I recently traveled to Phoenix to speak at a conference, and was staying right across from the convention center at the Hyatt Regency. Because I am a crazed social media hound, I had been tweeting about the upcoming conference and mentioned that I was excited to stay at the beautiful Hyatt Regency. I got a very nice reply from their social media team telling me they looked forward to my visit. That was impressive and showed they were paying attention in Twitter town.
I checked in on Foursquare as I was leaving the Denver airport and again as I landed in Phoenix. My foursquare posts also feed to my Twitter account, but it did not say anything about the Hyatt Phoenix, so they would have to have been looking at my Twitter stream to know that I checked in at the airport. When I got into the lobby of the hotel, Kelly at the front desk said, “Welcome Ms Schreck. We knew you were almost here–Hold on, Melissa wanted to come out and meet you!” Melissa came out and said she had been following my posts and wanted to come out and say hello.” Now I was BLOWN AWAY! But sadly, this is where the experience stopped. I was not asked to join them on Facebook, I was not asked to fill out an evaluation on TripAdvisor and I was not sent another peep…or tweet! A definite missed opportunity, since I was WOWed upon arrival.
Social media allows you to extend the customer experience beyond just marketing to people before they purchase. Many organizations compartmentalize their social media management and therefore you might see the sales and marketing teams focusing only on the pre-sale, the PR or communications department focusing on brand awareness and corporate speak, and customer care putting out fires when someone is complaining online. Most won't dare cross those departmental lines.
By connecting with people BEFORE they are your customers, you can learn more about them and their buying habits.
You can build rapport and even get to meet their friends if they share your content. The tech-savvy customer, especially if encouraged to do so, will share their experience DURING the interaction with social-photo apps like Instagram or Facebook and Twitter, or use geo-location apps like Foursquare to tell their friends about you and your great service! Why not send a link with your tweets or Foursquare check-ins that provides tips or other bonus content showing them your appreciation.
Now instead of the usual customer survey that people hate filling out, why not continue the engagement AFTER the purchase or visit by asking for a post on your Facebook reference app, TripAdvisor, or other favorite site? Stay in touch with them and they just might become your best sales force… not to mention the repeat business you are sure to get. Don't let the WOW end at check-in.
Gina and her SocialKNX manage the WOW experience BEFORE, DURING and AFTER for organizations in all kinds of industries including hotels, restaurants, fitness centers, retail stores and more. Let us know if you have any questions for us or if we can help you extend the WOW! Join us on Facebook for tips and tools that will help you use today's technology to build your business and manage your brand. Of course you can always find Gina on Twitter!