“We’re Not in the Like Business”

an interview with
Deborah Eastman General Manager of Global Consulting, Satmetrix

The following are highlights of my interview with Deborah Eastman, the former CMO and current GM of Global Consulting at Satmetrix, shortly after her presentation on Social Media at the Satmetrix Net Promoter® Conference. By the way, there were over 500 people at this conference with a sizable representation from a number of really big companies like Verizon Wireless, Symantec, AAA, American Express, Dell, Fidelity Investments, Merck, and Intuit.  (You will find the article inspired by this conference on MediaPost.com.)

In the off chance that Net Promoter is a new concept to you, click here. The rest of you are probably well aware of the idea that was first popularized in Fred Reicheld’s book, “the Ultimate Question,” and have seen my references to it in several past posts.

What are the challenges of integrating social media and Net Promoter?
The challenge is that if you do [integrate social and NPS®] you also need to integrate it with your CRM system so you can do NPS by segment. You need to know if they are customers or not. You need to know if they are high value customers or not. And we would advocate this is not about collecting a score, this is about improving the experience in a closed-loop process is a critical part of that.

Would it make sense to put your Net Promoter Score right up on website?
I’m not a big fan of publishing your NPS especially to your customers because, who cares! I mean, do your customers really care what your NPS is? What customers care about is what experience they get. And our personal philosophy is that Net Promoter is about building a customer-centric culture, which you deliver a positive customer experience. The result of that is a high Net Promoter Score. Focusing on the score is having the wrong conversation.

Should we anticipate Net Promoter being asked on a Facebook fan page?
We’d like to see a better integration of Net Promoter and social media. In face, we’d love to see that. The challenge, I see today is that its all about social media marketing. We [marketers] haven’t connected the dots between Net Promoter and social media in a way that allows us to really take advantage of those visitors.

In the egalitarian world of social media, even a small voice can have a big impact. Is there a risk in treating some customers better via social channels?
We have what we call “the voice according to value,” so when you think about Net Promoter as a customer feedback process, [not all customers are equal.] If I call American Airlines as an Executive Platinum member, I should get a differentiated experience from the guy that flies once a year to go visit grandma. The example I gave with Stephen Fry, is the potential brand impact that [his tweets] had differentiated him [because of] his influence not necessarily his value as an [individual] customer. That influence translates to value.

Does this same notion apply to B2B customers?
I think you should always be looking at segmentation of your customers in order to treat your customers differently. In a B2B environment you should be treating – understanding the needs of a decision maker differently than an end user. So I absolutely believe in that.

Is there any kind of equivalency between a Like on Facebook and a Net Promoter?
Like to me is opting in. I don’t think it identifies you as a Promoter or a Passive or a Detractor. You could be liking a particular thread, you could be liking the brand, [there are] all kinds of ways to like. And quite honestly, I don’t think Net Promoter is about like, its about love. When you really create a Promoter, you create an emotional connection that is closer to love than like.

Should we expect a Satmetrix plug-in that will work right on Facebook?
Not on our immediate road map. I am much more interested in integrating the voice of the customer into the closed-loop process, which is the most important part of a Net Promoter program. Having fragmented listening channels without a closed-loop process is a disadvantage for our customers. Whether or not we collect scores through Facebook or those types of things, we’ll let our customers drive us there.

A lot of people here have the title “customer experience executive,” and a lot of companies have social media people, is there a world where these folks are in all in the same department?
In my perfect world, yes! What Symantec has done is interesting–they’ve established a Social Media Council and I actually think that’s where we’ll see this go. This [type of council] brings together all of the key stakeholders which would include marketing, customers experience execs, probably include the support organization and the product org for idea generation. This would bring together multi-functional representation to be looking at social media from an enterprise perspective.

Whats happens if these departments aren’t working together?
Social media is another channel for customer experience but its fragmented [right now]. Marketing is doing their thing; service is doing their thing. To me, Starbucks would be a great example. You go to the Starbuck Facebook page — you can actually top off your Starbucks card (clearly owned by marketing) and then there’s Starbucks Ideas which is this community that consumers can provide ideas for what they want from Starbucks. But you can’t access Starbucks Ideas from their Facebook page. [That]just illustrates a siloed mentality.

A year from now, do you expect the folks here will come back with their social media stories?
I don’t know if it will move that fast. We’ll want to watch their progression with NPS. Companies like Symantec are very advanced on their Net Promoter communities so they are integrating NPS in social media channels but many of the attendees here are still early on their journey. They are still trying to figure out how to build a closed-loop process, never mind integrating it with social media.

Any final words of wisdom bringing these two worlds together?
I don’t think it is about [getting the Net Promoter] score, I think it is about creating a social experience that creates promoters. Right now we just want to get the Net Promoter guys at the table because [social media] is typically owned by marketing and treated in a very fragmented fashion and we would advocate that you want to make sure that at least that’s connected with your Net Promoter program.

FYI: Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

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