How closely are you paying attention to your customers on social media? Here’s a great case study on customer experience from arguably the king of customer experience design and execution: Virgin.
The customer, Adam (@AdamPlaysYT), was riding Virgin Train in the UK when nature called. He took advantage of the facilities the train made available; however, upon the completion of his task he noticed that the onboard lavatory was out of toilet paper. What’s a guy to do in this situation? Tweet for help of course.
Here’s Adam’s tweet:
I suspect Adam turned to Twitter to do what most people do: Bitch about the service they’re receiving and not really excepting a response or, at a minimum, a response that would satisfy. Certainly, no one could reasonably expect that such a Tweet would result in a satisfactory resolution.
Our could it?
Two minutes later, Virgin Trains responds.
A relieved, if not surprised, Adam replies:
And within minutes a crisis was averted:
Using Social Media to Build Better Customer Experiences
This is not a case study in social media. As silly as the situation may be, this case study perfectly showcases the importance of social media as tool to build and maintain excellent customer experiences.
As we’ve often stated on this blog: Social media is a tool, not a strategy.
Too often social media is seen by executives as a “necessary evil” in today’s hyper-connected world. “It’s something we must do because our competition is doing it,” is a statement I’ve heard many times by business leaders when discussing their social media strategy. Others take the approach that social media monitoring is about protecting the brand image. More progressive firms actively build and manage online communities with the hope of generating stronger brand recognition and loyalty, which they hope will eventually lead to increased revenue.
What’s missing in the mix for most businesses planning or executing a social media strategy is the understanding that social media is just a cog in the customer experience engine, albeit a very important cog. Social media is not just a marketing function but a tool that connects the brand to customers, customers to employees, and employees to each other.
Oh, and just to take it to the next level, Virgin Trains staff chose to up the awesomeness of their service by capping off the exchange with a witty final tweet:
No question, Virgin Trains’ focus on customer experiences through social media prevented S&%^ from hitting the fan for this customer (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Is this type of exchange and customer experience, driven by social media, a realistic goal for businesses? Share your thoughts on this exchange in the comments below.
Feed Your Community, Not Your Ego