Understanding what your customers are saying about your products on social media and maintaining a great reputation are critical elements of supply chain management.
A recent article on the EBN website discusses the dustup that occurred with Apple after news broke early last year about the conditions at Foxconn, one of its Chinese suppliers. In addition to reports of poor working conditions, Apple’s image also suffered after rejecting a shipment from Foxconn for quality reasons. Apple and Foxconn have since shifted their supply chain strategy to clean up their respective images.
Most company executives won’t ever find themselves in a large, politically sensitive situation such as the Apple-Foxconn fiasco, but the lesson still applies to organizations of all sizes: It’s important to listen to your customers and address their concerns promptly.
Many organizations need to be using social listening tools like SAP Cloud for Social Engagement to monitor what’s being said about their company and products online. It’s important that such tools are fully integrated into an organization’s ERP system. That way, once they’re tuned in, companies can then gather this customer information and react to it. If they’re alerted to negative feedback on a new item, they can quickly act to address those concerns. They can also use positive feedback to stock up on popular items that may be riding a wave of popularity.
Social listening tools also can play an important role in supply chain management strategies. Organizations can identify issues that are important to their consumers, such as sustainability and being green. They can promote the corrective actions they take – such as purchasing carbon offset credits – on social media sites and start a conversation to engage their customers.
According to an article from The Guardian, 58 percent of customers that share their bad experience on Twitter aren’t contacted by the company. Conversely, when companies engage with their customers online, they not only gain a loyal buyer, they also get an advocate. These engaged customers will promote your products and services to their own network.
“More than 70 percent of customers will spend more with a company because of a history of good service. That’s where the real upside potential is for companies. And it’s why customer engagement is set to overtake productivity as the primary driver of profitable growth,” according to the article.
With the right social listening tools, like SAP Cloud for Social Engagement, companies can not only quickly address any issues but also create their own league of advocates. This social engagement will add true value to their bottom line.
Source: EBN, June 2013