How Sonos built a personalized product launch strategy

A dedicated fanbase looking for answers

Electronics company Sonos wanted to connect to its audience and show appreciation for its dedicated fans. Many customers turned to social to ask when Sonos speakers would integrate Amazon Alexa.

Once Sonos was ready to launch their voice capability, the social team saw an opportunity to personally respond on social to customers who had asked about this functionality.

The challenge

Sonos’ dedicated fanbase frequently reaches out via social to ask about new products and features.

The brand needed a better way to respond to these inquiries and connect with their fans. That’s when the social team, led by global social media manager Rachel Lawton, and the Digital Customer Care team, led by John Milton, saw an opportunity to create personalized, social interactions with loyal fans. Over a year ago, customers started to ask when Sonos would launch speakers with an Amazon Alexa integration. The Sonos social team quickly responded to say it would be coming soon, but they didn’t have concrete information to offer. When the brand was ready to release the Alexa-powered Sonos One in October 2017, they knew they had the opportunity to make an impact. As part of the social strategy for this product launch, they contacted the customers who had already expressed interest in the product and made them the first ones to know about the launch. “We thought it would be a great opportunity to circle back with all of those people, really show that we’re listening to our customers and fans, and have those personal one-to-one interactions,” says Rachel. Sonos just needed the right technology to help make it happen.

The Solution

Breaking down silos across the organization

Sprinklr enables seamless communication between the social and customer care teams at Sonos. They can now easily work together to respond to fans in real-time and develop a unified view of each customer.

“The biggest impact that Sprinklr has had on our ways of working is bridging gaps between other parts of the organization,” Rachel says. “We help customer care achieve their KPIs – and they help us achieve our KPIs – through the use of Sprinklr.” The social team also uses Sprinklr to collect, filter, and sort all inbound inquiries. They can then funnel relevant inquiries to the product team, who can use those insights to improve their offerings and build new features – all directly informed by customers’ needs and interests.

With Sprinklr’s Social Listening, Sonos built a list of listening queries to find people who had asked about Alexa integration on Twitter and Facebook within the past year. The team set up social listening queries including “Alexa,” “Sonos,” and “Voice on Sonos with Alexa integration.”

Sprinklr’s integration between the listening engine and our monitoring dashboards allowed our team to easily identify people who would be excited to learn about the launch of voice on Sonos and reach out to them with a personalized message when the time came to share the news.

Identifying and engaging 200 customers across social media
As a result, they collected over 200 social posts asking for this specific product — that’s 200 opportunities to engage, surprise, and delight dedicated customers. They then identified social influencers within the list, and reached out to them to help spread the word.

Along with publishing proactive messages, the Sonos care team also had to respond to hundreds of real-time questions about the new Sonos One and app redesign. The planner, organized workflows, and publishing tools allowed them to simultaneously execute both operations — one reactive and one proactive.

“By leveraging Sprinklr, we were able to see the exact volume of inbound messages from similar launches in the past,” Rachel says. “We were able to benchmark against those launches and make sure that we had all of the responses ready to go and on deck.”

Sonos’ social team planned potential responses to real-time questions ahead of time, and the care team handled the social listening and physical responding. “Sprinklr’s integration between the listening engine and our monitoring dashboards allowed our team to easily identify people who would be excited to learn about the launch of voice on Sonos and reach out to them with a personalized message when the time came to share the news,” explains John. “People were delighted that we took the time to dig up old posts, and what seemed like magic from outside was a snap for us to put together behind the scenes.”

Improving sentiment through personalized interaction
After Sonos delivered seamless, personalized customer experiences using Social Listening and community care, the response was overwhelming. “It was immediately clear that people really value personalization,” Rachel says. “When you post things on the internet, it’s easy to feel like those posts go into the abyss — especially when you’re interacting with a brand. To have someone respond over six months later is pretty incredible.”

People didn’t just thank Sonos for responding, either. They also committed to purchasing the new product: 6% of respondents either said “I just purchased” or “I’m going to purchase now.” “The sentiment was the most important metric,” Rachel said. “Closing that loop with our fanbase and creating that relationship was the top KPI for us.”

Building a more personalized product launch strategy
The response campaign was so successful that the team now uses this strategy whenever they launch a product that customers previously requested. They even codenamed the approach internally, and continue to integrate it into their social strategy.

“This program has become a core tactic of our top-tier initiatives,” Rachel says. “It’s now woven into our culture. Even people outside of the social team will ask if we’re doing it as part of a launch.”

For example, Sonos recently launched a new app update.

After it went live, social users vocalized a few issues, and Sonos was ready to listen, respond, and alert the product team. “Sprinklr played a critical role in filtering through that conversation and bubbling up the key themes,” Rachel says. “As a result, in our recent software release, we addressed many of those concerns and fixed issues that our customers had been frustrated with.” The social and care teams then followed up with the customers to say that they listened to their feedback and made the necessary adjustments in the app.

Driving more value from social platforms
Sprinklr has fundamentally changed the way the Sonos team thinks about social as a customer engagement channel. “Brands often think of social as just an outbound publishing channel,” Rachel says. “Sprinklr really enabled us to think about social as an outbound, inbound, and customer relations channel beyond more traditional forms of customer relationship management.”

Less than a year later, after the first response campaign, Sonos is already equipped with a brand new product launch strategy and a range of successful response campaigns under its belt. In fact, when asked what she hopes for the future of the program in 2018, Rachel says her wishes have already been fulfilled. “We really value these campaigns as an opportunity to engage with our consumers. It’s really all about that interpersonal communication and opening up another channel of interaction,” she says. “So yes, I feel like our dreams have already been realized, and now we can continue to develop innovative ways to connect with our fanbase.”