigate the inconveniences in their lives, the customer journey is expanding in scope every day. Today there are many more touchpoints available that put CX in a position to drive revenue.
For one-off purchases, traditional CX deployments have not changed significantly in the past few years. However, if you look at the change in the CX relationships we’re seeing with subscription-based products and services, particularly media-based streaming services, it’s clear that these companies lead what quickly become very multifaceted relationships with their customers. These have serious potential to evolve over time for increased economic benefit.
For any sort of subscription-based business, customer lifetime value is paramount, and the requirement to actively manage a continued positive customer experience is critical.
Every interaction is an opportunity, and every data point is a chance to offer more value. Introductory offers can convert to longtime customers. Longtime customers may take up opportunities to upgrade to more premium products or services. They may also appreciate incentives to invite family and friends to become customers. Consumers who like a particular service, for example, may appreciate a recommendation for another similar or complimentary service.
It all starts with customer interaction, and the customer experience journey becomes an opportunity to strategically affect the user base and resulting revenue - which is a far cry from the limitations of call center cost reduction or churn metrics.
How do companies support the new customer journey?
More and more, customers look at the new customer journey as engaging with brands as part of their lifestyles. Many companies are making brand ambassadors available before the traditional customer journey even starts, which is a marked change from a purely transactional relationship associated with a one-off purchase.
These ambassadors, who are often independent users of products or services, are providing trusted pre-sales advice, and that same trusted advice can also function to nurture the customer journey in a subscription-based relationship. Call it ‘GigCX’ or ‘crowdsourced customer service’ or even ‘peer-to-peer customer service’ - it doesn’t matter.
The key is in providing impartial, trusted advice from real users. Think about it: who would you rather get advice from? Someone who has used a product or service extensively, or someone who has been trained to provide customer service surrounding that product or service?
For services such as streaming media, advice from trusted experts with real product know-how could be invaluable. This may not be limited to technical issues, such as what to do when you can’t access your favourite show, or how to access services across various devices. It could be parents helping other parents who are concerned about how to restrict adult content from child viewers, or simply customers who have similar taste in programming who can comment on the benefits of upgraded or premium products. The point is, these experts are easily available at any touchpoint in the customer lifetime journey, creating more chances to add value.
It’s also about tipping customers from ‘passive’ to ‘promoter’ in the NPS scale. It’s an opportunity to turn neutral customers who may be vulnerable to competitive offerings into loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and referring others, fuelling growth. It may ultimately help drive even further revenue by creating customers that are helping to sell the brand itself.
And, while chatbots and automation may play a key role, they are often not able to handle the more complex support needed in the new customer journey. Conversational AI is rarely as conversational as it claims to be, and in the new customer journey, most companies are finding that a mix of automation and people-centric service is an ideal way to nurture the many new touchpoints created.
It’s no longer about trying to replace human capital with automation: it’s about orchestrating a uniquely personalised CX, and proactively engaging during the customer lifecycle to enhance the experience, and to create more long-term value.
At the moment, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the power to affect the economics introduced by the new customer journey. We’ll no doubt see this evolve rapidly particularly amongst streaming companies as they use human-centric connections in CX to support the full potential of customer lifetime value.
About Roger Beadle
Roger Beadle is an entrepreneur and business leader who is reinventing how customer service is delivered via the gig economy. After establishing several businesses in the contact centre industry, Roger co-founded Limitless with Megan Neale in 2016. Limitless is a gig-economy platform that addresses some of the biggest challenges faced by the contact center industry: low pay, high attrition and access to new talent. Previously, Roger and Megan helped to build one of the largest privately-owned outsourced contact center business in Europe, before selling the business to the global conglomerate Hinduja Group. Roger is an outspoken proponent of digital ethics, worker’s rights and the ‘good-gig:’ which encapsulates gig work for incremental pay versus full time work, skilled gig work, no unpaid time/downtime and zero expenses.
Named a Rising Star at Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program, Limitless is a gig customer service platform, combining crowdsourcing and AI to help global businesses address their biggest customer service challenges – rising costs, increasing attrition, variability in demand and the need for diversity. Brands like Microsoft, Unilever, Daily Mail Group and Postmates are using Limitless’ SmartCrowdTM technology to connect with their most engaged customers, and reward them for providing on-demand customer service that can flex in line with demand. Limitless is one of the world’s first global tech platforms to introduce localised platform terms to protect the rights of its gigging workers. Backed by AlbionVC, Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures, Limitless is empowering people worldwide to earn money for providing brilliant customer service for the brands they love.