Monthly Archives: June 2008

Is Facebook a viable venue for hearing your customer’s voices?

I’ve just read a posting regarding Visa’s new Facebook application for connecting small businesses and how they are offering their customers $100 free credits.

The application homepage says “Connect with other small business owners, learn ways to manage your business more efficiently, and grow by reaching the millions of potential customers on Facebook.”

This follows three fairly slick Facebook applications TravelBag from American Airlines.

How many more large commercial entities are going to begin using Facebook as a platform for their customers? If you think about the amount of text that is written into Facebook via pages and messages, what sort of mine of information will be possible for hearing your customers’ voices?

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Search for Customer Opinions in Blogs

As you think about mining conversations on Social Media you might be interested in what Twingly has to offer…

Just launched today Twingly.com now covers over 30 million blogs all over the world but we focus on being number one in Europe, both regarding spam control and working with several different languages. It incorporates the following functionality

  • Spam free search
  • Social search. The users enhance the search results by voting on posts they like. Bloggers enhance the search results by linking to posts they like
  • Subscribe to search results by RSS and alerts via email
  • Language functionality: Translation of search results and filtering based on language
  • Twingly widget platform. Parts of Twingly.com can be incorporated into blogs
  • Hot Right Now. Overview on hot topics in the blogosphere
  • User directed development through a tech plan open for voting.

Measuring Employee and Customer Loyalty

In this discussion, Dr. Gary Rhoads, PhD (Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) Guru) goes into the important details of managing and measuring customer feedback and loyalty. With examples and data he shows how an organization must watch many feedback indicators (and not just Net Promoter for instance) and then link them to business metrics such as profitability and stock price.

Part 1 – after a fairly long introduction, the real meat starts after about 6 minutes. #1 rule for measuring customer / employee satisfaction is to have multiple metrics and correlate them in your own organization with profitability and performance. How loyal are your customers? Do they see you as best in class? Are they passionate about what you do? Do they intend to buy more from you? Will they promote you within their network? Which tools should you be using? The most cost effective tools that will get you the information is Gary’s answer.

Part 2 – how do we measure, should it be a general random sampling or should it be granular examining in detail where customers have a problem and drilling that back to a process or employee. This determines on your objectives, whether it is Product Management or developing frontline employee training programs. Many organizations measure quantitative data and ignore the qualitative – Gary’s advice is to ALWAYS MEASURE THE QUALITATIVE DATA. He gives valuable advice on classifying the tens of thousands of verbatims, bucketize them and then analyze that in detail and determine the frequency of responses in each area, trend those and understand the top 5 responses you are getting . Do this without burning out your employees and having them wade through all of the verbatims.

It is all very well creating measurement, but the real question is what do you do with all of that data? Most CEOs will complain about having all of this data and not doing anything with it.

Descriptive Statistics: For example, we will have some response data on the question: “I trust the financial advice given by XXX organization”. The organization looks at the mean level score and acts – reacting blindly to descriptive statistics can be a huge mistake. You need to do a deeper analysis by looking at why customers are saying what they are saying. In the example above, a low score for institution XXX, may be indicative of consumers not trusting the entire banking industry.

When we look at measures, we need to study which are the leading and which are the lagging indicators? Observing the correlations between the indicator and the performance measure. E.g. Hours spent on employee training is a leading indicator of customer satisfaction (the lagging indicator. Increasing the employee training hours may have a positive effect on repeat purchase.

Part 3 – We should be measuring leading and lagging indicators are regular and frequent intervals. The trick is also to have the right lagging indicators. Percent change in sales or profitability are better lagging indicators than absolute sales or profitability values as the change reflects how effective management actions have been.

Employee loyalty and satisfaction will also have effects on customer loyalty and satisfaction and ultimately profitability. He terms this as linking soft data to hard data. We need to learn what internal things in our organization affect our business performance. (This is balanced scorecard theory). Roades concludes by saying how business and investment decisions will be driven by looking how pulling internal levers effects the external performance measures.

Madison Avenue has “poked” Silicon Valley, and Silicon Valley needs to poke back.

Seth Goldstein says in his recent post “Large corporations are mobilizing to respond to the change. Procter and Gamble now has an internal group called “The P&G Social Media Lab” that we, among a number of social media startups are a part of. GroupM, which is WPP’s online media organization, spends more than $4 billion of online display advertising. This number is going up not going down, as even within a recession marketers are shifting their budgets online.”  Check it out.