01.10.20186 min read

What Customers Expect and What They Actually Get: Closing the Gap in Customer Experience

Almost five years ago, JD Powers found that 67 percent of American consumers use a company’s social media pages and profiles for customer services. In the years since 2013, social media has continued to lead the way in closing the gap between marketing and customer service.

A modern business shouldn’t have a marketing department down the hall from a customer service department. Thanks to the demands of modern consumers, marketing essentially boils down to customer experiences. And customer experiences don’t always live up to the expectations set by marketing.

Social media and customer service

Consider the modern customer. He is reading reviews and doing some price comparisons. He’s using his device in the store and wants information now. The customer might have questions before committing to your product. Or he might run into trouble after buying it and type up a complaint.

At this point, you have one hour.

Fifty-three percent of customers expect you to engage with them via Twitter in less than one hour. Did that customer leave a very public complaint? Seventy-two percent of frustrated customers are waiting anxiously for a reply in less than 60 minutes.

If the customer asks you a question via Twitter or Facebook and you ignore it or take too long to answer, you’ve disappointed that customer and potentially lost a sale. Unfortunately, you’ve also disappointed all of your other followers who are keeping a close eye on your level of customer service as they consider repeat buys and recommendations.

Customer service matters. Bad customer service is currently costing American businesses up to $41 billion every year, but social media can help close that gap.

The key is not just closely monitoring social media, but aligning your marketing so that customers know what to expect and have confidence that you will make good on delivery.

Closing the gap between marketing and customers experiences

The only way to know what your customers want is to ask them. You don’t need focus groups and long-term studies (although those are viable options). There are ways to start gathering data and making improvements immediately.

Combine marketing and customer service

Many departments operate independently, and some in silos. Have your marketing and customer service work together more closely, to get all on the same page. Promises from marketing should match customer experience or there may be a disconnect that can cause churn.

Monitor social media channels

Only 3 percent of tweets about your business will include a “@yourbusiness” tag. That means 97 percent of the posts would-be and current customers are making about you and your product aren’t going to show up on your social media accounts. Additionally, you have customers waiting for answers in less than an hour—do you have someone poised to respond when necessary?

Solicit customer reviews

Using review management software you can get almost 100 percent of customers to tell you about their experiences in the months following a sale. Who better to tell you about any customer service gaps in your promises and delivery than the customers?

RELATED ARTICLE:

5 Ways to Turn Bad Reviews into Great Customer Service

A bad review online doesn't always have to be a bad thing. Learn how to turn a bad...

A/B testing

You likely did some split testing as you were building your website initially, but you have continued your testing as your company has grown? Customers don’t have to fill out a survey or share their thoughts via social media to tell you what they like. Sometimes it’s as simple as clicking on the blue button instead of the red one.

RELATED ARTICLE:

7 Reasons Why Your A/B Split Tests Aren’t Working

Writing your copy is only the first step in successful lead conversion. Learn how to...

In a study by Bain consulting, it states that about 80 percent of companies believe they provide superior customer service, but when they spoke to customers, it was found that a mere 8 percent agreed. With such an enormous disconnect, many businesses should take heed, but also see the potential. Customer experience might be the new battlefield for companies, with some experts seeing it as a key competitive differentiator and acquisition strategy.

Bridging the divide

Technology has many benefits, but sometimes too much of a good thing can have adverse effects. While you can utilize Facebook messenger chatbots or make use of Twitter customer satisfaction data to acquire real-time feedback, there are some instances where tech isn’t always the answer. In a recent study by Accenture, it was found that 83 percent of consumers prefer dealing with humans via digital channels for solving customer services issues or to get advice.

There’s lots of hype about AI being the future of customer service, and chatbots offer enormous potential to handle monotonous work and easy questions, but it’s important to leave the door open for keeping it human. While more 70 percent of consumers say they want the ability to solve customer service issues on their own, mostly through automated or self-service options, about 86 percent expect chatbots to always offer an option to transfer to a live person. Technology can help, but should not replace people.

RELATED ARTICLE:

How AI is Helping Small Businesses Beat the Competition

AI is not some distant concept out of a sci-fi movie. It's happening and it's a...

Realizing the customer is in control is now part of the battle, and engagement, where they flock, is part of monitoring and managing the experience. Whether that’s social media like Facebook or online review sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor, customer service is now 24/7 and the consumer calls much of the shots.

A cross-functional collaboration of marketing and customer service is an opportunity to deliver on promises, improve retention, and even turn customers into advocates. But it will require monitoring and listening to social media and reviews, not just managing the process. Companies that get it will be more likely to transform. Grasping that customer service is instrumental to brand experience can shift some customers into advocates, when the customer journey delivers and aligns with brand promises put forth from marketing. In the end, it’s experience-focused value propositions tailored to and meeting expectations that can earn customer referrals, along with trust.

Repeating History: Small Business Strategies for Earning Repeat Sales and Customer Loyalty - Download Now
Was this post helpful?
Newsletter
Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Infusionsoft cornerstone spinner
close button
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter!

5 Reasons to Subscribe:

1. Weekly tips to dominate sales and marketing

At our core, we're focused on helping you become a sales and marketing machine. We tap into the genius of the best salesfolks and marketers out there to give you daily tips to grow your leads, make more sales, and keep more customers.

2. Expert small business resources that cost you zero dollars

Want to go deep? We have you covered with free guides, webinars, and tools on a range of topics from marketing automation, CRM, and digital marketing to building sales and marketing strategies from the ground up. All for free. All for you.

3. We're focused 100 percent on small business success

We exist for one reason: helping small businesses succeed. We give you the ideas and insights you need to blow the competition out of the water. We serve business owners who are hungry to put in the hard work to grow their business and own the market.

4. We do the work for you

Running a small business is a 110 percent endeavor. You don't have time to surf Internet for the best small business insights and ideas out there. We'll do that for you with the best original content from our team and from industry experts and small business owners.

5. But wait, there's more!

Small business success means more than just sales and marketing, so we also hit on a range of topics to help your small business thrive, including personal and business growth, customer service, and business management.

6. Righteous GIFs

OK, we said five reasons, but we like to overdeliver...and GIFs. We really like GIFs. You're bound to see some righteous ones.

GIF of Ferris Bueler principal's assistant

P.S. We'll never give out your information. We'll only use it to send you awesome content and resources, if you're cool with that.