May 19, 2020

Social Media: Word of mouth on digital steroids

Social Media
Erik Qualman
Bizclik Editor
3 min
Social Media: Word of mouth on digital steroids

Social media has taken the world by storm. Facebook consistently achieves the largest amount of weekly traffic in the US; one in every eight couples married in the US met via social networking portals and incredibly social media has overtaken pornography as the number one activity on the internet.

Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics and prominent commentator on social media, says: “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media; the question is how well we do it.” And this comment is put in perspective when one considers that if Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world; its influence is incomprehensible.

Social media is no longer dominated by teenagers but is rather the hub of social commerce, utilised by millions of people every day. Global companies have embraced the social media phenomenon, recognising the scope and demographic of customers they can reach relatively cheaply, easily and perhaps most importantly, instantly.

“Whether you are in politics, whether you are selling products or concepts, whether you are raising money for charity, social media allows you to get your word out into the public domain,” says Qualman. “It is like word-of-mouth on digital steroids; word-of-mouth becomes world-of-mouth. Social media has developed faster than anybody could have ever imagined. It is a really exciting time.”

In 2009, Jon and Tracy Morter ‘raged’ war against Simon Cowell by assembling a ‘ragetribe’ on Facebook to relegate the bookies favourite - X Factor winner, poor and unsuspecting Joe McElderry - to Christmas No. 2 by encouraging all 557,074 members to download Rage Against the Machine’s, Killing in the Name, demonstrating the global impact one man and his Facebook page can have.

Extending social media to the developing world

The potential impact social media creates can also be utilised in more productive ways by reaching out to underdeveloped parts of the world. “One thing that is brilliant about social media is the way it opens the barrier of entry into the global spotlight for many small companies,” says Qualman. “If you want to start a business in Africa and you cannot afford a shop or even a website, historically you would have failed at the first hurdle. However, avenues and platforms like Facebook and Twitter enable companies in the developing world to launch their businesses and begin taking transactions for virtually no fee and no entrance costs.”

Another aspect of social media opening the gates for underdeveloped areas of the world, namely Africa, is the new mobile tools available on websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. Large manufacturers have, in the past, faced criticism for high product turnover; however Qualman suggests that such a high rate of product development has made powerful electronic devices more accessible in third world countries.

“The biggest global developments happening at the moment are related to the introduction and development of mobile tools,” he explains. “Ten years ago, developing countries began using mobile phones in favour of landlines as high product turnover meant that recent mobile models were becoming readily available at relatively cheap prices. Advancement in technology is hugely beneficial in developing parts of the world and we are about to see evidence of this once again with the introduction of tablets. As a result, smartphones are going to become relatively inexpensive and more accessible in developing nations. Mobile and social media work hand-in-hand and with the introduction of these phones worldwide, global communication will be driven forward exponentially.”

The introduction of mobile tools is particularly important in this development when one considers how much cheaper mobile smartphones are than computers and laptops. With access to the internet being extended to mobile phones, the impact social media can have is multiplied substantially.

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Jun 12, 2021

Re-defining the economics of CX in the new customer journey

Roger Beadle, Co-founder & CEO...
6 min
Roger Beadle, CEO of Limitless looks at how CX can directly Influence revenue generation in streaming services

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.

About Limitless
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.

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