Is your Hotel or Small business delivering a superior Social Media Experience?

In Are Your Strategic? By Mark W Schaefer share one simple and powerful way to create long term competitive advantage:

Listen to your customers more effectively and respond more rapidly than your competitors.

This is a very simple and effective principle. I have combined this simple principle with three elements to create a Social Media Strategy that combines Social Media and Customer Service trends.

1. Design the right offers and experiences for the right customers
2. Deliver these propositions by focusing the entire Social Media Strategy on them
3. Develop capabilities to please customers again and again

Designing the right offers and experiences

Start dividing customers into segments and designing value propositions for each one. By deliver a truly outstanding customer experience go about designing your small business in a unique way. In defining segments, you look not only at customers’ relative probability but also at their tendency to act as advocates for your company—to sing its praises to friends.

In designing propositions for specific segments, you start focus on the entire customer experience. Start recognize that customers interact with different parts your Hotel and small business across a number of touch points, including purchase, service and support, upgrades, billing, and so on.

This will provide Quality Assurance of your product and small business.

Deliver these propositions

Your most brilliantly designed and insightful customer offerings can be rendered impotent by poor execution.

To ensure effective delivery, you must first create strategies for all areas of your Hotel or small business—from marketing to supply chain management— to deliver their value proposition across the entire customer experience.

Second, you must treat customer interaction as a precious resource.

This will provide Quality Control of your product and small business.

Develop capabilities to please customers again and again

Start utilize tools that emphasize your customers. If you are here to do real business then your customers should be on the top of your Social Media plans.

Promote and encourage customer feedback. Have different strategies in place for the various Social Networks you utilize, and know how to respond. Remember feedback is for innovation and improvement.

Reward your customer advocates.

This will provide Quality Evaluation of your product and small business.

Social Media + Champion Customer Experience = Raving advocates

All of us will at one point experience some form of adversity with a product. This is often the missing link for many businesses. When someone raise a concern about the product several businesses don’t use this as an opportunity to extend the customer experience.

Is your Hotel or Small business prepared for adversity?

Most of the time when we request customer support, this is due to an unexpected event regarding a given product. In many cases the customer has built up some kind of frustration that is caused by events not necessary related with the product. But the customer see it all as related to your product. So then you have to be prepared to WOW this customer. Here is some simple Customer Service ABC (and D, E … T) skills you can adapt;

A Listen – always take time to listen to your customer regarding their issue. Even if they have built up some frustration they will appreciate that you give them the courtesy of listening to what they have to say. And this is a great way to ‘tell’ the customer that you really care about helping them

B Empathize – apologize for the inconvenience the customer are experiencing

C Alternatives – when offering your customers assistance – always offer alternatives when possible – you want your customer to be able to chose what they believe is the best solution for them

D Follow up – this is so underestimated, but what a difference it makes when you give your customer a courtesy follow up. This is where you have a golden opportunity to WOW your customer

E Exceed their expectations – can you deliver that one extra percentage every day – you bet you can!
T Think outside the box – be innovative and creative – be a risk taker

Tip: Make sure you have some kind of adversity database. I use a simple spreadsheet. Fill in info like Date, Name, Incident, Solution and Follow up. This gives you another opportunity in case the customer experience another problem with your product, then you can refer back to previous incident and ask if they was satisfied with solution given then.

Note: If you can’t resolve the problem immediate, then be honest and inform them that you don’t have a immediate solution. And request if it is ok to get back to them. If possible give a time estimate. And during your search for the best solution, then keep your customer updated. Remember to put yourself in your customers shoes. Fifteen minutes to them can seem like forever, but for you it might be going way to fast.

When adversity reoccur..

Sometimes that same problem happens over and over again with a given product.

No matter what time your customer comes back to you with their issue either this is the first time or the hundredth time, you should follow the same steps. NEVER EVER push the problem over to your customer, then they will cut their connection with you as very unhappy customer. And trust me it will take at least ten satisfied customers to make up for one unsatisfied customer.

If there is a third party involved suggest some action steps that involves the customer. Give them some simple check points to follow. And make sure you follow up on this yourself. You want to sort out as many possible sources that might cause the problem, and if you make customer part of the solution make sure you also recognize this.

Just remember when the problem reoccur over and over your customers frustration level increases. Often go one or two steps back, but just twist around on the alternatives. It’s not uncommon that the customer can have misinterpreted your suggestions.

Are you capturing new hip Social Media and Customer Service Trends for your product or service? Or is opportunity just a buzz word?


Mark W. Schaefer is the Executive Director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and has more than 25 years of global sales and marketing experience as well as advanced degrees in business and applied behavioral sciences. You can follow Mark on Twitter or read his daily blog to learn more.