Last week, while presenting to a class of MBA students at Illinois State University, the question of social media brand monitoring came up. A student was struggling with how to get his administration to understand the importance of online monitoring. When I asked what why the administration was against utilizing social media and online monitoring, the answer lined up perfectly with those stated by Jeff Bullas. Reasons like:
- it’s detrimental to employee productivity
- it could damage the company’s reputation
- fear of the unknown
- we already have information overload
- our customers don’t use it
- traditional media is still bigger, we will use social media when it is more mainstream
- no guaranteed results
- we are in B2B and who wants to hear about our boring product on a blog or twitter
- we will lose control of our brand and image
- waiting on ROI (return on investment) with facts and figures
- we are afraid of making a mistake
- unwilling to be transparent
- lack of leadership
- the newness of social media
- terrified of feedback and truth
After a moment of silence, I answered simply, “But those reasons don’t stop the conversations already going about your brand”.
Afterward, I pulled up a slide stating some industry facts about the customer experience, facts like:
- 96% of unhappy customers don’t complain, however 91% of those will simply leave and never come back – 1st Financial Training services
- A dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people. – White House Office of Consumer Affairs
- 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated – McKinsey
- 55% of customers would pay extra to guarantee a better service – Defaqto research
- Price is not the main reason for customer churn, it is actually due to the overall poor quality of customer service – Accenture global customer satisfaction report 2008
- 94% of customers do not want to be transferred to another representative more than once – Mobius Poll 2002
- It costs 6– 7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one – Bain & Company
- 80% of customers prefer to speak with a representative at the weekends – Mobius Poll 2002
- For every customer complaint, there are 26 other unhappy customers who have remained silent – Lee Resource
- 84% of customers are frustrated when a representative does not have immediate access to account information – Mobius Poll 2002
- Customer who rate you 5 on a scale from 1 to 5 are six times more likely to buy from you again, as to if they ‘only’ gave you a score of 4.8. – TeleFaction data research
- It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience – “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner
In the days before the Internet, businesses relied on focus groups and drop-in sales to discover what customers were saying about them. And the conversations the customers were having existed in only in their immediate social groups. With the introduction of the Internet, then blogging, and now social media, those conversations can be broadcast around the world with a single click. And those conversations can be shared with individuals outside your network to the point of going viral, being seen by millions. Every interaction, every experience a customer has with your brand is available for anyone with access to the Internet waiting to be found, to be read, and to be acted upon.
When a customer walks into your store, buys your product, or utilizes your services, they have an expectation of quality. If that expectation is not met, they tell their friends about it. And in today’s high-tech, always-on society, that means they tell their 300+ friends on Facebook, their 600 Twitter followers, their 800 connections on LinkedIn. For example, in 2010, Kevin Smith tweeted the following tweet to his 1.6 million followers:
- Dear @SouthwestAir – I know I’m fat, but was Captain Leysath really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?
- Wanna tell me I’m too wide for the sky? Totally cool. But fair warning, folks: IF YOU LOOK LIKE ME, YOU MAY BE EJECTED FROM @SOUTHWESTAIR.
- Dear @SouthwestAir, I’m on another one of your planes, safely seated & buckled-in again, waiting to be dragged off in front of the normies. (accompanied by a Twitpic, top right)
Chances are that you don’t have a customer that maintains over a million followers, so let’s look at the following example. A few months ago, my dog started not eating and quickly became lethargic. Not having a pet since we moved back into the community a number of years before, I needed to find a veterinarian. So what did I do? I popped open my laptop and fired up Facebook. With one simple post, I received multiple positive recommendations for four local veterinarians and warnings about two others in the area. To narrow my decision further, I Googled the four to see what was said about them. From the results that appeared, I selected our new veterinarian and made an appointment. But it didn’t end there. After my dog’s visit, I immediately went back to Facebook and thanked all of my friends for the recommendation and told them that Eastland Animal Hospital had some of the best veterinarians in Bloomington-Normal.
Satisfied customers who get their issues resolved tell an average of four to six people about their experiences, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs. In short, they become your most influential brand ambassadors.
Share with me your experiences in monitoring your brand through social media below. And watch next week for “Six Simple Steps To Monitor Your Brand”