Sunday, August 5, 2012

Social Media Strategy? Think Customer Experience Management Instead


Social media has been viewed as a monitoring and response mechanism from a customer-service standpoint, an ad medium for marketing, and an engagement channel for PR. It has been insular, focused on growing likes and follows—and through this growth—on building brand awareness.
Some companies have been slow to hop on the social media bandwagon because they’re concerned with ROI in a space they’ve viewed as impossible to predict and hard to measure. Others leapt in head first, trying to tame the beast by treating social media like a traditional media communication channel.
None of these tactics approach the root of social media. They don’t view social media as a part of the overall business ecosystem, and they certainly don’t tie it to business results. Everyone recognizes the importance of brand sentiment on the social web, but nobody knows what it truly means for the bottom line.
This is where a customer experience management (CEM) approach comes into play. And this is where social media finally finds a home. Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures the customer experience through feedback from customer surveys, and it has reliably tied sentiment to business growth, revenue, and profit. It’s become the de facto standard for measurement of the voice of the customer because it ties to real results.
Imagine if social media sentiment could be measured online, assigned an NPS score, and then used to identify areas for strategic business improvements. Imagine if social media could be reliably tied to business goals.
Finally, there’d be a place for social media in the boardroom.
It makes sense.
For years, NPS programs have focused on keeping
 customers by being alerted to (and responsive to) issues raised by detractors and promoters. All of that is monitoring and responding—which customer service people have been doing on social media all this time.

For years, NPS programs have been empowering brand promoters to share their opinions through word of mouth. When marketers ask their fans to like or share a coupon via email or social media, that’s what they’re doing, too. Only with more reach.
That often marks the end of current social media initiatives. But NPS continues…
NPS systems use the data gathered about customer sentiment to generate strategic insights to improve the customer experience and drive business success, with credible linkage to business outcomes that has buy-in from the CEO suite.
This is where social media hasn’t delivered yet. But it can.
Social media can contribute to business growth—if we see it as customer experience management.
By folding social media into a larger CEM program, you begin to strategize. Social media extends beyond just listening and responding. It addresses a larger goal—managing the customer experience. Instead of a social media monitoring tool, social media professionals need a CEM tool that enables them to truly measure their social media activities, with a metric that matters. Then you wouldn’t just react to social media but also analyze it, identify trends, and become proactive and strategic as you address social comments.
Rather than measuring positive and negative sentiment and volume of comments, social media should be measuring promoters and detractors. By re-categorizing sentiment and identifying brand promoters and detractors, you aren’t just soothing your disgruntled customers and patting good customers on the back, but you’re also turning your detractors into promoters through follow up. And most importantly, you are mobilizing your promoters to share your brand with their social media friends and perhaps providing them with coupons and incentives. You’re growing brand promoters—virally.
Through those steps, you’re increasing your social Net Promoter Score… and that leads to profitable growth. You can’t argue with that.
Your social media initiatives already are a form of customer experience management. You just need to look at them that way.

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