4 Ways Social Intelligence Can Help You Retain Customers

Experts say a customer retained is 2-3 times more valuable than a newly acquired one. Whether you sell a product or service, keeping your customers happy post-purchase is a huge and important task.

With the advent of social media and Internet savvy, socially active consumers, there’s a huge opportunity to strengthen your customer retention strategies.

Let’s stop here though. If you’re looking for a blog post focused on how to monitor and track what’s being said about your brand or product online, you can find these in other helpful Sysomos blog articles. 🙂

Today we’re going to talk about social intelligence, which is defined as the step beyond listening and reacting to Tweets, Instagram posts and the like. In an earlier post, Amber succinctly defined social intelligence as:

But in the case of “social intelligence”, we really are referring to the next generation of how social data informs your enterprise far beyond “brand watching”, listening or monitoring.

So, how do we take this concept and apply it to customer retention? In my opinion, customer retention is synonymous with customer care and customer satisfaction. A socially intelligent organization is one that has taken steps be able to act in a timely fashion on customer feedback and ensure that in all steps of a customer’s journey that they feel loved and adored.

Use your social fanbase as your most valued focus group

Thinking of a new product or feature idea? Is your company trying to decide amongst two or three features and you want to check in with your community?

I am an Engineer

The beautiful thing about social-powered focus groups is that they can be impromptu, fast-flowing and even fun!

When structuring your focus group, be sure to ask specific questions that will inform your business processes. As a team, decide what aspects of the decision you’re willing to crowd-source and be specific with the asks.

Also, think about how you’re going to collect opinions. Will you use a hashtag and manually collect responses or would you rather use a tool such as PollDaddy?

To honor the time investment given by your community, be sure to report back after the poll on how your team will make use of and act on the data.  Most of all, thank them!

Go beyond listening and build a team capable of taking action

Any brand can hire a community manager or agency to respond on Twitter to praise, complaints and feedback. However, it’s the socially intelligent organizations that build teams composed of people empowered to take action.

When a crisis hits, responsive action is the name of the game. So, in addition to monitoring and responding to complaints, your brand should construct a small group of rapid responders from marketing, fulfillment, customer service, legal and an executive sponsor to help push actions through.

Team With Medals

Also, on a regular basis, the community team should be sending regular reports to stakeholders in your organization about feedback gathered from the online community. These include metrics such as inbound mentions, top complaints, and praises and individuals that were specifically mentioned on social media.

Remember, it’s the small things that count most

Socially intelligent companies are online not only to push a marketing message and inform the public about products, but also to make sure customers are being listened to and respected. As a result, any community manager or department should have a good system in place for keeping tabs on top clients and most vocal advocates.

In my former position as an influence marketer at Republic Publishing for Nokia (now Microsoft), I used social intelligence to make sure our influencers were remembered during life’s milestones in a personal way. Despite having an influencer population of 400 people, we worked hard to recognize and reward our brand advocates and influencers.

Whenever a milestone was mentioned such as an anniversary, child’s graduation or similar event, we recorded the upcoming milestone in a shared notebook. By using surprise gifts such as a bouquet of flowers or a Starbucks gift card on Father’s day, we made efforts to ensure each of our brand influencers felt valued.

In your organization, you might take action by congratulating a subscriber on their 1-year anniversary of using your service or by sending them some company swag when they report being a repeat customer. Evaluate your online audience and construct a plan to delight and honor your fanbase.

Predict what your customer wants next

Every day, social data exposes customer’s opinions – good and bad. Here at Sysomos, we ingest multiple petabytes of data every day.

So, after monitoring and collecting data of what your social community is saying, the socially intelligent company will then move to an analysis and predictive phase by analyzing the conversations.

For example, say an electronics company releases a blockbuster toy. After 3-4 weeks of monitoring social conversation, a pattern appears of numerous complaints about battery life. The next step would be for that company to take this feedback to the engineering group to push for a larger battery to be potentially included in the next version of the electronic gadget.

Furthermore, moving along the social intelligence continuum, social data can be used to predict what your customers are looking for next. How do we build actionable information from social data? One technique is to look at mentions of your brands and products and discover what words are being said in relation to your proprietary terms. An integrated digital marketing organization can use search data from Google to help extrapolate this.

On the social data side, we can use Buzzgraph from Sysomos MAP to do the trick. For example, say you are a small-town microbrewery that just expanded your brewing capacity and you’re wondering what beer you should brew next.

By analyzing your brewery’s name in a Buzzgraph, you can surface social posts and unearth questions such as “Does Vagabond brewing make an Irish stout?” If you see this pattern over and over again, perhaps stout should be the next beer on Vagabond’s available sign. J

Sysomos MAP - Buzzgraph around community management

Wrapping up

As you can see, there are many ways social intelligence can be applied to customer retention.  What’s your favorite way of ensuring your customers are forever fans?

(Photo credit: orinrobertjohn and thejesse)

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