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Strategies from Synthesio For the Stages of Your Customer’s Journey

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Greg Roth, Vice President of Global Marketing at Synthesio shares ways that businesses can immediately put the data they collect through Social Listening into action.

“A talk doesn’t seem like the best customer experience,” Synthesio‘s VP of Global Marketing Greg Roth acknowledged at the top of his talk. What followed was an interactive and insightful session that explored the peaks and valleys of the customer journey—and how brands can use social media to optimize this journey for their stakeholder.

Although Roth expressed discomfort with the term journey to define the customer experience—”that’s what Frodo did to Mordor, it’s not how customers buy socks”—he did manage to tie solid examples of social listening to ways people take journeys: planes, trains, and…cruise ships. Through it all, Roth connected his attendees (and occasional participants) to what he calls a “virtuous circle of discovery and measurement.”

Determine Your Draw Through Discovery

Roth’s example of discovery is a relatively common moment: the unboxing of an iPhone. “When I buy a new iPhone, unboxing it is part of the customer experience.” It’s special. And that moment does have a connection to this first stage of the customer journey. He and his team have found that airlines are a particularly good example of this.

Frequent travelers have made a ritual not just of their journeys, but of the experience of doing so. The seats they sit in, their view of the wing, or even the carpets they cross as they reach their gates. And yet Roth was open about his own dislike of the experience, asking, “How does someone not freak out on every flight?” Social listening can find consumers having either experience and speak to them accordingly if needed. You can thank someone for their positive assessment, or help mitigate the effects of a negative one. Doing so properly can raise a social reputation score—a strength of Southwest Airlines—and doing so poorly can lower said score.

Engage with the Customer Experience

The next stage of the journey, after discovery, is deciding to do something with the accounts and anecdotes that you find. Although Roth explained much of his session’s content through the lenses of commercial aviation, mass train travel, and cruise lines, he did also cite an industry that has repeatedly refused to act on what social listening has shown them: telecommunications and cable. He recounted the story a cable company who used social listening to determine common words used in reference to them on social media. The top one was…colorful (“not fudge”). And yet, they did nothing. Didn’t engage, didn’t attempt to correct. They just wanted to know.

Committing to engaging while on your journey maximizes your ability to best serve your customers. It’s a huge gift for brands to have, as Roth put it, “every bit of the buying experience […] shared online.” The findings might surprise you—in good ways or bad—but it serves you poorly to ignore them. What’s more, because complaints don’t get counted like other social impressions, your reputation could be tanking without you noticing. Discovering in varied ways, and acting based on what you see, read, and hear, is essential to brand health.

Commit to Conversion

Roth aimed to frame his session around six places to learn in the social listening experience. Two of those points of education, customer feedback and sentiment and resonant or engaging content, are especially ripe for strengthening bonds between brands and customers. In speaking about Tri-State Commuter Transit, focusing in particular on Jersey Transit, the most common insights (measured by “volume”) were of the following variety: “How about a little friendliness? How about a little cleanliness? How about a little reliability?” In large part, these are fixable things on the part of Jersey Transit. They may not have much impact on the days where weather delays or derailment dominate the conversation, but they make the day-to-day easier—and show a responsiveness that stakeholders appreciate.

While Roth cited dream examples like airports better suited to let customers walk around and stretch before flying, Southwest offering select deals on Groupon, or even intercoms on trains that allowed announcements to be broadcast more clearly, this advice can apply to any brand or entity wanting to be responsive. Use the intelligence you gather to power your actions; be better than the cable companies!

Over Everything, Optimize

Roth voiced this sentiment simply and elegantly: “See what people are passionate about, see what they’re negative about, and leverage it accordingly.” He offered several ways to create processes that simplify this. Among them: monitoring your brand as well as competitor brands for signs of both crisis and health, segmenting audience conversations based on internal KPIs (not external metrics or from a desire to keep up with the Joneses), and listening for impact. Repeat this process regularly.

Ultimately, the virtuous circle of discovery and measurement is designed to keep brands attentive to the status of their social reputations. What Roth at one point calls “the invisible customer experience,” is less and less invisible all the time as customers chronicle their journeys on social. The most responsive brands will be rewarded for their diligence. So, as Roth puts it: make your efforts inspiring, authentic, and agile to best serve the people your brand attracts.

Global brands use the Synthesio Social Intelligence Suite to measure the impact of online conversations against their business goals.

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