Social Media Marketing

David Parcell (Global) - Encouraging Positive Social Media Feedback

We are no strangers to the fact that receiving negative customer feedback via social networks can damage the reputation of a company, but many organizations are still unsure how to effectively deal with this new channel.

The following identifies common roadblocks for anyone who’s tried “mining” the conversations taking place on the social sphere:

1.    Useless information. The issue many organizations face when trying to monitor social media is the sheer volume of conversations taking place, many of which are not relevant to the business. Identifying and separating the real issues from various outliers that may not reflect the feelings of a vast majority of your customer base is quite a challenge.

2.    The viral effect. Once something emerges as a clear trend above and beyond the static noise, it’s usually too late. The infamous YouTube music clip by musician Dave Carroll detailing how United Airlines broke his guitar is a great example of a customer service issue ‘going viral’: it received six hits the day it was posted and this rose to two million hits within just one week. By that point, the impact it made was irreversible.

3.    Lack of context. Postings on social media are getting shorter and shorter. A typical tweet has only a handful of words or abbreviated acronyms. Without a clear understanding of events leading up to a negative outburst, it is difficult to truly establish the root of the problem and therefore determine the best response. 

4.    Biased Sample. Although more people are participating in social discussions, what appears on social media may not always accurately reflect the majority of your customers’ opinions.

To build a better picture of what your customers want and identify the best ways to keep them happy, companies need to apply a more holistic approach. While today social media cannot be ignored, companies need to effectively integrate multiple customer feedback channels.

They should give particular focus to interactions:

  • initiated by customers via email, chat and phone; 
  • initiated by the organization, such as a survey campaign conducted via web, email, phone, IVR and mobile applications;
  • taking place on the social space including websites, blogs, forums and more.


Customer-centric organizations proactively collect feedback throughout the customer journey and communicate it across the enterprise, where insights can be used to fine tune existing processes, marketing campaigns, products and services. According to research conducted by Gartner, 95% of organizations collect customer feedback, and 50% effectively communicate this feedback. However, only 10% make specific process improvements based on the feedback, and just 5% measure the improvement from these process changes and further refine them. This aligns with findings from a survey we recently conducted with the Customer Contact Association (CCA).

Almost 90% of customers complain to companies when service falls short of expectations, but nearly half don’t believe companies care about what they say. Social media provides valuable unstructured feedback, but it needs to be validated and, where possible, correlated with structured data from surveys, panels and communities to adequately pinpoint next steps. A unified VoC analytics platform that monitors recorded voice conversations, social media discussions and direct customer feedback can pinpoint problems before they go viral and negatively impact the company’s bottom line.

Once you have a fine-tuned VoC program, you may find that social media becomes a positive word-of-mouth megaphone rather than a potential threat to your brand.

By David Parcell, Managing Director EMEA and Corporate Officer, Verint Systems


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