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Social Listening in Practice: Benchmarking CX

Learn how to measure the most influential metric to your company

Bring the voice of the customer to your business goalsSocial Listening in Practice: Benchmarking CX

Customer experience means more to your organization than any other metric you report on. Before you can improve your customer experience, be sure your team is equipped to truly measure it.

The role of customer experience to a business

Customer experience (CX) is the sum of all the moments and interactions a customer has with a brand.

Everything from ads, to customer service service, to how products are discussed among peers helps collectively build the entire story a brand gives its customer.

93% of senior executives said improving CX is one of their company’s top three priorities in the next two years.
— Brian Solis, Principal Analyst, Altimeter

While only 37% of brand executives are satisfied by their company’s CX initiatives, most brands and agencies are beginning to take customer experience seriously.

Marketing teams especially are finding their jobs intrinsically invested in understanding CX.

Nearly 70% of marketers find cross-organization customer experience the top priority for the year, and two-thirds of CMOs are now in charge of their brands’ customer experience, “taking responsibility for engagement across the entire life cycle.”

Luckily, marketers—especially those using social listening—are uniquely equipped to both benchmark and influence CX with the tools they already have.

How social listening fits

Social data is the world’s largest pool for unfiltered opinions.

Product research, competitive analysis, and consumer insights have increasingly involved online data. Having access to global, social information has become a cornerstone to any department requiring business intelligence.

This makes social listening the perfect tool to benchmark your customer experience.

The digital customer experience is becoming as important a differentiator for brands as product and price.
— Ben Davis, Marketing Week

Even customer service teams understand that social media is more often than not their front-line to customer satisfaction.

Collecting real-time, unsolicited customer opinions about your brand, industry, and competitors is the only way to see the full picture of your company’s customer experience.

From there, it takes the right benchmarks to go from reporting, to customer-focused action.

The CX benchmarks that matter

The best CX benchmarking spans the entire customer journey. So in order to benchmark CX, start with mapping your customer journey and finding the right metrics that matter to at least three important customer touch points:

  1. Engagement – How people feel about your brand, your messaging, and your marketing.
  2. Usage – How customers feel when they use your product or services.
  3. Retention and Customer Service – When and why your customer’s issues arise, and what triggers them to want to leave.

1. Engagement benchmarks

Before they even consider purchasing your products or using your services, your customers see your brands online and are listening to their peers discuss your company.

Whether it’s seeing your name in the news or interacting with your brand on Twitter, online engagement is one of the most important first touch points for the customer.

Our Social Index is the leading ranking of online brand health, with five metrics created to measure online engagement, visibility, and consumer sentiment.

Benchmarking engagement for top five department stores

Top 5 Department Retailers Social Visibility General Visibility Sentiment Growth Engagement Social Index Score
Target 100 74 60 100 90 425
Walmart 100 100 54 99 54 407
Nordstrom 71 55 100 93 83 402
Tesco 76 66 56 91 100 389
Marks & Spencer 68 45 89 92 88 382
Data from this table shows the top five department stores from our quarterly Social Index- the definitive ranking of the biggest brands online. We rank 24 more industries and hundreds of other brands as well. To see our complete rankings, visit our Social Index page here.

Whether you use one or several of these five metrics to successfully benchmark your online engagement, consider how well your message reaches your audience, and the sentiment surrounding your overall conversation.

These factors will paint a vivid picture of your brand health, and the image of your brand potential customers see online.

2. Usage benchmarks

With social media data, you have the ability to slice the data in order to benchmark how your customers describe and use your products.

Benchmarking your products’ usage is extremely important for both understanding your own brand and comparing your brand to your biggest competitors.

The following figure analyzes the emotions that customers have interacting with banking services.

According to social data, consumers are significantly more dissatisfied with in-person banking experiences than mobile and web banking services.

This kind of benchmarking measures each of your services and user touch points and helps you identify where to focus your energy.

Social data can also identify the most used topics and words associated with your products.

For instance, the following chart showcases the adjectives most associated with different automotive brands.

For a company like Ram, it might be important to benchmark whether their customers associate them more with “heavy-duty” or “speed”, and how that changes depending on their marketing efforts.

Additionally, as electric cars are still trying to gain traction compared to traditional cars, it might be important for Tesla to try to move away from being described as “luxury” to appeal to a broader customer base.

Benchmarking the language your customers use about your products means you can fully understand how they feel about your brand at a global scale.

3. Retention and customer service benchmarks

Every company knows that getting new customers is sometimes not as important as retaining your current customers.

This means that one vital stage of your CX benchmarking must look at when things go wrong, and the instances when your customers give an indication they might leave.

One way to directly measure and improve your customer service is to measure the rate and time it takes your company to respond to messages on social media.

Nearly every industry receives at least some customer service messages through social media, with over 37% of all customer service interactions being digital.

But it’s important to note that some customer service messages might not mention your channel.

Another way to benchmark your customer retention and service is to regularly measure the volume of different types of customer service interactions, as all customer service messages aren’t created equal.

The following analysis picked up three levels of increasingly urgent customer service issues for financial institutions, going from asking a question to indications of cancelling service or switching providers.

Creating alerts that flag customers indicating they’re about to leave gives you another opportunity.

Capturing these pivotal moments online can mean the difference between a lifetime recurring customer and a new customer for your competitor

Benchmarking where you can improve is just as important as benchmarking you’re doing well. And happy customers you already have are always your best marketers, advocates, and new customers.

From benchmarks to action

Every company is familiar with the experience of sending reports to executives who don’t have time to read them, or to teams who don’t know how to use them.

Too often, this gets companies into habit of reporting for the sake of reports. But, the only value from benchmarking customer experience comes from the actions you take.

Using social listening, marketers and insights professionals are perfectly placed to get only the most relevant benchmarks for their customer journey. You can make sure your customer finds your brand, buys and enjoys your products, and continues to chose your company over your competition.

Crimson Hexagon has merged with Brandwatch. You’re in the right place!

From May 8th, all Crimson Hexagon products are now on the Brandwatch website. You’ll find them under ‘Products’ in the navigation. If you’re an existing customer and you want to know more, your account manager will be happy to help.