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There has been much discussion about social media and the power it has as a voice of the customer platform. Stories are plentiful on companies that did not manage social media well and ended up with a storm of negative social media posts. These can readily show up in mainstream media, adding even more force to the negative wave of information. Therefore, it seems logical that social media would be considered as a component of voice of the customer metrics.
Voice of the customer (VOC) as a metric is not new, with organizations having VOC initiatives for many years. However, the advent of social media and other integrated online media has provided customers with a more powerful voice. Most voice of the customer programs capture information through surveys, focus groups, interviews and even ethnographic techniques, most of which do not encompass the power of social media. When considering the culture of today’s customers, it seems logical to include social media as a part of the voice of the customer program.
Unfortunately, this is not our present reality. According to The CMO Survey®’s most recent study, corporations intend to spend more time growing their social media presence in spite of the fact that it is not integrated as part of an overall marketing strategy – much less a customer experience strategy.
According to the survey, the following social media metrics are given the most importance:
Metrics are shifting toward referrals, texting and Net Promoter scores and away from direct financial impact. Most interesting is the customer voice is not considered outside “buzz indicators.” While this could be construed as reputation management, simply searching for web site mentions will not capture the voice of the customer in every social media transaction.
Voice Metrics vs. Voice of the Customer
The increase in tracking voice metrics as an important impact of social media shows those marketers who participated in The CMO Survey believe that awareness and exposure will build brand loyalty and drive purchases. They think that voice metrics are leading indicators for company growth. However, to align social media with voice of the customer initiatives requires an increase in text analysis. While The CMO Survey reports that only 8.5% of companies are using text metrics, there was still immense growth in usage overall with a 28.8% increase over the last two plus years. This trend is more in line with understanding how to capture the voice of the customer via social media.
Text analysis provides what customers are actually saying about the product or service, providing more in-depth information that is important to understanding what customers are saying. Aligning these with existing, successful voice of the customer metrics provides a means to create actionable insights to then drive customer experience strategies.
Customers will continue to use social media to promote and demote brands based on experiences. This happens quickly, often in a moment driven by emotion, making social media a platform that must be reckoned with, particularly from a VOC perspective. While aligning these programs is still in the infancy stage, making it a priority will provide better insights and create strong programs in the future.