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The Autonomous Customer – Supercharged and Super-connected

Welcome to the final blog in a five-part series from Dr Nicola J Millard on her new whitepaper ‘Serving the Social Customer’.  Here she summarises the key findings from her research and paper.

You can download the full whitepaper here

In light of the evolution of the supercharged, superconnected so-called “autonomous customer”, power is often shifting from corporate to customer as they tap into the power of the social and smart technologies available to them. They are often cutting organisations out of the conversation entirely – talking about them behind their back and trusting customer reviews over official content. That in itself can be useful as customers help each other rather than relying on organisations to respond.

Brands are not always welcome on the social dance floor as customers are often not interested in deepening their relationship with corporates on social media. Issues with privacy and spam are rife and “liking” (especially on Facebook) may be more about getting special offers than engaging in meaningful dialogue.

The challenge on social media is to learn how (and if) it is appropriate to dance with customers. Engaging in social media with no intention to create dialogue is probably liable to get organisations a virtual slap in the face – they may just as well stick to broadcast channels.

However, engaging in uncoordinated dialogue, especially if it isn’t linked in to overall channel strategies for customer experience is likely to get the same outcome. Not having adequate policies on staff intervening on social can also be a recipe for disaster.

Guest blogger Dr. Nicola Millard

However, social is currently a secondary contact channel rather than a primary – places where customers rant, rave and recommend. Old channels like the phone, email, webchat and branch are still very trusted dance floors. If they fail, then social is often the place where customers go, often in frustration.

The focus should, therefore, not drift away from these traditional channels. Get these channels right and a large proportion of negative social content will not be posted in the first place. Integrating social into the overall customer experience mix ensures that all bases are covered and the strengths and weaknesses of each of these channels can be fully exploited – especially in the event of emergencies.

So seek out your dance floors, figure out how to dance appropriately and in a co-ordinated way and then go and dance!

 

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