Enhancing Customer Experience Top Priority for Social Media Programs

A recent report by Altimeter, a Prophet company, found business social media teams have shifted focus in the last year to integrating social media efforts into broader internal digital programs.

For the first time since the inaugural study in 2011, customer experience replaced brand health as the top social business objective.

A total of 82 percent of survey respondents identified customer experience as “very important” or “somewhat important.”

For half of those surveyed, collaborating with customers on new products or services on social media is a priority. The idea of using social media as a platform to feel out potential innovations has grown significantly over the past two years – just 14 percent of respondents named it as a priority in 2014.

In addition, social teams are feeling good about the role of social in business – 77 percent agree there is a strong business case for investment in social media initiatives.

From a global perspective, TenCent’s WeChat is highlighted as an example of a social media “mega-app” that provides a seamless customer experience. The multifunctional app is widely used in China for messaging, news, sharing content, and mobile payment. The combination of social and commerce features into a single app has provided a platform for companies to create an integrated customer experience.

“The global discussion and narrative has been around app fatigue – that people have way too many apps on their smartphone. They don’t want to be bounced off from one app or one website to another to complete a set of services,” said Alan Lau, a senior partner at McKinsey told researchers. “In China, it’s the opposite. You can get a lot of stuff done on WeChat or Alipay.”

The study’s authors do not anticipate WeChat will become a dominating global presence, like it is in China, but do believe businesses may be able to create a similar seamless customer experience with Facebook and broad adoption of its Open Graph APIs.

The Altimeter study included input from 18 brands, vendors, and thought leaders and 523 survey respondents.

Companies Are Investing More in WeChat

Earlier this year, the “2016 WeChat Impact Report” found WeChat had more than 700 million monthly active users and more than half (61 percent) are opening the app 10 or more times each day. More than half a million (560,000) business have official WeChat accounts.

Investment in the platform is growing as well; more than 64 percent of the operators invested in their own public accounts, up from 53 percent last year.

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