After last week’s Valentine’s Day I’d like to reference a poem, Flowers by Wendy Cope. The key line is “You’d come along, and say you’d nearly bought me flowers, but something had gone wrong.” Hold that line.
Customers are better informed, realise the options open to them and are smarter than ever before. Brands are essentially competing on a number of key areas: product quality, price and service, or whatever they need to provide confidence and trust. Those that win through are the ones who retain that level of trust at all times, even when things go wrong. Reacting to customer feedback and engaging with all opportunities and all situations is key.
Nearly engaging or nearly responding to a customer complaint… Nearly in the era of the customer is simply not enough.
The role of unsolicited data in keeping you engaged:
Social media and website reviews are an integral part of the customer feedback loop. With an ‘always on’ capability, they provide brands a wealth of opportunities to engage with customers. Whether it’s promoting a newly launched product, or trying to restore the faith of a disgruntled customer at a one-to-one level, the right communication is crucial, as is immediacy. We all remember last year’s United Airlines social media incident which went viral and wiped close to £1bn off its value in subsequent days. Rest assured competitors will also be more than willing to take advantage of any situation, as seen by Royal Jordanians response to United Airlines, posting ads like… “Drags on our flights are strictly prohibited by passengers and crew”.
Within any organisation, the use of social media, website reviews, and online ratings now provide invaluable insight into customer opinions of your brand’s performance. This information comes with distinct advantages:
1. Shared proactively: Customers willingly post their reviews and impressions. They are not framed by questions you’ve designed, but talk about what is most relevant to them. They interact with each other in an open forum, creating conversations and informing opinion.
2. Freely available to use: Social media and reviews are both open-access sources. You don’t need to setup and fund complex research programmes to gather customer feedback, and therefore you can capture and analyse feedback at a fraction of the cost.
3. Feedback is collected in real-time: These sources provide instant understanding of what customers care about. You can track trends in topic customer conversations, or evaluate the impact of any improvements you make.
Capturing and interpreting this information makes a real difference. Deciphering the value of these data sources can be as simple as a click when using text analytics tools, such as TalkAboutIT. You will be able to unlock the value of unstructured text and understand what customers are talking about, as well as how and why. You will have the tools to guide strategy, offer the ultimate in customer service, react effectively to any problems and ensure you communicate with audiences through targeted messaging.
So, the word nearly in the era of the customer is simply not enough. Being proactive and being engaged at all times is where you need to be.
A hospitality giant operating in the Caribbean wanted to analyse online customer feedback in the highly competitive holiday region. We gathered a rich set of data on both client and competitors through web scraping of social media, ratings and reviews. Using TalkAboutIT, we analysed the data to unlock granular insights on key factors of customer satisfaction, such as restaurant staff, reception, cleanliness, exact location and many others. We created a comprehensive picture of competitive strengths and weaknesses, and provided a list of quick fixes and long term strategic improvements for the hotel managers. With a live feed of comments, the hotel could be firmly in control of customer feedback afterwards and fix issues as they appear.