There's a distinct difference between hearing and listening. While most companies hear what their customers are saying about the brand via social media, very few truly listen to the problems at the core of customer sentiment so they may act upon such feedback to improve experience. Social insight presents companies with an interesting and educational look into how customers interact with and perceive the brands they do business with, yet most companies remain at the starting stages of strategic expansion, juggling data and development in ways they never needed to before. However, for Best Western and LEGO Systems Inc., winners of the 2013 Gartner & 1to1 Media CRM Excellence Awards in the Social and Mobile Engagement category, social media has allowed these popular brands to connect with customers in ways that both boost engagement and strengthen existing relationships.For Best Western, Gold winner, social networks and social review sites allow the hotel chain to explore how customers rate their services and use this feedback to engage and improve. Because 35 percent of travelers admit to changing their hotel reservations after reading online reviews, Best Western has implemented a social listening strategy that allows managers at the chain's 4,200 locations to respond to customer concerns and reviews in real time, while maintaining a consistent brand voice. By monitoring and acknowledging customer feedback via social chatter and reviews, Best Western emphasizes transparency by solving issues through this public platform, while demonstrating the chain's determination to listen to and care for customers as quickly and efficiently as possible.
LEGO Systems Inc., Silver winner, incorporated the brand's playful nature with its social efforts in order to enhance the world of online creativity. Though traditionally known for their interlocking blocks, today's connected world has spawned a new generation of online role-playing and storytelling. Forums allow children to interact and collaborate, but with moderation times averaging 72 hours in 2010, LEGO recognized the need to manage, engage, and moderate the message board community with more efficiency so as to nurture creativity and participation. With its newly formed team in place, "get to times" dropped to eight hours by January 2012, and again to 56 minutes by December 2012, thus contributing to the 62 percent climb in user interaction.
Each company's desire to connect with customers through social channels displays their desire to improve the overall brand experience in a positive, proactive fashion. By listening to what customers are saying via these emerging channels, Best Western and LEGO prove they have the customer's best interest at heart and are willing to take their feedback to heart. To explore these case studies in full, along with this year's other categories and winners, visit the 2013 Gartner & 1to1 Media CRM Excellence Awards website to learn how brands across industries have come to excel in their field and the lessons each experience brings to the table.
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