October 17, 2016 | Eric Feinberg

A Salesforce-owned Twitter could still be a win for CX Intelligence

Social Network Birds

With the fires cooling around a sale of Twitter, there’s still a case to be made for why Salesforce may eventually renew its interest in the social network despite ending talks late last week. It’s also probably the one buyer that could transform Twitter into a platform capable of elevating the landscape of customer experience (CX) intelligence to new heights.

CX Intelligence is an emerging field that seeks to provide businesses with data about the behavior and desires of customers for the purpose of allowing companies be more certain about how to keep them satisfied while improving the bottom line. And having spent a decade at ForeSee pioneering the business of customer experience measurement, it’s been interesting to watch the evolution of how CX data is measured and used. Twitter is one example we usually point at for providing an uneven level of feedback — as comments from customers about brands typically only fall under the categories of extremely positive or extremely negative experiences. Trying to extract the truth about how customers feel about their experience with a brand is near impossible with only Twitter data because the feedback is incomplete.

But it doesn’t need to always be this way. Twitter, I suspect, is capable of providing a much more complete level of customer feedback with the proper motivation and a like-minded parent company like Salesforce. And if successful, Salesforce will have acquired another very mighty tool to complement its suite of sales and CRM tools, (not to mention a valuable pool of data). That said, here are a few ways a Salesforce-owned Twitter could be a win for CX Intelligence…

Preserving the essence of Twitter, with additional applications

Twitter has proved itself as the leading platform for social discussion and reactions that are tied to live or shared experiences. (This much is evident as the company attempts to reposition itself more of a media entity with social components, rather than a standard social network platform.) Refitting Twitter to do essentially the same thing — but specific toward events that make sense to Salesforce customers — could have a huge impact. For instance, you could treat someone shopping on a retailer’s website as an event — and allow them to use their Twitter account to communicate to brands independent of the public Twitter platform. Customers could then track what they’ve communicated while brands would gain new insight into customer behavior and intent. Or in other words, make Twitter the vocal cords, lips, and tongue that allows them to communicate the all-too familiar marketing concept Voice of Customer.

Making Twitter proactive in obtaining feedback

While it would be tricky, a Twitter that had the ability to prompt users to take a short survey or poll would be huge for the purpose of CX intelligence. I’m not suggesting that this be done blindly or randomly, but rather having these prompts for additional feedback be tied to genuine interactions between a person and a brand — perhaps only if keywords or phrases are used. (And Twitter/Salesforce wouldn’t even need to power the technology behind those surveys, thus appealing to brands who already use a robust VoC platform, such as ForeSee.)

For example, a customer has a problem with their burrito from Eric’s taco shack and decides to tweet at them. A taco shack representative responds, and is able to get some resolution — thus triggering a prompt asking for additional feedback via a short survey. Of course not everyone will participate, but those that do will be providing valuable feedback that goes beyond tracking the extremely positive and negative comments made by people referencing a brand.

Utilizing Twitter data within Salesforce, and beyond

Twitter has a massive amount of data, most of it still waiting to be parsed through and made sense of. Salesforce would have access to this, and likely could find valuable ways to provide new insights specific to customers, brands, and even prospects. Some of this publicly available data about brands may also be compelling to a Salesforce user, who now has another layer of information about a client thanks to Twitter.

In conclusion

A Salesforce-owned Twitter would have many advantages to those seeking customer experience intelligence, but that wouldn’t be the biggest challenge. Salesforce would of course need to maintain the current version of Twitter, keeping engagement high and users returning often. Or more simply put, Twitter would still need to be Twitter despite any changes or pivots to the social network’s business model.

Categories: Insights

About the Author

Eric drives ForeSee’s marketing strategy, working closely with the company’s product, client service, and sales teams to infuse innovation and operational excellence into its offerings. Since joining ForeSee in 2004, he has contributed to the organization’s strategic growth, particularly providing leadership around mobile solutions. He is the author of several of the company’s thought leadership studies, including the 11th annual ForeSee Experience Index (FXI) and the American Employee Study. Eric is a frequent speaker on customer experience analytics, and marketing best practices. He is a board member of the Digital Analytics Association (DAA) and an adjunct professor of mobile marketing at the University of California, Irvine Extension. Previously, he worked as a web analyst, multichannel strategy consultant, usability specialist and focus group moderator. Eric is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

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