Customer experience management is going to undergo some serious changes in the coming months, thanks to mobile technology and social media. And I can make a pretty good guess as to what the most important changes will be.
I realize I’m a month behind in making any kinds of predictions for 2012, but I had to wait for all the furor of the typical predictions to wind down before I started. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to predict. There are a lot of disruptions that are entering the customer experience management field, and it’s important that anyone in customer service or mystery shopping be able to take advantage of them. Here are the four that I think will affect the customer experience management field the most.
1. Social media will become important for everyone, not just the early adopters. No matter what business you’re in, you need to be on social media. If not for you, at least so you know what your customers are saying about you. With a 40+% penetration rate of smartphones in the cell phone market, your customers can start sharing their experience — and complaining about or praising your business — while they’re still in it. If you don’t know what’s going on as it happens, how are you going to keep them satisfied?
2. Video mystery shopping will grow. Now that most cell phones come with video cameras, including the flip phones, anyone can be a video mystery shopper, whether they’re hired by a company or they run their own customer service blog. All they have to do is tuck the camera into a shirt pocket with the lens poking out, record the video (as long as you are in a "one-party state"), and put it up on their blog.
3. Review sites will become more important to your customers. One thing social media has done for us is to make finding information easier, as well as learning what our friends think. Not only is Google starting to share search results from your friends with their My World, but sites like Yelp and even Google Maps are starting to collect reviews and recommendations from people, and sharing them about restaurants, stores, and even doctors and dentists. People will start making decisions about whether to visit your restaurant, store, or office, based on what other people say about you. And, more importantly, this information is all available via cell phone.
4. Text-based customer feedback will become more popular. Nearly everyone texts on a cell phone now, so more and more companies — especially restaurants and retail stores — are turning to texting as a way to elicit customer feedback. Just put out table tents with the text feedback number, and customers will give you their feedback before they even leave. Imagine being able to solve a problem while the customer is still there. Not only can you save the relationship, you can even grow future goodwill.
Kimberly Nasief been in the customer experience industry for nearly two decades. She is president & founder of Measure Consumer Perspectives, a global mystery shopping and consumer feedback firm. She is also a wife, mother, Star Wars fan, and geek.