Proactively monitoring the blogosphere: What are customers saying about your products?
On Tuesday I caught up with KM thought leader Blake Cahill who is now in the Brand Monitoring space, serving as VP of corporate marketing for Visible Technologies. I admit to being a bit jaded about new service and support products, having seen so many startups reinventing existing technology. But I was pleasantly surprised to have a briefing about a new product that completley blew me away. Talk about innovative! This vendor is solving a business problem most companies don’t even know they have yet.
One of my most frequent questions from SSPA members concerning Web 2.0 is how to track who is saying what about your products, helping to identify disgruntled customers that may damage your brand, as well as finding expert users who are very knowledgeable about your products, with whom you may want to align.
Visible Technologies offers TruCast, which analyzes blog postings from all over the globe that discuss your products and services, and automatically:
- Identifies who the bloggers/posters are
- Shows relationships between bloggers so you know their sphere of influence
- Rates postings as positive or negative to help pinpoint where action is required
This is very cool technology. The graphical displays are impressive, mapping networks of bloggers visually. It is interesting to me how many great tools for support originated as tools for marketing (upsell/cross-sell, churn analytics, BI tools).
Companies need to have an understanding of public perception of the brand, and of individual products. While marketing will use tools like TruCast for overall brand awareness, support management can leverage tools like this to:
- Identify disgruntled customers. If someone had a service issue that left them unhappy and talking smack about your products, this tool will identify them so you can proactively contact the customer to resolve the issue and make them happy. If they are someone likely to spout off publicly, some attention from corporate will likely soothe their bruised egos.
- Find experts for collaboration. Customers who share positive reviews of your products and offer helpful advice on technical issues should be recruited to be a part of your own community forum, perhaps shortcutting their trip to ‘expert’ designation. And again, customers that sing your praises publicly will likely be even more effusive when they receive positive recognition from you.
- Identify new content sources. As I have written previously, Knowledge Management in the Web 2.0 world means leveraging content in forums and blogs that can be useful to agents or customers. When you find a network of bloggers contributing thoughtful suggestions or compiling ‘best practices’ for use or administration of your products, why not index that content for problem resolution searches?
With my research focus this month on analytics and business intelligence, I’m happy to see that some innovative technology providers are bringing some order to the chaos that is today’s World Wide Web.
If you have any questions or comments, please add a comment or shoot me an email. Thanks for reading!