This post is sponsored by Digimind.
The evolution of the internet, mobile technologies and social media offerings have led to the transformation of the customer’s journey from linear to multifaceted.
As a result, brands must fully understand all possible touch-points to keep an always-on engagement with customers. With so much activity taking place all the time, how can you deliver a consistent and personalised user experience from online to offline? Or monitor consumer attitudes and interactions with your brand?
Fifty nine per cent of consumers in APAC use online channels to compare their options prior to making a purchase. This makes online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, forums, and review sites crucial for reaching and engaging consumers.
Furthermore, frequent usage of these channels by consumers also means you can harvest rich insights from these networks and use them for various customer experience purposes, from mapping out the customer journey to re-calibrating customer experience strategies.
Social listening can help you optimise your customer’s journey by collecting and organising online data, to achieve the following:
- Better understand and target your customers.
- Deliver a personalised user experience.
- Bridge online and offline experiences.
- Enhance customer loyalty by building and nurturing your online community.
1. Better understand and target your customers
The most effective marketing campaigns are well-targeted and relevant to their target audience and their place in the purchase journey. You can use social listening to help you:
- Understand the demographics of target customers.
- Capture real-time insights on consumer conversations from online forums, blogs, and other platforms.
- Create a customer profile, or identify high potential individuals to align your communications and content.
Convincing new and existing customers to make a purchase is key to a company’s success. To do this, it is important to ensure the content you disseminate is accurately targeted according to the purchase stage, or the messages may fall on deaf ears.
For example, those just becoming aware of a brand, or a product or service category will need different information than those ready to purchase. But before you can get them to that point, you need to truly understand your target customers: who they are and what they need from your brand.
Subsequently, using social listening to fine-tune your customer profiles and trend analysis, paves the way for you to understand their needs and expectations, and develop highly targeted campaigns that are relevant to them.
2. Deliver a personalised user experience
Ninety six per cent of marketers agree that personalisation can help advance customer relationships. After all, it’s a great way to make a customer feel valued. At the same time, it also allows you to upsell at the point of purchase.
Online fashion retailers Zalora and ASOS do an excellent job of personalising customer experiences by displaying related products a customer might be interested in at the checkout page.
With the help of a social listening tool, you can better understand your customers’ purchasing habits and tailor experiences around these characteristics by:
- Categorising customers into highly granulated segments.
- Identifying those with the most potential, and understanding their expectations.
But it does not stop at the checkout counter. The probability of selling to an existing customer is around 60% to 70%, compared to a mere 5% to 20% for new prospects. Thus, fostering customer loyalty should be as high a priority for marketers as attracting new customers.
Social listening can also help you determine what existing customers think about your product and brand, and even why some of your old customers are no longer with you.
It can also help you to personalise and adapt post-purchase communications by keeping track of user-generated content from customer reviews and social media posts featuring your brand.
By organising and applying information collected from social listening in strategic ways, you are very likely to see positive results, including enhanced brand loyalty, more word of mouth advertising and better customer relationships.
3. Bridge online and offline experiences
The modern customer expects a 360-degree experience. If you are a clothing brand, a potential buyer should be able to click through your ad or post on Instagram, and easily purchase the outfits shown without having to search for them in your online store. They should also be able to find and try on pieces showcased in your Facebook album, at your retail stores.
According to McKinsey, over half of all customer interactions happen through a multi-event, multi-channel journey. Thus, brands must all the more utilise every touch-point available to create a seamless omni-channel experience, from consideration and research, all the way to purchase.
- Using online channels such as apps can help you deliver personalised experiences that accelerate the path to purchase. For example, the Redmart app displays a list of frequently purchased items so you can easily restock staples in your household.
- Social media exclusive offers such as discount codes are also useful for online to offline activation
Use social listening to fine-tune a customer’s purchase experiences based on insights and feedback, such as:
- Where and how consumers are interacting with your brand.
- Customer reactions to their brand interactions both online and in-store.
4. Enhance customer loyalty by building and nurturing your online community
While businesses typically focus on acquiring new customers, 80% of a company’s future earnings will come from 20% of existing customers, according to statistics from Gartner Group.
It’s a no-brainer; it’s easier to sell to someone who trusts you. Moreover, repeat customers will also spend more with you over time, making them extremely worthwhile to invest in.
One key tactic for improving customer retention is keeping them happy in the post-purchase phase. Social listening can significantly reduce the amount of time required for this and allow you to respond consistently to feedback on your social pages as well as on review sites to show customers that you care.
Furthermore, you can also identify and reward potential brand ambassadors who actively share positive sentiments about your brand, and grow your community further by partnering with other brands and relevant influencers.
The importance of social listening to the customer’s journey
A satisfying and seamless customer experience is, without a doubt, critical to the customer’s journey and loyalty. In order to keep them happy and interested in your product or service before and after the purchase stage, it is important to understand what they expect from you.
Furthermore, with 80% of customers sharing their brand experiences and opinions without tagging a brand on social media, brands cannot afford to miss out on nurturing customer relationships and building on the wealth of information and consumer insights gathered online.
Having a strong social listening tool can help companies keep track of what consumers are saying online to gain a competitive advantage, exceed expectations and retain market share in the long run.