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Can You Tweet Fast Enough?

In-store tweeting of negative experiences gives a chance to turn a customer around – but only if you’re quick enough.

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Next week we'll be at Retail Bulletin's Customer Loyalty Conference. This article was originally posted on Retail Bulletin

Convenience and price are no longer competitive angles. Almost anything can be bought online at a cheap price and delivered next day. The general consensus is that for the high street to compete, amazing service combined with great in-person experience and enjoyment is essential. Net-A-Porter engaged consumers with a series of augmented reality shopping events, allowing window-shoppers to scan product images to buy.  Tesco has experimented with shopping walls in Korea, allowing consumers to make purchases from subway walls. The invention even made it into London’s Design Museum.

But although eye catching innovations like these can pull customers into stores, the less glamorous world of customer service is a crucial cog to keep them there – and keep them coming back. It’s not something that should be relegated to an after-thought, but an integral part for plans to digitalise the retail experience and permeate shoppers’ consumption of mobile and social media.

Customers are now regularly sharing their experiences in social, and encouraging in-store mobile interactivity will only accelerate this trend. This amplifies the affect of positive or negative experiences by sharing them to a much wider audience. But although negative experiences are more likely to be shared, this also gives an amazing opportunity for retailers to reach out to customers – whilst they’re at the point of purchase.

In a recent survey, we found that 20% of consumers have mentioned a company on a social media site whilst they’re still in store. And we’ve seen great examples of how companies can use this opportunity to turn an in-store experience around. In one example, a customer in a Marks & Spencer store tweeted that the queues were too long. The M&S social team called the store manager to get more people on the checkout, and told the customer publicly over Twitter, who was overjoyed. They went from an unhappy customer, potentially about to walk out, to a purchase – and real time insight into the current store. Tesco also have many cases on their Twitter feed of reaching out to customers who are Tweeting with problems whilst in-store; in one example we saw a customer tweeted when they couldn’t connect to the WiFi in a Tesco café. Tesco’s Twitter team intervened to provide technical support in real time – the customer didn’t even have to leave their seat.

In this situation an almost instant response is the only thing that can make any difference to your customer’s experience. Waiting even ten minutes can mean the difference between a purchase or not. To do this at scale, tracking the potentially hundreds of thousands of mentions your brand may be receiving every month, requires a team of real customer service agents who are able to actually resolve issues and help customers, responding directly over social channels. Many companies, like M&S and Tesco, have jumped on this, and as a result are providing a better in-store experience and turning customers around every day. If you’re company hasn’t, you could be losing customers right now. Are you quick enough?

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