February 18, 2015 Luke Porter

Measuring Voice of the Customer (VOC) across Social Media

One thing that the growth of social media as a customer service channel has provided brands is access to a wealth of customer insight, across the public domain. It’s there right now, available in real time… and it’s not just mentions about your brand, but also comments about your competitors too.

So, how do we harness this plethora of new social VOC in real time and derive value from that insight? And how do we measure, compare, benchmark VOC across social channels? Well, here we take a look at both areas, with some best practice advice:

Tracking social VOC in real time:

Have you heard the latest mantra; that customer issues break first on social? Well, by tracking brand mentions in real time, you can look to identify those issues quickly and respond to them more effectively. You can now track a raft of ‘meaningful’ social insight in real time via a social wallboard:

  • Buzz Volume: Allows you track the volume of mentions about your brand, your products and potentially your competitor’s social activity. You can be alerted to any sudden spike in activity, across all those areas, in real time and look to investigate the root cause.
  • Sentiment: Automated sentiment is not perfect, but it still has its place. Tracking positive, negative and neutral sentiment in real time can still be useful, especially if we identify a sudden swing from positive to negative mentions or vice versa.
  • Word Clouds: Simply tell us how often a keyword or phrase is used. Generally, the bigger the font size, the more times that particular keyword is being used. As they are ‘unscripted’, word clouds can sometimes identify trending topics that you might not have expected…
  • Key Topics: Here, we can separate brand mentions into relevant pots. For each topic, define a set of related keywords and phrases and monitor mentions from each topic in real time. Keyword tables can quickly identify issues with payments or deliveries or website issues etc.
  • Influencers: By defining a list of key influencers, with specific Twitter handles or website URLs, we can track whenever they mention our brand and whether it’s a positive or negative post. We can even set up a real time alert to warn us that an article has been written about one of our products.
  • Top Mentions: Clearly, we need to track our most viral social activity. Which tweets have been retweeted the most times or which Facebook post has received the most likes and comments? We can even identify brand mentions from users with especially high authority scores and potential ‘reach’.

How to measure VOC across social media:

So, aside from tracking insight in real time, how can we look to derive and measure tangible stats from social? It’s certainly not a simple question of tracking likes and followers anymore and just relying on automated sentiment is not accurate enough. So, let’s look at some other ways to measure social VOC:

Monitor Sentiment: I’ve read numerous studies that state the accuracy of automated sentiment from 40-80%. There’s certainly no way to automatically assess humour or sarcasm. Unless, of course, you can easily moderate and edit a sentiment score to gain more accuracy. I’m also a big advocate of measuring sentiment from 1-10, not just in positive, negative and neutral bandings.

Tracking Indexes: I believe Jerome Pineau was the first to come up with the Gratitude Index – ie what percentage of your brand mentions include thanks or praise. Similarly, you can define keywords for complaints and track the volume or percentage across a period and compare month-on-month. You can even compare these indexes with those of your competitors (from public mentions).

Measure CSAT: We measure customer satisfaction (CSAT) across every other contact channel, so why not social? A simple post-interaction direct message will do, with an embedded link to a web survey. This also enables you to brand the survey, ask multiple questions, capture free comments and store the data securely. You can then compare your social CSAT scores against other channels.

Bulk NPS Surveys: Once again, we do a similar exercise with email, so why not to your Twitter followers or Facebook fans? You just need a tool that will help you target customers and automate the sending of multiple messages, with an embedded link to an NPS-style survey . Of course, managing this through social, will also give you the benefit of potentially tracking a range of demographics!

I guess the key to all of this is to use a variety of these methods for tracking VOC across social media and to do that you need the tools and expertise to garner meaningful feedback. That’s where we come in! So, if you’re interested in any of the above, please do use the contact form below and we’ll be happy to have a chat…

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