Listening to customers and measuring improvements

We’ve just had an interesting client workshop and I thought the process might be of interest to other companies that are wrestling with where to begin when it comes to how to roll out social media channels.

A good place to start is to talk to those people in your company who are the first point of contact for customers and ask them for the top 10 pain points for their customers. Often this may be an information need that is not well served on your website or it might be something that is misleading or it may be customers are looking for an answer to a frequently asked question that has not been posted on your website.

The next step is to brainstorm how to fix this customer issue using social media. It could be that you have an opportunity to use Twitter as an extension to your call centre to offer more of a 24 hour concierge service and this has been used by BT, Dell and Hyatt to good effect. Alternatively it could be that you can post updates on Facebook on daily matters such as the weather, a new service or product launch or latest events or situations which may be of importance to your customers. Some companies like Alton Towers have been using special offers and vouchers as a way of building their fan base to over 225,000 on Facebook and players like Disney have been posting interactive video tools which are then encouraging customers to share their Facebook profiles with Disney which then gives the company a deeper understanding of their fan base.

Social media is a fantastic channel for encouraging word of mouth marketing amongst those customers who enjoy your product and/or service. However it’s clear that they are unlikely to want to be spoon fed instructions as to how they should spread the word and it’s best not to be overly directive as to how they do this.

Measuring the impact of social media channels on your business is very important and is key to getting buy in from those controlling the budgets. For this reason having a benchmark against which to measure future performance is critical.

Key benchmarks and measurement of social media channels can be as follows:

  1. Understanding the current level of advocacy by measuring % of customers recommending your company to their friends and family and tracking future changes after rolling out your social media channels
  2. Making sure you ask customers how they heard about your company and adding your social media channels to the list of options
  3. Looking at current response times to customer enquiries and looking at how social media channels can reduce this, thus improving levels of customer service
  4. Use of social media channels to improve crisis management situations
  5. Reductions in the cost to serve if social media can divert and reduce the volume of FAQs coming into the call centre
  6. Setting targets for the number of fans and followers you wish to attract and tracking all click through traffic from your social media channels to your website and any subsequent purchases using cookies so they can be attributed to the correct channel
  7. Measuring current average transaction values and look at how additional product and service information and guidance on social media channels could help to increase average transaction values
  8. Imagine social media channels as a training channel for your first time customers who may need and value help from other more experienced customers which can help to build lifetime value and repeat purchase
  9. If your product or service is especially complex your frequent customers may know all the ways to save time and effort during the buying process thus improving the customer satisfaction of your newer customers
  10. Sometimes you will find that your frequent customers are much more knowledgeable about your product than your call centre staff and will be more trusted aswell so their involvement in the buying process builds customer confidence and trust in your company which you may also wish to measure.

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