Hey, Facebook, It's Time For The LOVE Button

Social media practitioners have pursued "Likes" of late as if they were going out of style. Land on the Facebook page for brands such as Bud Light, Mercedes and Allstate and the appeal to hit the Like button is a full-page event. Not that this is in itself bad business; in fact, many social media gurus would call this a "best practice." But after spending two days with companies seeking game-changing levels of customer satisfaction, the simple pursuit of Like feels inadequate, if not downright unlikeable.

Explained Deborah Eastman, GM of business consulting at Satmetrix, the host of the Satmetrix Net Promoter Conference I attended last week, "'Like' to me is opting in; I don't think it identifies you as a promoter or a passive or a detractor." More to the point, Eastman added, "I don't think Net Promoter is about Like; it's about Love." And while this might seem a subtle distinction, the brands that are currently pursuing Love as a business strategy are also starting to bring this mentality to their social activities.



Mighty Leaf Tea Brews Up Love
In her presentation on the intersection of social media and Net Promoter, Eastman highlighted a number of good and not-so-good cases. Among the better ones was Mighty Leaf Tea, a company known for having fanatical loyalists. Including a customer support tab on its Facebook page, Mighty Leaf offers its fans a chance to ask questions, share an idea, report a problem and give praise. (By the way, its Support tab is powered by Get Satisfaction's Facebook app.)

Type in a question about Mighty Leaf on the Support tab, and you just might find an answer already there from another fan. Encouraging customer-to-customer interactions not only builds a sense of community around a brand, but it also offers the potential to lower customer service costs as "promoters" do the company's work. That said, relying on Facebook fans exclusively to do this work could lessen the Love. With a number of the questions posted by fans currently unanswered on Facebook, Love for Mighty Leaf could be leaking just a bit.

VirginMedia Plugs into Love
Eastman also pointed to VirginMedia, "the Comcast of the UK," as a company plugged into the social scene. With a "tweam" in place monitoring tweets 24/7, VirginMedia was more than ready when actor/comedian Stephen Fry tweeted about his cable service going down to his over 2 million Twitter followers. Relaying the complaint to customer service, VirginMedia rushed a repair truck to Fry's house and within a couple of hours had fixed the problem.

Not surprisingly, Fry was overjoyed by the speed of Virgin's response, singing its praises in tweet after tweet. Recognizing that customer "voices" are not all created equal, Virgin's response to Fry's very public complaint was indeed impressive both in terms of speed and cross-functional integration. Interestingly, VirginMedia is not quite on its game with Facebook, where a veritable "suckfest" is happening on its Reviews tab with service complaints piling up like open wounds in a knife fight.

Like is Not Love
My purpose in sharing these two mini-cases is multi-fold. First is the simple recognition that gaining a Like is nice but hardly an end in itself. True brand advocates are created and maintained by doing things that exceed expectations. If you put up a Facebook fan page, it is expected that you, the brand, will respond within at least 24 hours. However, if your CEO responds, as Michael Dell does on some occasions via his tweets, then you just might blow someone away.

Another key here is the recognition that social media is best approached from a customer experience perspective rather than a marketing channel. Marketing tends to focus on what to say while customer experience professionals emphasize actions, asking themselves "what can we do to turn this nice customer into a super promoter?" This approach yields such social innovations as BestBuy's Twelpforce and the use of functional apps like Get Satisfaction's on Facebook fan pages.

This particular understanding may also affect where you put your social media team within the organization. Explained Gibbs Jones, senior vice president of customer experience at Suddenlink, a cable company making bold moves to improve customer satisfaction, "Social media is a shared responsibility between Customer Experience and Corporate Communication (PR), with some involvement from Marketing." Since Gibbs and his team are actively pursuing Love, they know a simple Like is just the table stakes, akin to "just responding during business hours."

Then there is the rather advanced notion that social media can and should be integrated into what the Satmetrix folks call a "closed-loop process." Explained Eastman, "You need to know if they are customers or not; you need to know if they are high-value customers or not." With this knowledge, you can begin to craft an appropriate customer experience that ultimately integrates social into a systematic monitoring of customer engagement across all touch points.

Are You Ready for the Love Button?
Pursuing Love via social media will put you way ahead of the crowd. Reported Eastman, "Few of our customers are integrating social media in Net Promoter at this point," and these are the folks that are leading the way with Love-engendering customer experiences in just about every other channel. One exception is Chick-fil-a, whose legendary in-store customer experiences have begun to inform its approach to Facebook, drawing a whopping 3.7million Likes thus far. Undoubtedly, should Zuckerberg and Co. heed our call for a Love button, true fans of brands like Chick-fil-a will simply eat it up.

Final Note: For a deeper dive into the intersection of Net Promoter and social media, see my Q&A with Deborah Eastman on

4 comments about "Hey, Facebook, It's Time For The LOVE Button ".
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  1. Victoria Bianchini from AdKeeper, February 8, 2011 at 3:20 p.m.

    Being a big fan of Tim Sanders after having read his "Love is the Killer App," I'm a big believer in bringing love into the picture.

    The customer experience should be about making things so easy, so intuitive (and delightful) that you can't help but become a brand advocate.

    I've always said that the best marketing is a good product.

    At AdKeeper we're working on improving the overall user experience by giving people more time by giving them control over when they consumer advertising. In conjunction with the LOVE Button I'll be looking forward to seeing the KEEP button showing up all over the web.

  2. Bliss Dake, February 8, 2011 at 7:23 p.m.

    Hi Drew, we appreciate you including a reference to Mighty Leaf in your post and our use of the Get Satisfaction support tab on Facebook. You mention that a number of customer questions are showing as unanswered. If you click on customer questions that are listed in the Support tab as unanswered, you will see that in almost all cases we provided a response to the customer. We need to touch base with Get Satisfaction to understand why in the tab its showing as "unanswered" even though we've provided responses. Regardless, the tab continues to provide us a with nice way to connect with customers via Facebook and keep steeping up the LOVE.

  3. Drew Neisser from Renegade, February 9, 2011 at 2:53 p.m.

    Thanks for your comments Bliss and Victoria. Bliss-great job. Victoria--I will check out Adkeeper.

    Also FYI, I just learned that a company called Systino software has integrated NPS into Facebook for their customer FleetFeet in a love-generating fashion:

  4. Monique Elwell, February 14, 2011 at 6:33 p.m.

    Drew, we actually use the Net Promoter Score along with a few other questions to measure the ROI of what we do in social media on behalf of our clients. To use your words, we "measure the love." It's working very well as a form of measurement. We have added a fourth class to the Net Promoter Classifications, the "Super Fan". For a few of our clients, we have identified SuperFans who engage with the brand regularly at least once every two weeks, refer the brand to at least 10 friends or more, etc.

    It takes us a while (roughly 6 - 12 months) to get that level of profound emotional connection with the brand through the social media channels, but it is doable. And with NPS, we can prove to our clients that we did it by developing the right strategy and engaging appropriately in their channels.

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