The Web has gone and shattered the way we did business before and a new world order has come into play. The customer is more important than ever and meaningful connect is the key to building relationships and furthering business.“Customer engagement is no longer a series of one-off experiences — it’s an ongoing dialogue”, writes Wendy Lea on Inc.com.
One brand that has taken Wendy’s words and gone to town with it is Spotify.
Their fans are legion. Their customers are forever sharing their joy with the rest of the world on social media, begetting the brand more fans. So, let’s break it down and see how we can learn some vital lessons on community engagement from Spotify and apply it to our own businesses.
Build a community around your product
We all have made mixtapes in our misspent youth. Curated a collection of sappy numbers and gifted them to our girlfriends / boyfriends. Spotify has taken that simple idea and made it into an endearing product. A community that transcends platforms is the cornerstone of Spotify’s success – across Twitter, blogs and message boards, they engage with their customers to maximum effect. What’s more, they do it in their own signature style.[pullquote]They have taken the mundane and transported it to extraordinary lengths by doing two basic things: thinking out of the box and playing to their strengths.[/pullquote]
Connect with them, state your requirement and they will send you a playlist tailor-made for you. Not just any random collection of songs but one that speaks to you, personally. Are you stuck indoors, doing boring DIY? Here’s a playlist for that! Having a baby? Here’s one for that too! If you are just chilling, doing nothing more than staring at the ceiling and you want some tunes, well connect with them and they will make a playlist for you.
There’s a playlist tailor-made for you for any reason you can think of and all you have to do to get it is to get in touch with the Spotify team on Twitter. And they come up with doozies like this:
Mind = blown, as far as the customer is concerned! Spotify team’s brainwave is to link up the names of the songs on the list to the situation at hand. That their customer service team does this in tandem with the amazing power of Twitter has resulted in a deluge of smiles across cyberspace. They have taken the mundane and transported it to extraordinary lengths by doing two basic things: playing to their strengths and thinking out of the box.
Respond to your customer’s reactions ASAP
It is said that a customer makes his or her mind in three minutes or less. Speed is the name of the game today and no one has time any more to hang around and wait for reactions. So a brand that can respond to its customers’ concerns in a short span of time scores big.
And Spotify scores big.
Case in point: A customer tweeted that he didn’t know how to use Spotify, newly arrived in his country. Spotify did not respond with a set of instructions on how to use it, but with a custom-made playlist. With the names of the song delivering a message!
Scott Stratten (Twitter handle @unmarketing) was excited that Spotify was now available in his country but he really didn’t know how to use the service. Within a few hours of his first tweet, a Spotify ‘rock star’ had responded with a playlist created just for Scott. The names of the songs put together spelled out the special message:
The first tweet went out at 6.31 AM and the response, at 8:16 PM. In around 14 hours, the service responded to a customer, with a whole collection of songs created just for him. [pullquote]a brand that can respond to its customers’ concerns in a short duration scores big.[/pullquote]
Make your most loyal customers into your brand evangelists (or rock stars)
This is an oft-repeated mantra: customers make the best evangelists. Joe Public touting a product is a powerful marketing tool and that doesn’t happen overnight. Today, a happy customer is quite likely to tweet about it so it is even more imperative that you make sure he is on your side.
Typically, Spotify has embraced this by going a few steps further than anybody else. A Spotify consumer that knows his way around the product really well is invited to become a Rockstar. He then helps other members of the Spotify community with their playlists, talks about music and spreads the Spotify love. In its own words, “the Rockstar program has been created to recognise awesome contributors”. In one stroke, Spotify recognises and rewards its users’ loyalty and furthers this loyalty by roping them into becoming a part of the Spotify family. Genius!
How boring is it to have just a single track of conversation going back and forth between you and your consumer? Won’t it be fun if you could jazz it up a bit, add more people and get some great conversation going? Won’t that drive your engagement factor up a few dozen notches?
Like Spotify did when it announced the collaborative playlists. Doesn’t it take you back to the times you sat around with your gang and put together a mixed tape for a party? Or a road trip? Where you had one everyone suggested and the result turned out to be a hodge-podge of tastes but all-round fun.
What this high level of interaction with consumers both current and prospective does is it keeps the brand in the forefront of the public’s imagination. It also takes away the monotony out of receiving and sending correspondence with a customer. When we aren’t waiting for something to go wrong before getting in touch with a customer, we take negative emotions off the table. This adds a new tone, a new flavour to our customer engagement programme.
Engage with your customer when everything is just peachy. When you add a new feature. Because it is football season. Because it is Election Night, Mother’s Day, Fire Sale day. Or just because…. because they are whom you designed your product for. Isn’t that the best reason of all?
As Customer Service expert Shep Hyken says, ‘Social media (is) emerging as a preferred tool for engagement, specifically for customer service’. The quicker brands learn to master this and engage better with their customers, the better their products will fare. Spotify have done just that, harnessing the power of the various social media platform. Though this, with every step, Spotify reiterate that their product is all about having fun. And they go to great lengths to keep it so.
And that’s how you continually rock customer engagement.