Social media research firm newBrandAnalytics says surveys are defunct, since now companies can get all the data they want online. The firm says companies got a 25% increase in online customer reviews on their social sites. “Many of the more progressive brands have already decided to eliminate surveys and instead focus on social feedback as their primary source for customer experience information,” said the firm's CEO Kristin Muhlner.
The firm also said companies will use consumers' online habits to find out how their competitors are doing by benchmarking competitors' social data. They will also use that competitive data for product creation. NewBrandAnalytics predicts that more than a third of businesses will products explicitly because of what their competition’s online customers are saying.
Also, social intelligence will make real-time performance evaluation common, as companies figure out how to assess their performance from online chatter, and use comments -- from employees, customers, and consumers -- to help make hiring and firing decisions.
What all of this suggests is that social media currents won't belong only to companies' marketing departments. The firm predicts that buzz content will work its way into the decision-making processes of operations, human resources, customer service, and product development.
To the extent that such content is becoming richer and more sophisticated in terms of how it all gets parsed by analysis tools, companies' use of star ratings will become pretty much defunct, NewBrandAnalytics predicts. The firm says that marketers, rather, will look for themes in reviews to drive improvements.
And brand level intelligence will also become more local. The consultancy suggests that focusing on general brand image will become less important than studying location-specific social reviews, alerts and trouble spots because that will let them do a better job of addressing issues at the source: stores, franchises, and local brand touchpoints and extensions of various kinds.