The Perception Gap in Social Author: Mitch Lieberman th March 20 2011 Customers do not want a relationship with your business; they want the benefits a relationship can offer to them. I have been stating this for a couple years, as many people I know have also stated and written about. You may or may not agree with this, as it has seemed like a bit of a political debate, without some really solid data to back-‐up either perspective. IBM recently published the result of 2010 study, which revealed some interesting data points. I will be cautious, as data can be interpreted differently from person to person, but this study is grounded in primary research, published by the IBM Institute for Business Value and my analysis of the report suggests that it is worth considering. Consumers were asked what they do when then interact with businesses or brands via social media. I am not sure which is more surprising to me that being part of a community and feeling connected are near the bottom, or that purchase and discount are at the top. To back up a little bit, results also published in the “Just over half of consumers surveyed say they same report found that do not engage with brands via social media at all only 23% of consumers, who go to (55 percent).” social media sites, go to interact with brands. They go to interact with family and friends (70%). Another interesting point is that while 23% are interested in interacting with brands 22% actually go to write a blog, that is a finding which I am going to need to think on for a bit. Finally,
The Business Side Gap The business perspective is more interesting, and frankly more valuable to anyone who happens across this post. The simple reason is that a business needs to care about what the customers are saying and doing, not what they ‘think’ is right or worse, portrayed by someone else who told them the ‘right’ thing to do. OK businesses, take a look at the listing your peers gave when asked the why they thought customers were following their companies on social sites. The data clearly states that businesses believe much more strongly that consumers interact with them to feel part of the community – guess what, they really don’t. The consumer wants something more. The gap is pretty “Businesses hoping to foster closer customer wide, almost as wide connections through social media conversations as the current NFL players versus may be mistakenly projecting their own desires owners. But, in this for intimacy onto customers’ motivations for case it is not a matter of interacting. Interactions with businesses are not compromise and the same as interactions with friends.” working to get both sides to see the other perspective. The only real opinion that matters is what your customers think, correct? What about Advocacy? I am not sure about you, but I have seen a lot of Senior Executives talk about “getting closer” to their customers, partners, ecosystem, prospects (IBM 2010 Global CEO Study – 88% want to get closer to the customer). In order to answer the war cry from the C-‐suite, marketers and executives (from this survey) believe the answer is social media engagement. However, the data from the consumer side suggests otherwise – or best it is inconclusive. The issue seems to be that you (company) are already close to your advocates; 64% of stated that passion for a brand needs to exists prior to interacting with that brand. The answer to the “In other words, consumers who engage already riddle seems to be to encourage consumers have an affinity for that brand or company, and to share their mere participation via social media may not experiences with necessarily result in increased loyalty or friends and family. Make that easy and spending. But a recommendation from a friend you now have a better or family member could make a difference.” chance of encouraging those at the tipping point to become advocates for your brand. I am not going to go retro and start defining Social CRM, been there, done that! I am going to suggest that you need to start thinking like a customer, outside-‐in, not inside out. It is not about control of the conversation, it is about mutually beneficial value, a fair exchange. Social media is part of something we call the customer engagement continuum, aka consistency of interactions and touch points independent of the channel used. A friend shared a term with me early this week, which seems to fit “Reverse Logistics” – to me, it fits here because the perspective that matters is the customers.
About Sword Ciboodle Sword Ciboodle is an award winning, multi-‐channel customer engagement platform, designed for the 21st century organization to meet the needs of the 21st century customer. From telephone to email and community through self-‐service, our customer experience fabric enables you to create a consistent, efficient and differentiated service experience. The customer experience fabric for many global brands, Sears, Bally Total Fitness, and Vistaprint all leverage our platform to construct a genuinely social and customer centric business. www.sword-‐ciboodle.com info@sword-‐ciboodle.com About Sword Ciboodle Sword Ciboodle is an award winning, multi-‐channel customer engagement platform, designed for the 21st century organization to meet the needs of the 21st century customer. From telephone to email and community through self-‐service, our customer experience fabric enables you to create a consistent, efficient and differentiated service experience. The customer experience fabric for many global brands, Sears, Bally Total Fitness, and Vistaprint all leverage our platform to construct a genuinely social and customer centric business.