The darker side of influence: stop delighting & start satisfying the customer

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At a recent customer experience event I went to I watched a presentation from a well known global brand entitled “Stop delighting the customer”.

It was a good title for a presentation as it got everyone in the audience to sit up and take notice - surely businesses should  focus on delighting customers in order to develop loyalty?

The main point of the presentation was that satisfying your customers, instead of delighting them, will increase loyalty in a way that is financially sustainable for a business in the long run.

Many big brands are attempting to use social media as a tool to delight. They monitor Twitter streams and pay more attention to comments from those consumers who are connected to larger social networks, or have higher Klout or other social scoring metrics, and they attempt to delight them. And there is nothing wrong with this as enaging with influencers in the right way can be valuable to your brand or business.

However, consumers aren’t slow at catching on to this and as more and more people leverage this treatment it could come at a cost to the business.

Consumers could build networks to leverage against better services that they haven’t paid for. A free upgrade, a better room, or a reservation at a booked out restaurant perhaps.  Already some hotels offer preferential treatment to those guests with a high Klout score.

All these things come at a cost to the operating business, particularly if they don’t have an engagement strategy for harnessing influencers to benefit their brand. If that’s the case, they’re just giving away freebies and hoping for some kind of return.

So while targeting influencers is an important part of your social media strategy, it is important to think about embedding social media in a way that improves customer satisfaction as a whole in order to get the most value from your social media activity.

Michelle Obama’s $2.7Bn Influence

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michelle obama influencer

Image courtesy of Studio08Denver

There’s been a great deal of talk this week about influence. It’s been driven (dare I say influcenced) by an article in AdAge by Matt Creamer. He takes a swipe at Justin Beiber (dangerous) and points out that automated social media monitoring tools (or influence trackers) like Klout, need some human analysis and insight to get the most out of them.

Clearly there is more to influence than popularity (see this slidshare about online influencers), but popularity can be a pretty key determinant for some influencers. The Oprah Effect is worthy of note as a case in point.

Anyway, all this chatter reminded me of the Michelle Obama Influence Infographic.  The Harvard Business Review recently published reserach by academic David Yermack. He found that there was a strong correlation between the brands Michelle Obama wore and subsequent stock price increases. The percentage increases are small and there is a causation/correlation debate to be had, but when she’s potentially driving $2.7Bn in value for these brands, it’s worthy of note:

influence and michelle obama

Social media influencers 2010 – download the final report

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Picture1

image courtesy of shutterstock

Following on from the success of our social media monitoring tools review earlier this year, we’ve been testing  nine of the leading social media monitoring tools in order to assess how effective they are at identifying influencers.

We’ve tested Attensity 360, Brandwatch, Radian6, Alterian, Scoutlabs, Sysomos, Synthesio, PeerIndex and Social Radar using the subject  of  “organic baby food” as the test topic for our report.

We felt it would be interesting to see how well each of the tools could help identify influencers for this much-discussed topic. Will the tools pick out key “mummy bloggers” and frequently visited forum posts in parenting sites such as Mumsnet and BabyCentre?

Download our social media influencers report 2010 to find out

We’d like to thank all the tool providers for enabling us to carry out this report. We’d also like to  give a special mention the following people for their comments and opinions about influencers, which have been included in the report: Chris Brogan, Jay Baer, Murray Newlands, Louise Parker and Kelly Pennock.

Influence - knowing the value of your customers

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Picture1Guest blog post by Luke Brynley-Jones who is hosting Monitoring Social Media 2010 in London on 22nd November.

I’ve written about social media influence a few times in the past year – including a somewhat plaintive post asking whether flawed influence measurement is better than no influence measurement.

I’ve also hosted a Bootcamp where I questioned the “influence” calculations of certain leading free monitoring tools. Then earlier this month, I participated in a discussion in which the overwhelming mood was that influence could and should be measured – if only because it’s so  important to marketers that we simply have to try to calculate it.

While I’m not keen on bogus science or flawed assumptions- having read Peter Shankman’s “Road-to-Damascus” post that describes the moment that he realised how valuable it would be to know how influential your customers were the moment they walked in the door - I have to say, I’m getting there. However, the question of how influencer rating is calculated - whether it’s based on Twitter re-tweets, inbound links, number of comments on a blog or shoe-size – is simply going to run and run. But all that really matters is that it works for your business.

If your customers are online and into social media, an influence analysis service like Klout, which uses freely available data, might work fine. In his post, Peter describes how businesses can use Klout to get a short, snappy rating against which they can decide how much “engagement” time a customer really deserves – or whether they should simply be sent packing. 

Most of us haven’t yet knowingly suffered as a result of a company knowing our “influence” rating (in other words, our commercial value) – but imagine when every shop, garage, restaurant and bar knows exactly how influential (or not) you really are. I predict that’s a 2-3 years away yet…but can you imagine the situation:

“Do you know who I am?!”
“Well, Sir. Actually, yes - we do”.

Luke has kindly offered our readers 10% discount on the ticket price for Monitoring Social Media 2010, taking place in London on 22nd November - please use the discount code “fresh”. Charlie (Osmond) will  be speaking about How to Identify Influencers, including details from our up and coming report on using tools to identify social media influencers.