There's a reason why the number of C-suite roles expands as a company grows. From having a constant pulse on the customer, to foreseeing changes in the market and checking for inefficiencies, these are just a few of the items brands need to keep track of to run a successful business

Here are some unsuspecting sources of customer data from which you can uncover insights that can potentially save your brand from putting time and resources into the wrong areas of your business. And remember what Jim Barksdale, CEO of Netscape said, "If we have data, let's look at data. If all we have are opinions, let's go with mine."

Your employees

To deliver an all encompassing, excellent customer experience, organizations must consider the Voice of Employee (VoE) and accurate employee feedback. While listening to VoC is crucial, VoE is a critical piece of the puzzle.

According to Carol Lee Andersen, President of Questback,

"People drive brands - customers and employees. To deliver an all-encompassing, excellent brand (and resulting customer experience), brands absolutely must consider the voice of their employees. Without it, a business misses out on an insider's view of both the disconnects and the opportunities between what you hope to deliver and what customers actually experience.

Anderson elaborated,

"McDonald's, for example, recently announced it's putting a new emphasis on its technology offerings, including kiosk ordering, web applications, mobile order and pay, and creating innovative digital services for employees. As McDonald's undergoes a period of deep process change, employee feedback will be the fast food giant's secret weapon in gauging how the new processes are going. Employees have a unique view into the frontlines that customers and upper level management can't access. While customers may show symptoms of the problem, employees can determine the root cause. They are two sides of the same coin - yet most still only focus on the voice of the customer and the customer experience. A mistake that can (and has) killed many brands." 

Your social media platforms

According to Sprout Social's most recent index report, social media is the number one place where Millennials air their grievances about a brand and to a brand directly, so it is critical that brands are actively listening on this channel to hear and respond to customer issues -- the good, the bad and the ugly.

Why? Turns out the negative impact of a brand providing a poor response, or no response at all, to a consumer query on social is grave. About 50% of consumers say they'd never buy from a brand again after that brand responds poorly to their complaint. What's worse for brands is the hurt from a poor response doesn't stop there. After a brand responds poorly, 41% of people would share that experience with their network online, and only 26% would reach out via another channel to give the brand a chance to make things right. That translates to a 35% decrease in the opportunity to win back a customer after a poor response on social.

And when consumers complain and get no response at all, 40% say persistence is key--they'd reach out again using another customer service channel like phone or email. However, almost as many (35%) would never buy that brand's product or service again and roughly 1 in 3 would share their negative experience with their network online (31%) or offline (34%).

Your traditional target demographic

Strike Social finds that advertisers can get nervous to stray away from their core demographic. Spending their ad dollars to target someone different from their defined customer persona is scary for them, even if real-time engagement data shows that a different group is engaging more with their campaign. Jason Nesbitt, VP of Media & Agency Operations at Strike Social shared,

"In the future, social media advertising will be an even powerful means of connecting with customers. It's already on its way -- in Q2 2017, the U.S. ad market grew 5 percent, despite less money being spent on TV ads and declines among national media. This market expansion came primarily from digital media and particularly social media advertising. Brands are choosing to allocate more budget on social because it gives them access to real-time data and more insights about consumers.

Nesbitt added,

"Rather than just having high-level information from the channels they run their ads on, brands find social media demographic and behavioral data such as age, gender, location and specific interests. As a result, they can improve targeting and achieve better campaign performance. Some brands, though, have a tough time understanding their target audience and how to best reach them. That's where artificial intelligence can help. With AI, marketers can leverage customer demographic and behavioral data to spot patterns the human brain might not notice. They can use this information for smarter, more sophisticated targeting and campaign optimizations. As AI technology improves, we'll see this become an even more popular practice."

Be proactive. Actively and strategically listen. Respond. 

Published on: Nov 1, 2017