So I broke down and bought the Disney Circle device that help families manage online time and activities. As a parent of two tweens and a toddler that already understands the concept of wifi, all it took was a few smartly-done marketing ads with the Disney brand name and my Circle was en route with two-day Prime shipping. The Circle does lots of fantastic things that allow me to torment my family with my wifi superpowers, but one of the most interesting is the “Insights” reporting information, which tells me how much time each device has spent online and where that time was spent. All it took was one day of insights to tell me that we spend way too much time online specifically on social sites – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook,, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest. Our coverage of them all was impressive or pathetic – depending on how you look at it.

I know our family is not unique. We are expected collectively to grow the content of the digital universe 10 times by 2020.[1] Fueling this growth is the exponential proliferation of social media content. Those social conversations are drastically changing the relationship of a company to its customers. What used to be a direct conversation between a company and a customer with a bit of word-of-mouth sprinkled in is now a prolific conversation between a company and their customer, plus that customer’s contacts– their followers, other review site visitors, or their Facebook friends. As customers, when we have those social conversations, we expect the company to respond almost instantaneously.

So, what does the growing role of social media mean for CX practitioners? What role should social play in creating CX outcomes?

In the beginning, social media was owned by the marketing department – now it’s become everyone’s job. Today, most organizations do a good job of monitoring social insights and emotion at the brand level. Some of those organizations have also assembled customer care teams to respond to brand mentions on Twitter or other social sites. While all of these efforts are imperative to the brand and to acquiring and retaining customers, the CX practitioner’s role is to look at Social through a CX filter.

So many of our customers’ experiences with our companies happen at the front line via the dealership, the bank branch, the hotel property, or the local restaurant. Unfortunately, this critical piece of the customer experience – at the local level – is what is most often overlooked in a company’s social strategy. Rather than attempt to ineffectively tackle the whole social elephant or risk overlapping efforts with already-established brand social efforts, we should be focusing our social efforts on three manageable and bite-sized ways we can use the power of social to improve the CX where it matters most – at the local level. We can do this by:

  • Influencing online reputation by encouraging everyday customers to help generate positive reviews, leading to a more favorable social presence and increased customer conversion.
  • Monitoring social media, particularly online reviews and other sources of CX-filtered social media, alongside other sources of CX information to provide more representative CX insights and earlier issue detection for frontline managers.
  • Responding to online customer reviews, particularly at the often-overlooked channel level to increase customer retention through improved social response and problem resolution.

With these three actions, we can harness the unique strengths of the social data tsunami to not only bolster our positive online reputation, but also to fully integrate social content with other sources of customer data so we can see, sense, and act more quickly and more effectively than ever.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll dive into each of these aspects in depth and take a look at the how CX practitioners can influence, monitor, and respond to all of that social goodness that not just my family, but each of us are creating every day.

[1] “The Digital Universe of Opportunities: Rich Data and the Increasing Value of the Internet of Things” EMC2 an IDC, 2014

IDC, Business Intelligence Estimates