Listening to Your Customers through Social Media
In July, I moderated a panel of thought leaders in market research to ponder the question: “How Will Social Media Change Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty (CS&L) Research?” The event was sponsored by the American Marketing Association, and included participants from GfK, Maritz, MARC, SAS, Market Tools, and Versta Research.
A partial transcript of our panel’s deliberations was just published in the October 2010 issue of Marketing News, the AMA’s monthly magazine. Here is a quick summary of key points highlighted in the article:
- There is no “one” social media, but many channels with different users, objectives, and purposes for which customers post their comments. Data need to be interpreted within the context of the channel from which that data comes.
- Most social media is used for listening and interacting with customers as part of a customer service and customer relations effort, rather than for research per se. But whatever its purpose, social media can offer rich data for mining insights, which can inform a well-rounded CS&L research effort.
- Social media channels are unlikely to replace traditional modes of CS&L research, especially survey-based research using carefully drawn samples.
- Triangulating data from social media with findings from other sources, including survey research, in-bound call data, purchase history, and so on, can help pinpoint the most critical customer satisfaction issues that a company needs to address.
- Social media data can help pinpoint the range and meaning of issues that need to be explored with traditional quantitative research.
- Social media can be mined for quotes and richness to provide a deeper and more compelling understanding of quantitative data.
One fascinating topic we discussed that was not covered in the article was the potential for network analysis informing CS&L research. In my view, this is where a seismic shift in how we do research will happen. Not everyone agreed. In fact, the final question I posed to the panel was whether they see a seismic shift happening in CS&L research as a result of social media. Here is my tally of the answers:
- Yes it will create a seismic shift – 2 votes
- No it will not create a seismic shift – 1 vote
- Maybe not seismic, but definitely some shake-ups – 2 votes
- Too soon to tell – 1 vote
Feel free to contact us at Versta Research if you would like us to send you a copy of the published article. And of course give us a call if you need to discuss your CS&L research needs, including how to integrate new technologies and data streams into your analysis.
—Joe Hopper, Ph.D.