Social media monitoring is like chasing smoke

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Social media monitoring is like chasing smoke

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There’s something so interesting (and addictive) about social media.  It makes even luddites feel tech-savvy; it’s hip and new, and, according to some customer experience experts, anyone who matters is doing it.  And consumers’ social media activities extend well beyond updating their Facebook page or tweeting about their most recent customer service disaster.  Customer service is going social – big time!!  According to Zendesk, 62% of consumers have looked to social media channels for customer service issues.

But before you begin logging onto your company’s Facebook page a dozen times a day to see how many “likes” you have, and endlessly searching tweets containing your company’s name, step away from your keyboard.  Social Media Monitoring is not the place to start your Social Customer Service efforts.  Responding to the noise on social media platforms is like chasing smoke – frustrating, time-consuming and ultimately futile if your aim is to effectively improve the customer experience.  If you take this approach you are incapable of controlling what people put out there in the social sphere about your organization.

Instead, think about taking the inside-out approach.  Social Media Business Intelligence, is so much more sexier than Social Media Monitoring, as it is far more effective in driving long-term service improvements within an organization which ultimately reduces the number of complaints customer voice through all channels, social media included.  The interactions organizations have with their customers are increasing in their complexity.  Where in the past all issues were funneled through the call center, today customers are more likely to address an issue through self-serve.  Failure in that arena leads customers to community chat (filled with an equal mix of knowledgeable gurus and misinformation) and finally the call center.  Dial-to-disconnect speech analytics can help organizations gain insight into these complex interactions and more importantly, their failure points.

CTA-11-steps-to-social-media-success-for-contact-centersEven without such capabilities, organizations must get better at using the terabytes of data they already collect to drive real change.  Business Intelligence is the practice of using Big Data to gain insight and drive change within an organization (for more about Business Intelligence in practice, click here).

While many organizations have entire departments dedicated to analyzing Big Data, the practice can be executed on a smaller scale.  I should know, I executed Business Intelligence successfully in an organization with less than 150 employees.

Think about the most challenging objectives on your plate for 2012, questions you’ve never been able to answer to your satisfaction, even best practices or “common knowledge” that your instincts tell you are all wrong.  These are all questions that can likely be answered by the data you already have.  My very first informal venture into Business Intelligence / Business Analytics increased our company’s hiring efficiency by nearly 30% by (mathematically) identifying the personal and professional traits that made for long-term, successful entry-level employees.

From there, the case that we should be delving deeper into our clients’ big data sets as a way to add value was an easy one to make.  So instead of spending your time trying to manage your business from the outside-in, chasing a few angry tweeters and Facebookers through Social Media Monitoring, spend your time on Social Media BI to deliver value by changing your business from the inside out.  This is how you craft a better experience for all of your customers.

About Jim Rembach

Jim Rembach is a panel expert with the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) and an SVP for Customer Relationship Metrics (CRM). Jim spent many years in contact center operations and leverages this to help others. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence (EQ) practitioner and frequently quoted industry expert. Call Jim at 336-288-8226 if you need help with customer-centric enhancements.

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  • Hi, Carmit:

    Great post! Would love to learn more about the tools you’re using to sift through social data to derive intelligence from online conversations. And, BTW, we totally agree with your description of the difference between monitoring and intelligence – in fact, we wrote a white paper on it about a year ago. Have a look in our library.


    Mark Goren
    Director of Research and Insights