3 Ways to Use Social Media To Gauge Your Customer Feedback Program

Social media easy as 1-2-3

 

Customer feedback programs can be an incredibly useful tool to help businesses maintain a strong customer experience. But, if it’s not used properly, then you’re not getting the information you need & you may not realize that.

In the past, gauging the effectiveness of a customer feedback program was more difficult; can you be sure you’re asking the right questions, getting feedback on what’s important to shoppers? It was a lot of trial & error, and looking for trends in open ended responses.

Now, social media is here, and there are some easy ways to make this more manageable.

If you are not monitoring social media, and by this I mean social media that is outside of your company run social sites, you probably should as soon as possible.

Why?

Well, for starters, you’re missing an entire conversation about your brand, products, and services. But, also important is the fact that there’s an entire segment of uncensored, unstructured feedback that is waiting out there that you can use to your benefit. You can take this data as use it as another piece of the customer feedback program and you can also use it to gauge the success of your traditional feedback survey. Are you asking the right questions? Are the scores you receive relevant and reflective of general customer satisfaction across the board? These are all questions that can be answered.
Below are three tips on how to use social media data to your advantage as it relates to your feedback program:

Use social media as a supplementary feedback channel. The more data you can get, the better. Using social media conversations is inexpensive and provides a wide range of feedback. What’s great about it is the fact that it’s people talking to other people rather than responding to a feedback survey. Why is this great? Simply put, people tend to be more open with their thoughts when talking with friends vs directly to the company. Additionally, if people are responding to a feedback survey, they are focused on providing feedback specific to the questions you’re asking. In social media, it’s more of a free range of thought, so you’re likely to get feedback about aspects of the experience that are not captured on a feedback survey.

You can monitor social media in a few different ways; one is to make use of the monitoring features in your marketing platform. These days, most have an incoming monitoring component. Another option is to make use of a social media management service – this is a more high level approach, but one that can give you deeper content collection along with a variety of analytical reports to make sense of the conversations that are happening online.

 

Compare unstructured feedback sentiment to your current program. Sentiment can be tricky in social media, as most programs are still using a basic sentiment analysis. As more and more turn to natural language processing, sentiment values will be more accurate. However, even with a basic sentiment analysis, manual analysis can be done. This is a benefit of using a social media management service – sentiment is manually set to ensure that the results are accurate.

Take a look at your positive/neutral/negative ratio of comments in social media and compare to your feedback program results. Are they similar? If not, you may want to look at what you’re asking for feedback about. If, for example, your feedback scores are high/positive while social media shows more negative commentary, take a look at why that may be happening – are you not asking the right questions (ie social conversations show dissatisfaction with a particular aspect of your ordering process yet you don’t ask questions on your feedback survey about this), or are results of your feedback program not as accurate based on who you’re sending the survey to? Or, are people being incentivized a certain way, maybe for providing good feedback, so what they’re providing in terms of feedback is more positive than it might be if they were not incentivized? If the results vary between feedback and social media, some reflection may be needed.

 

Find out if you’re asking the right questions & getting the right feedback to be successful. Similar to the point above, use social media data to find out what pains your customers; are they expressing dissatisfaction in an area that you’re not asking about in a feedback survey?

One example may be a restaurant. In monitoring social media, they may find that customers are saying the wait times in the drive thru are too long, but your feedback survey isn’t asking customers about their wait. This may be a good opportunity to incorporate a relevant question and collect some data from customers at the point of sale to see if there in fact may be a bigger issue at stake.

By looking for themes within your social monitoring program, you can find out what customers really like (and dislike) and enhance your feedback survey to capture the most relevant data possible.

 

Both traditional feedback and social media monitoring are valuable channels for customer communication and satisfaction monitoring, and using both to complement each other will not only help your brand grow and strengthen its customer experience, but it will also provide you with ways to really listen to your customers and show that you are invested in them.

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Walmart Uses Google and Uber in Walmart-Amazon War

 

 

 

I find this Walmart-Amazon war fascinating; if you’ve read this blog, you may have read an earlier post on how Walmart and Amazon continue to try to one up each other in the fight for becoming the world’s retail giant.

It looks like Walmart is responding to Amazon’s latest purchase of Whole Foods and indicating that they will lower prices in an attempt to “change the face of grocery shopping.”

They are planning to partner with two big name companies, namely Google and Uber, to expand their service offerings.

First, they are testing grocery delivery via Uber in Denver and Orlando currently to see if this could be a new offering. In the past, Walmart has tried various other options, including considering the use of their own employees and, more interestingly, their own customers (this one never saw the light of day of course).

More interestingly, they are also partnering with Google to provide streamlined online shopping. The first step will begin in September when Walmart’s items are available for purchase via Google Express. In the long term, they are hoping to be able to offer online purchasing through Google Assistant or Google Home, similar to Amazon Echo.

The moves are interesting. On one hand, Walmart could be starting a new phase with their delivery – Ubereats turned UberMart or UberRetail perhaps – or they could not be successful at either of these new ventures and be seen worldwide as the ones who continue to chase Amazon and never really catch up.

Walmart is a retail giant, no doubt, but I believe Amazon is still the stronger of the two. However, Walmart definitely has its sights set on Amazon and seem to be working quickly to catch up and possibly pass them by.

So it seems the Walmart-Amazon war continues, and for now Walmart seems to be making headway. We’ll keep an eye on these new developments and wait for the next move in this retail game of chess.

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Why Monitor A Problem If You Don’t Fix It?

 

Every time I see a LifeLock commercial, I think about our mystery shopping and customer feedback programs. There is one line that stands out:

“I’m not a security guard. I’m a security monitor. I only notify people if there’s a robbery…”

And their tag line: Why monitor a problem if you’re not going to fix it?

Sometimes companies will start a mystery shopping or customer feedback program with the best of intentions – they are excited about designing a program that will monitor and measure the customer experience, either from an operational or subjective perspective.

And then the first results come in, and key staff read every word, share with their employees, and wait expectantly for the next one. Then the program runs for a while, and…

Now what?

There have been times when a client’s program seems to take a turn – all of a sudden the overall performance scores are lower, or a particular location seems to have consistent complaints of slow service, incorrect orders, or some other issue. If it’s not improving, it’s time to figure out why.

There have been times where clients will admit they realize there’s an issue but haven’t directly addressed it for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they’re understaffed, or not sure how to handle the issue, or, they’re not really doing much with the data they’re getting. In that case, they are a lot like the security monitor noted above – they are alerted to an issue, but are not actively doing anything about it.

Below are some examples of ways customer experience data may not be used effectively, and some ways to overcome these challenges.

 

“Oh, we use the data. Every time a low score comes in the staff get in big trouble.” When I hear this, I want to cry a little. This is the absolute WORST way to deal with lower than anticipated performance on a mystery shop, especially if you are only focusing on the weaker performing evaluations. A consistent pattern of low performance signals something to dive deeper into for sure. By consistently using analytical reporting portals, you will be able to identify these areas for improvement and action. By only singling out the poor scores, you are setting staff up for failure. You are also setting the tone that any customer experience measurement is “the enemy” and this will leave a staff that has no interest in hearing the feedback or wanting to improve.

Instead, take a different approach: instead of calling out the staff for a poor score, celebrate the good ones. Call out the staff for the best shops or surveys in month’s period. For the weaker evaluations, compile enough data to pinpoint the issue(s) and create an action plan to make it better.

 

“We are supposed to have meetings on a monthly basis to discuss the data, but business has gotten really busy lately, so…” Sometimes it takes a village, but often there could be one point person who is solely responsible for aggregating the data from all customer measurement programs and provide regular reporting to key staff.

It is important to have regular meetings to discuss company wide issues as time allows, but that doesn’t mean nothing should be done in the meantime. Assign a point person who is responsible for distributing individual evaluations or feedback surveys, but also for looking at the back end analytics and providing key metric reports so that managers have a place to work from to make improvements.

 

“I know District Manager A is on top of the program for his/her stores. I asked District Manager B about the program, and he/she said they may have seen some shops come in but hasn’t really looked closely.” When staff are not on board with a program, they may tend to not take it as seriously. The fact is, whether you like it or not, the program will go on, so you may as well make use of it. If you are in a position to oversee District Managers, for example, talk with them on a regular basis and give them some guidance on how to best use the data. Remind key staff that it’s less about the individual results and more about the aggregated data across all programs. Show them how they can make improvements in customer experience that will directly affect customer experience, increased sales, and better overall performance for their stores.

 

“I saw the surveys coming in last night and noticed that several customers were requesting contact. Sounds like it was a bad night.” Yikes. Thanks to technology, managers can be alerted to issues in almost real time, and sometimes taking quick action can alleviate an issue from snowballing into something bigger. I recall a customer feedback program in which text alerts would be sent if a customer requested contact from a manager. One evening, the alerts were coming in fairly quickly in quick succession. On closer inspection, the majority were for one location, and, in reading through the surveys, it appeared that the restaurant’s drive thru was experiencing a wait long enough to cause customers to leave mid-line and in the restaurant, the dining area was not maintained and significantly slow service was being reported.

In this instance, in a perfect world, a manager could do a quick check in with the store as the feedback is coming in to see what quick fixes can be put into place. Then, as soon as possible following the shift, talk with the store manager in future detail to learn more about the issue and create an action plan to ensure it doesn’t happen again or, if it does happen again, what to do to resolve it as quickly as possible.

 

Data is valuable, and not using it can be detrimental. Hindsight is 20/20; don’t be the one to look back and think, “If only we had paid attention to the data coming in….” Take advantage of your monitoring programs and act when needed – your customers will thank you.

 

 

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