All of us tend to pay more attention to negative outcomes rather than positive ones. As a result, we focus on preventing negative results rather than channelling energy into positive ones. Customer service is no different as it is primarily human-centric.
In the age of social media where a single person has the power to reach thousands, businesses fear one negative post about their company that can throw their business off their game. Further, social media has made sharing about an experience almost as important, if not more, as the actual experience with the product or service. Customers are interested in posting to garner positive comments from people within their social circle and to share their recommendations.
Companies and customer service rep tend to think it more likely that a negative interaction with a customer will be publicized and a positive one will fly under the radar. However, research says that is not the case.
What the research states
A survey by Yonder Digital Group of 1,000 customers in the UK found that they are more likely to share a positive customer service experience with their friends and family as they are to talk about a negative one. The results were bucketed under two heads of communication channels: word of mouth and social media.
89% of customers stated that they would talk about a good customer service experience with their friends and family whereas only 84% stated that they would talk about a bad customer service experience. With respect to social media, 38% of customers stated that they would post about a good customer service experience on social media versus only 31% stating that they would post about a bad one.
What the results infer
The results fly in the face of popular belief and it is therefore a myth that customers are more given to criticism than praise. This is heartening for many companies and presents opportunities to do more positive rather than expend time and money in preventing the negative. Customers should be acknowledged for promoting positive dialogue about customer service. Companies can rest assured that their efforts to delight customers and deliver a great customer experience do not go unnoticed.
These results also suggest that customers have not become so accustomed to good customer service that they have stopped talking about it. There is, therefore, scope for improving and finding new ways to delight customers and distinguish oneself in the market.
The research shows that social media is leveraged as a tool of communication by the younger generation. However, when it comes to verbal communication of stories, customers of all ages are equally likely to share. Even with the prevalence of social media, the research shows that a greater proportion of customers are engaged in sharing verbally than through social media posts. Businesses can infer that it would be less productive to concentrate too much of their energy on promoting social media sharing.
As the results of the survey flip previous notions about customers on its head, companies must realize that it is a mistake to coast along on notions that have not been tested. Instead, companies would do well to study the market and their theories by obtaining easily available data from customers. Customers are ambassadors for the company and a business should make use of this inexpensive but effective mode of brand advocacy.
Opportunities to talk about great service
Happy customers can be brand advocates in the market for your business. With this research, businesses should consider how they can promote positive sharing by customers. Businesses would be well informed if they undertook a deep dive into customer sharing patterns. The easier it is for a customer to share, the more likely they are to do it. Channels of communication need to be refined so that sharing is easy and fuss-free.
First off, companies need to understand the various communication channels available and being used by customers. Second to this, companies would want to understand the reach of these channels. Word-of-mouth communication may reach several people, whereas social media sharing could reach potentially thousands. Customers should be offered a range of channels to promote positive sharing. Acknowledging customers for positive sharing on these channels is also important. Last of all, companies need to have a mechanism in place to monitor activity on various channels. Companies need to stay on top of what customers are saying and find opportunities to acknowledge and encourage positive sharing. Social listening is the process of finding mentions of your brand online and contributing to these conversations. Social listening tools have been developed for social media.
Ways in which customers can be encouraged to share are testimonials, content sharing, shout-outs, proactively starting conversations, and actively requesting feedback. Retweeting and sharing customer posts by a company on their social media page is also a great way to give customers a boost and make them see that your company takes notice.
Organizations that are aware of customers’ preferences for communication channels and way they are used, are more likely to deliver and achieve great service.