Our customer management clients now have a clearer view of where they stand in the social media rankings – and the issues customers are discussing – thanks to a monitoring tool developed in-house.
While some businesses remain nervous of negative sentiment, the potential for social media to spread positive views is huge. It can also help organisations improve their customer journeys and to drive satisfaction.
For example, social media can often reveal problems with customer experience that need to be fixed quickly, faster than the retailer can itself.
But that only works when social media is well monitored. For most retailers, such monitoring goes no further than watching brand promotions and measuring their following and reach.
We wanted to do something different and develop an application that would enable us to monitor social media more in line with the metrics you’d expect in customer management – contact profile, speed of response, reason for contact and associated sentiment.
While standard monitoring approaches might give you an idea of your own performance, they often can’t tell you what your customers know only too well – how you’re doing against the competition.
Instead of just hoping you’re meeting your customers’ expectations, the application our team developed puts you right next to what your competitors are doing. It tells you if you’re in line with them, ahead of the curve, or behind it.
We plot the time of day the customer reaches out with a Tweet, and then we plot the time it takes for them to receive a reply. The application tracks multiple metrics including response times, channel shifts and conversation topics, across a huge range of brands to see who is the best. It also records how sentiment changes during the day in line with the way the brand is reacting.
Most clients have a good idea of whether they are meeting their own SLAs, and generally they do. But when they see where they sit compared to everybody else in their industry, that can be a shock. They may think their SLAs are what the customer wants, expects, or is used to, but then they see their competitors doing it much faster, and that’s quite a wake up call.
Some are just happy to learn they are keeping pace with the competition, but for others who have ambitions to lead their field in customer satisfaction, this tool provides a critical measure of success, and whether and where they need to take action.
Different sectors, different response times
Our team has also developed it to highlight differences across sectors. For example, most major retailers aim to get back to around 70% of customers within 20 minutes, while train companies aim for 80% in five. That’s because if a train journey goes wrong, you need a very quick response if it’s going to be of any use to you. For retail, such a rapid reaction may not be necessary.
Nonetheless, it’s interesting that when we compare industry to industry, we see that the businesses considered sector leaders in overall sentiment are also the ones showing much faster response times than their industry’s average.
From year to year, customers are expecting ever faster social media responses. Meanwhile brands are embracing the fact that if they can’t get back to people quicker, they are going to see more complaints and negative comments as well as additional contact attempts on other available channels.
However, with the right social media monitoring tools, that ‘need for speed’ can also be put to good use for organisations. If a particular process is broken, you will see a very sudden spike in social media, much faster than in other channels. As a retailer, that can tell you something needs fixing urgently. But when it does get fixed, social media can then educate the customer and the public, as well as showing appreciation. ‘Thanks for telling us, it’s rectified now, and everything’s back to normal’.
From an article originally published in Capita Customer management’s Intelligence newsletter.