What would customer experience be like without social media?

In Customer Experience, Featured on App, Omnichannel, Social media by Kevin Kelly2 Comments

thefarewell, http://www.flickr.com/photos/lanier67/287929208/sizes/l/in/photostream/,loyalty, customer experience, social media, social media impact, customer engagement

In the past couple blog posts I have advocated integration of social media and shopping to create a more dynamic approach to customer loyalty. I argued multiple times that companies must integrate Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. with mobile devices to create a nuanced customer experience.

In a bizarre 3pm twist, I just deactivated my Facebook. Facebook is (was? will I last?) not only a way for me to keep in contact with friends but also a way for me to follow brands that shape my perception and by extension, loyalty to them. For instance, the Dove campaign on body image that I first saw on Facebook, liked, shared and one week later in Duane Reade, bought some Dove face wash. I want to see how and with what results do the brands I follow on Facebook enter into my life without this platform. What happens to the consumers that aren't using these platforms?

This gets me thinking: are we loyal to the platforms that let us experience the brands or the brands themselves? I would say they are deeply interconnected—loyalty towards social media facilitates loyalty to brands that are active and dynamic users of social media (interesting exception is Apple). Don't get me wrong: I don't mind the privacy or security issues (NSA! Run!) so much as the way in which I was curious as to how close social media and loyalty operate near one another.

This is a strange relationship considering that social media is predicated upon instantaneous and fleeting interaction whereas loyalty seeks to construct customer experience for the long run. Apple has a very weak company-directed social media presence yet walk into any lecture hall at a US University and see what technology dominates. How is this reconciled?

So, this may just be the wanderings of a late afternoon but I seriously want something more from brands. I want to be wow-d in the store. I want a human being offering me a soap to try in a storefront rather than see the deal on my computer screen and run across SoHo. I, without shame, will probably never overcome my Amazon Prime addiction but I will try to see how I experience brands outside of social media. Overall, I want to see loyalty come from where it's rooted—experience. And I want that to be a real experience.

More results to come.

SEE ALSO: Top 3 retailers using technology to transform the in-store experience

[PHOTO: flickr lanier67]

Comments

  1. Paras

    Very valid points; however my take is that social media alone cannot be the only source for loyalty. customer experience, as you very rightly mentioned, is the source for loyalty and ‘well-planned’ social media strategy can only supplement or augment that experience. example of apple again is a very good point; in case of apple, the products themselves are the beacons of superior customer experience (however not to forget their extremely attentive and very responsive customer service). Having said that, I believe that ‘well-planned’ social media strategy can act as a great loyalty builder for various product categories on terms of keeping customers informed, updated and engaged.

    1. Kevin

      Paras,

      Thanks for your insight. I agree and you’re spot on about Apple’s commitment to customer service. I think ‘well-planned’ is a great expression as users utilize social media for so many social and non-consumer activities that strategies should be focused and succinct.

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