Organizations looking for their customers uncensored opinions increasingly are turning to social media monitoring tools. In addition to gaining a more holistic view of the customer experience, their efforts often uncover micro-trends across their businesses.
According to industry experts like Andrew Kokes, vice president of global product management at Sitel, many companies are leveraging social to gain the most up-to-date and candid view of their customers. As a result, social media monitoring is positioned to produce a more honest snapshot than traditional methods like customer surveys. "In the voice world, you get pockets [of data], so it takes longer to get a clear picture," Kokes says. "In the social world, it's all there and you can pull out trends more quickly."
Finding specific business trends, however, depends on more than just listening to customers' chatter in social platforms. According to Kokes, the level of micro-analysis necessary to find hidden trends happens when companies combine data from the social realm with all other customer interactions across the entire organization.
This means aggregating the information culled from social channels and combining it with context from other customer feedback to map the customer journey and to pinpoint events that lead to specific outcomes. Doing so will uncover underlying trends within an organization. "Much of social data is anonymousso it's about what is it that you can do to avoid having a negative impact," says Dave Stamm, president and CEO of Enkata.
One challenge companies need to solve, however, is how to see the micro-trends early and then establish processes to intervene effectively, Stamm says. "It's about how you connect the dots on the data you've collected on a customer and what do you do to resolve a process issue and individual performance issues," Stamm says.
Samsung Telecommunications America, Samsung Electronics' mobile business unit, for example, began monitoring social channels and blogs last November with the help of Infegy's social media monitoring and analytics platform, and has made a number of product and process improvements as a result.
Carla Saavedra Kochalski, Samsung Telecommunications' digital content manager and social media strategist, says that her team leverages social monitoring to focus on three categories: 1) emerging issues, including problems around customer care and recently launched products, 2) product liability issues, or circumstances that result from emerging issues; and 3) PR crises, which includes monitoring negative commentary that could ultimately affect branding and satisfaction.
A third-party marketing vendor produces reports that summarize the monitoring efforts on a three-day, seven-day, and 30-day basis for Samsung Telecommunications America. The reports identify issues within the organization's three focus areas, even drilling down into specific forum posts to identify product features with which consumers take issue. Kochalski's team disseminates the reports to affected parties like R&D, product planning, and the customer service escalations team to ensure rapid resolution and to deliver quality service to affected consumers.
Although Kochalski declines to give specific details, she adds that the micro-analysis has helped to improve the organization's internal processes in terms of how information and feedback is communicated across the enterprise, and to fine-tune certain product lines. "[Before] we had no view into the social space," she says. "This really has helped us catch things a lot quicker than we could before."
Kochalski says that the organization plans to expand how it uses social monitoring to inform additional areas of the company and it hopes to further collaborate on the insight and feedback that it receives. "It boils down to helping the customer and to improving our products," she says.
Sitel's Kokes believes that more businesses like Samsung Telecommunications America will begin to conduct micro-analysis in social channels. He also expects to see a growing adoption of unified platforms of intelligence that will integrate knowledge from social, the Web, and the contact center.
As a result of that convergence, he foresees adoption of more proactive and intelligent Web engagement where companies will gain the ability to closely watch digital behavior and determine the sequence of events, using business rules to engage customers in response and to improve the overall experience. Kokes says, "We will see a real advancement of agent knowledge anda convergence of channels being handled by a single approach."