How to Take Your Customer Feedback Program to the Next Level with Social Media

Justin Schuster
Posted: 11/28/2010

We didn’t need the popularity of the movie The Social Network to tell us how ingrained social media has become in our culture. Use of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and others is continuing to grow exponentially. A recent study by Strativity Group showed that nearly 70 percent of consumers spend at least an hour a week engaged with social media.

Chances are your target audience is online, using social media outlets to express their thoughts, complaints and praise about the companies they interact with and the products they use.

These conversations are rich with insights. Most companies realize they should be taking strides to understand what this informal feedback can reveal about customers, and recognize that social media can also provide a great forum to communicate with and help customers.

But social media is inherently messy –public, unsolicited and unpredictable – which creates a challenge with collecting, analyzing and taking action on social media feedback. A lot of businesses are still struggling with questions about the best ways to gather relevant social media data, what to do with the information they receive through these channels, and how to effectively respond to feedback.

The three tips below will help your company better understand how to enhance and improve your customer feedback program using social media:

1. Integrate social media into established customer feedback programs:

Most companies today have ways to collect customer feedback and use it to measure customer satisfaction. By including social media feedback as part of a formal Voice of the Customer (VOC) program, companies can create a more complete assessment of customers’ satisfaction.

A comprehensive enterprise feedback management (EFM) solution will allow you to gather and integrate social media data in conjunction with standard survey-based feedback programs. You will be able to look at solicited and unsolicited feedback side-by-side, to provide your business with a morecomplete picture of your customer.

2. Combine traditional surveys and social media feedback:

Traditional surveys are designed from a business point of view, intended to collect feedback on specific issues and customer touchpoints, or to gauge overall satisfaction on a company’s own terms. Social media turns the table and gives customers a platform to provide their opinion in their own way.

By using the trends and topics that your customers are discussing online to fine-tune survey questions, you can better address the issues that concern them the most. For instance, if customers are generating social media buzz about a new product design, you can use your feedback survey program to dig deeper and understand the exact nature of their concerns – then determine your next course of action accordingly.

3. Make it a dialogue, not a monologue:

Social media allows you to tap into a two-way channel to truly engage with customers, address their concerns and resolve their complaints. By conducting a dialogue with customers using the social media channels that they are familiar with, your company can reinforce the message that you take their feedback seriously.

You can also use social media to address negative conversations before they start to spiral. Combined with your response to customer input via traditional feedback programs, your engagement efforts can spark an increase in customer satisfaction scores as customers recognize your responsiveness.

By tapping into the social media communications channels that more and more customers are using everyday, you can boost the power of a traditional customer feedback program – and gain the insights you need to improve the customer experience and increase customer satisfaction scores.

The right combination of social media feedback and survey feedback will give you the best perspective for uncovering what matters most to your customers.

Justin Schuster
Posted: 11/28/2010

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