Okay, it's time to break some myths.
We all know digital has become a way of life. Today’s customer is digital and moves fluidly among multiple touchpoints, each with a different path to purchase. They expect, however, to find your brand online at their convenience, when and where they want it (we all check our phones as automatically as we breathe).
They don’t trust your brand and instead will read reviews or go on community boards to learn more about your brand. Social marketing has evolved from brands having a Facebook page where no one really understood how it made sense for business, to the entire marketing strategy revolving around branded on-domain communities and social interactions with customers.
The challenge has been how to measure social marketing’s ROI. While social is captivating and engaging at the end of the day a social marketing campaign has to drive revenue. Or does it?
Senior executives want proof that what you do in social creates impact beyond just a lift in brand reputation. Marketers aren’t convinced. They get excited by things like reputation, likes, clicks and engagement. Just as marketing has changed, the way we measure and attribute ROI is also changing, which has many marketers caught in a strange no man’s land of ROI.
We say it’s time to break some myths about social marketing ROI and unleash your social program’s deeper value.
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Shakespeare asked us, “What’s in a name?” Fast forward a few centuries and we’re still scratching our heads. Only this time it’s about metrics and analytics.
Anyone responsible lives and breathes numbers, graphs, trends and data. And then more data.
But what are behind the names: metrics and analytics? Are they the same thing? Does it really matter?
This week’s topic: Uncovering the meaning behind social metrics and analytics.
Lithium CMO @KatyK sat down with Lithium Social Web vice president @DaveEv for one last Q&A interview before 2015.
Katy Keim: Do you see a difference between metrics and analytics?
Dave Evans: To be clear, the biggest difference I see is the difference measuring, and not measuring! But let’s assume that measurement is happening, in which “what’s the difference between metrics and analytics?” A couple of definitions are in order: the term “metrics” is defined as “a method of measuring something, or the results obtained from this.” By comparison, analytics is defined as “the systematic computational analysis of data or statistics, or information resulting from the systematic analysis of data or statistics.”
So they are different?
DE: Metrics speaks to method—how we gather data--whereas analytics speaks to practice—how we make meaning from that data. In practical terms, “metrics” describes the data collected (e.g., page views), the method for its collection (e.g., each fully served page counts as one view) and the results of having made that measurement (e.g., last week, we served 2,147,356 page views.) By comparison, analytics provides meaning, for example “Over the past 3 quarters, our page views have steadily increased in-line with the expected outcome given our off-domain-to-community referral program, resulting in a positive ROI based on observed call deflection away from our phone-based support team.”
What are the top-performing brands measuring on social?
DE: While irrelevant may be too strong a word, many brands—top-brands included—are measuring at-best tangential indicators of benefit. The most clichéd is of course “Likes,” with “Followers” being a close second. Note that these metrics do have a quantitative foundation, and they can be useful as indicators of contact with customers. But when you dig in—when you consider that only a very small fraction of those who “Like” your page will ever return and that even fewer will ever mention you at all, or that followers can be bought as easily as earned…then clearly there is a “second look” that needs to be taken.
Lithium research shows only 2 percent of users return to a brand’s Facebook page.
DE: Exactly. They just don’t foster long-term engagement with any value.
Back to the case of social measurement, that “second look” is analytics: beyond simple numbers, what is the meaning? This is where a powerful analytics dashboard can be helpful, where views that transform metrics like “followers” into more meaningful concepts like “influence” and relate that to imputed campaign value as a result of varying observed influence.
So what should brands be measuring?
DE: Well if “measure” means “collecting, organizing and reporting” (metrics), in which case the answer is “everything.” It’s easier to throw away what’s not needed than it is to go back and try and capture what was missed.
Switching gears a bit. Why are marketing and support metrics different? Why do you need different tools to measure them?
DE: Allow a quick digression: marketing and support objectives are the same: to grow market share, to reduce costs, to improve margins, to drive revenue, to enhance loyalty, to innovate…to act in concert with the rest of the organization to achieve the business objectives set for the current and future applicable periods. Now, step back from that view and ask the questions “How does marketing do this?” and “How does Support do this?”
The difference in metrics—number of advertising impressions versus average handle time—arises directly out of the difference in respective metrics in the pursuit of the same objectives.
Which metrics should be shared with the organization to help them understand the role of social care in the company strategy?
DE: Don’t share metrics. Share analytics. Post that above your computer screen!
Wow. I think we’re all guilty of doing the opposite.
DE: Sharing metrics is lot like sharing a French joke with a German audience: even if the translation is reasonable, the context shift will likely result in a flat response.
Metrics—recall the answer to the prior question—have value only in the context of the methods and processes through and around which they were collected. “Average handle time” is surely meaningless outside of support, just as “reach and frequency” must sound like business babble outside of marketing.
Analytics on the other hand—the thoughtful crafting of metrics into meaningful insights—carries value across the organization. “As a result of the impact to net sales of our more robust pipeline combined with the cost savings associated with our reduced call volume and attendant handle time, our operating margins improved by 3 points in the fourth quarter” will bring a smile to anyone in the organization.
Thanks Dave. Looking foward to more Q&As in 2015.
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Talk to any customer service executive and they'll know their Net Promoter Score (NPS). It's either a badge of honor or a source frustration.
This week we look at the intriguing NPS methodology and how it translates to social customer service. What changes? What remains the same?
Lithium CMO @KatyK sat down with Lithium Social Web vice president @DaveEv to uncover the mysteries and truths of NPS.
Katy Keim: Quickly define NPS for our readers.
Dave Evans: I’m glad you said quickly, because there is a single, precise definition for Net Promoter score, or NPS:
NPS = Share of Promoters, as a percentage, minus Share of Detractors, also as a percentage.
Promoters and detractors are based on the answer to the question “How likely are you to recommend (company name)” where zero (0) is “extremely unlikely” and ten (10) is extremely likely. Promoters are defined as respondents giving a nine (9) or ten (10); Detractors are defined as those giving zero (0) through six (6).
The complete NPS description is here.
That’s it. Anything else, and it’s not NPS.
How do brands use NPS? Which departments care about this?
DE: Brands use NPS as a dynamic, long-term measure of a fundamentally important customer (typically) behavior: will our customers recommend us or not? This is an essential consideration for most brands, made all the more important by the adoption and transparency of social media.
How has social changed NPS?
DE: Social has not changed NPS. NPS has changed the way social media is viewed by the business.
So NPS is the constant regardless of what channel you look at?
DE: Yes. The formula and method for determining NPS is independent of any medium. NPS, however, because of its intimate relationship with primary social behaviors—people share stories about the experiences they have with friends and anyone else who will listen or take notice on the social web. This inherently includes conversations about brands, products, and services and in turn carries significance when those conversations turn to recommendations. NPS, because of its pure consideration of the likelihood of a recommendation, is an ideal and robust measure for this behavior.
Is it even possible to measure NPS on social channels?
DE: Absolutely, if by that you mean “Can I ask someone on Facebook, using a scale of zero to ten, how likely she is to recommend my company.” More commonly, brands measure NPS across all channels and touchpoints: again, NPS is independent of channel. A channel is a data point -- not a NPS in total.
And some brands have built upon NPS right?
DE: What some brands do—and while the application is not endorsed by the creators of the NPS methodology—is to ask a closely related question “As a result of this interaction, how likely are you to recommend [company]?” In this case, channel measures make sense, since all interactions occur in some channel or other. This can be useful, for example, in comparing the contributions of a social support team versus a phone support team to the overall organization NPS.
But a caution: any deviation from the established methodology and it’s no longer NPS. So don’t change a proven methology!
What's considered a good NPS score?
DE: While it probably comes as a shock—most of us went to schools with a 65 or 70 score considered “failing”— an NPS score of “zero” (0) is the starting point for “good.” This is because a score of zero implies that Promoters are equal in number to Detractors: for every customer, for example, that will promote you, one will knock you back down. So, on balance your likelihood of recommendation is “even.” As promoters begin to outnumber detractors, the net positive impact of recommendations rises.
By industry, what's a good score?
DE: As far as “really good” scores: The 40 through 60 ranges are right up there. Seventy-plus is outstanding: one of our Lithium customers, giffgaff, has an NPS of 73, which is remarkable.
For other industries—in particular those where customers perceive—rightly or wrongly—that business have the upper hand, the score can 30 and extend to below zero. In those markets, a company with an NPS score of -20 would be expected grow faster than a company with a score of -40.
Think of it as choosing the lesser of two evils.
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Want to see how your industry peers rank in NPS? Check out the leaders and laggards here.
The next Five-Minute Social Manager Q&A will tackle Experts. How to unleash experts within your company – beyond the traditional support roles.
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Today we launch a new Q&A series -- The 5-Minute Social Manager -- featuring Lithium’s social strategist @DaveEv and CMO @KatyK.
Step inside any contact center. Meet with any social customer support manager. There’s a common theme: staffing. How to recruit the right staff and keep them challenged at work so they’ll stick around. Add in social engagement channels to the mix and the job becomes even more challenging.
In this new Q&A series, Lithium CMO Katy Keim interviews Dave Evans, vice president of social strategy for Lithium Social Web, to understand how social has upended certain hiring practices while reinforcing others.
This week's topic: Recruiting and Staffing Your Social Customer Service Teams
Katy Keim: How has social changed the way companies staff support teams?
Dave Evans: It’s important to recognize that “social” is not a “channel.” While many organizations still build a social customer response team by hand-picking or selectively hiring social agents with experience in a traditional call center (often their own), companies must look across the entire organization of “experts” as potential points of customer engagement. In practical terms, that means any employee is potentially an “agent.” That’s really hard for some companies to grasp.
Do brands try to overcomplicate social?
DE: Thinking about the core customer care team engaging via social media support model isn’t all that different than any other support medium. Sure, the skills may be different (agents have to type as well as talk) and the risks may be higher -- accidentally respond with information about a customer’s account on a public instead of private message. But the basic support process—listening to and empathizing with customers, crafting a solution and following it through to closure—are the same. Once a brand recognizes that, they’re golden.
And social selling has become disrupted by social as well. What else?
DE: I would add product development and innovation teams. What about questions answered by an engineer in your design department, a scientist in your research team, or other employee with deep or specialized process knowledge? These people are all potential “engagers” as well, and as such are part of (directly, or as back-up) to your support team.
So at the core, these are experts who reside in different areas of the company?
DE: Absolutely. Staffing for social means considering both the core support “agent” role and the “experts” that support these agents and enhance your ability to engage customers at scale.
What makes a good social agent?
DE: More than anything else, a good “social agent” understands, simultaneously, the business objectives of the organization, the situation and context giving rise to the customer inquiry, the resources at-hand that can be applied to the issue, and any constraints around the potential solution path. This has been true of support professionals all along, and surely continues in an age of public, visible support interactions.
It sounds like you’re describing traits that make a great support agent -- social or non-social?
Should social support agents be new hires? Or perhaps a special "reward program" for experienced staff to join the social ranks?
DE: While the “reward” program may have made sense in the past (and by past, I mean 5 years ago), we’re seeing certain agent qualities like empathy and humility trump policies that reward tenure.
In your experience, are social support agents motivated by the same rewards as normal support employees?
DE: Let’s put it this way: if social agents are not motivated by the same rewards as other employees, there is something wrong at an organizational level that probably needs to be addressed before a social engagement program is considered! Effective social engagement—leading to visible customer advocacy—depends heavily on purpose-based alignment across the organization.
A theme is developing here. What gets a traditional support agent out of bed is -- and should -- be the same for a social support agent. The tools may have changed, but the end goal remains the same. Do you agree?
DE: The excitement of support—whether as a font-line social agent or a deep-knowledge process expert—is that you never really know what the next request is going to be, combined with the almost universal personal satisfaction that comes from helping someone. That mix makes for a very exciting job. That’s what should get employees fired up about going to work.
Have you seen social agents stick around longer?
DE: By expanding social engagement across the organization by way of experts, employees connect more deeply with the shared business objectives of that organization. Tangible connection to shared purpose is absolutely associated with—in fact, it is a pre-cursor to—above-average employee retention and as a result to the attraction of the best and brightest in the field. Set up a social strategy with agents and knowledgeable experts and retention will take care of itself.
One last question. Regardless of job role, we all get measured on our performance. Do the same performance metrics apply for social agents?
DE: There can be more nuanced metrics related to productivity due to the sheer volume of social traffic. And some traditional metrics -- like handle time and first contact resolution) may need to be tweaked a little due to the asynchrounous nature of social. But at the core, the most meaningful business metrics -- ROI, achievement of revenue goals and customer satfisfaction -- remain unchanged.
At the team level there are new metrics, related for example to productivity. Handle-time and first call resolution are redefined slightly given the asynchronous nature of social media, for example. At the same time, the most meaningful performance metrics—ROI and achievement of organizational business goals—remain unchanged.
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This Q&A post is an extended version of previously published content that appeared in Social Media Today.
If you have questions or topics you’d like Lithium to tackle for upcoming 5-Minute Social Manager posts, comment or tweet us at @LithiumTech and include #5MinSocial.
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