Social Customer Service Metrics: 3 Case Studies

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How has marketing changed thanks to social media? Well, now 90% of customers are influenced by online reviews. Some companies cringe when they hear this: The decision whether to buy can come down to a good or bad Yelp review. And we all know some customers can be finicky, their opinions arbitrary and skewed. But some can be incredibly on point.   

Since so many people are influenced by consumer reviews, customer service is a new form of marketing. Customer satisfaction turns into word of mouth, word of mouth converts the potential customer.

Word of mouth/peer-to-peer marketing isn’t just happening via review platforms. It’s happening constantly on channels such as Facebook and Twitter, to name the major players. For that reason, social media listening, or monitoring, helps marketers and business owners understand more about the following:

  •         How people are talking about a brand – positive/negative sentiment
  •         Likes, dislikes concerning products
  •         Additional products or product modifications customers want  
  •         Complaints

The sheer volume of conversation going on allows businesses to analyze metrics and adjust customer service and marketing based on the numbers (i.e. number of negative posts about a product vs number of positive posts). Peer-to-peer marketing doesn’t exclude business-to-consumer social marketing—it runs alongside it.








We can learn quite a lot about what customers want, and what they like, from social media metrics. We can also learn from businesses who are doing this well. Here’s a look at some of the exemplars in different industries.

Five Guys

The burger franchise is all about social media for marketing and customer service. Through their efforts, Five Guys has one million followers on various channels, which has helped them open twelve-hundred locations worldwide. Online Marketing Specialist, Kenneth Westling, identifies three facets of the Five Guys social media campaign that contribute to its success:

  • Prioritizing customer service
  • Involving employees at home and abroad
  • Monitoring “engagement metrics” and “tailoring content based on what works for each social network audience”

Five Guys looks at posts related to brand and keywords and creates content based on what people are saying. Further, they use geo-locational data to zero in on marketing successes, product and service issues, and how people are feeling about unique campaigns around the world. They use Hootsuite to track as many types of hashtags about their company as possible and reach out to consumers on an individual level, talking with them, not at them.


The shipping company created a Customer Communications team to focus on, “Daily content and managing brand communications and reputation.” This team corresponds directly with a social customer service representative team, which reports to the overlying Social/Digital team. The Social/Digital team is more concerned with metrics and strategy. In terms of metrics, they measure the following:

  •         Conversation sentiment
  •         Engagement
  •         Organic audience growth
  •         Pull-through on Calls to Action

Their social customer service representatives work on responding to customer issues as quickly as possible. They get the most customer service inquiries on Twitter, then Facebook. They use social media to, “Serve as a barometer for customer concerns or business opportunities.” UPS’ efforts are an example of compartmentalizing different aspects of the social strategy, but integrating each team with the other.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines just landed on the list of Fortunes’ Top 50 Most Admired Companies. One reason is the companies’ practically legendary social media presence. Southwest’s “best practices” for social customer service include:

  •         Consistent engagement
  •         Timely action
  •         Genuine brand response

Southwest recently created a Listening Center, which they use to solve service issues, share information about their brand, and provide “one-contact resolution” to customers—which reflects their emphasis on personalization—they have teams devoted to each network and encourage flight attendants to post on social media when they find out about a customer’s special occasion.

As a take-home, here are five essential metrics to track:

  •         Engagement rate – amount of interest in a piece of content, divided by number of fans/followers
  •         Share of voice – your mentions vs those of a competitor
  •         Response time – amount of time it takes to respond to a query
  •         Response rate – percentage you responded to mentions
  •         Clicks – number of clicks

Any customer relationship management software can help you track these metrics. And ultimately, your social media campaign will benefit the more you listen.


Daniel_Matthewscropped_150x150Daniel Matthews is a freelance writer and musician from Boise, Idaho. In 2006, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in English with a Creative Writing Emphasis from Boise State University. Throughout his twenties, Daniel worked as a Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialist, a marketer, and a server. Last year he took the plunge and became a full-time writer. Daniel believes one of the most important, if not the most important aspect of modern business is the understanding and appreciate of diverse cultures. Please find him on Twitter.


5 Tips For Improving Franchise SEO Rankings

Franchise secretsIf you are a franchise owner, or even the owner of a multiple-location local business, search engine optimization has its own set of issues and challenges for your business.

The truth is that there are more brands than ever competing for search engine visibility.  Having corporate-backing from a franchise model doesn’t always help with local SEO.

What can you do to improve your rankings?

Plenty, and in this post I’ll outline 5 of the top ranking factors you need to be aware of when it comes to your franchise SEO efforts.

A lot of the work I will discuss wades into the realm of content marketing. That’s the area you want to focus on moving forward.

On the other hand, many sites are still dealing with problems of inaction, or lingering issues from past SEO campaigns.  You’ll need to address those immediately.

As mobile and content marketing continue to dominate, you need to make sure that old-school SEO tactics are not holding you back.

1. Website SEO Problems Franchises Need to Be Aware Of

In July, there was an SEMrush article that laid out the following problems SEO franchises run into.

You’ll want to “focus on and take caution of” these things.  Why? Because they could account for some of those nagging SEO issues that are weighing down your rankings.

Some of those franchise SEO problems include:

  • Duplicate Content
  • Interlinking
  • Domain Health and Risks

The bottom line is that you need original, useful content on each page rather than thin or duplicate content that is republished over and over again – especially on location pages. Consider each location page to be a mini-website for that location and fill it with rich content, such as a unique description, a video(s), and images.

Regarding on-page SEO, you need to “remove all unnecessary interlinking” and do a backlink audit to ensure your site is up to snuff.

If you have the resources, hiring an SEO expert to perform a comprehensive SEO audit is a good idea. That’s what the above SEMrush post suggests, and most in the SEO industry will tell you the same thing.

So…what does such an expert cost?

Typically you’re looking at a couple thousand dollars or more for a professional SEO audit…and that’s if you have a small site. Big sites, or those with lots of backlink clutter, will take more time and effort.

Can you do some of that auditing yourself?

I’m willing to bet you can. A good place to start for a DIY backlink audit would be this 2014 Moz link audit guide.

2. Moving Forward with Mobile

Now that you’ve cleaned up and addressed your site’s link issues, how else can you get ahead?

The answer is with mobile.

Last February, Search Engine Land (SEL) offered several tips for better SEO localization for franchises. These included:

  • Capturing Mobile Users
  • Encouraging Customer Reviews
  • Cleaning Up Directory Listings

More and more it’s about capturing mobile users. In October, it was reported that mobile searches surpassed desktop searches worldwide, with more than 50% of search queries coming from those platforms (tablets and smart phones).

Another tip the SEL post offers is to “localize with purpose,” meaning all your pages should have unique H1 and H2 titles as well as specific and SEO-friendly URLs.

These are great things to think about for your ongoing SEO and content marketing efforts.  Both will be needed to achieve and maintain organic search engine visibility in the future.

3. Location Pages for Franchises

In June, there was a wonderful guide for franchise SEO on Business 2 Community’s blog. It offered these five tips:

  • Get your site right
  • Address your brand’s online footprint
  • Optimize your location pages
  • Calibrate your business listings
  • Leverage other franchise locations

I’ll finish up discussing those last three bullet points.

For location pages, it’s critical that you provide Google with detailed, accurate information about all your physical locations. This is even more critical now with Google My Business pages and the overwhelming rise of mobile over desktop for search.

Google is factoring in all kinds of location-specific information when analyzing a query made from a mobile device. The better your business can tap into this trend, the more online leads you’ll get.

4. Business Listings for Franchises

When it comes to business listings we’re talking about the basics:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Operating hours

Those are the big four that Google wants to see consistently, and guess why? Your customers demand quick access to them.

Many times when they type in a business-specific word, like your name followed by a location, it’s a strong signal for your business address information.

Yet, many businesses do not track and monitor their NAP (Name Address Phone Number) listings.  This is especially important for franchise SEO, and a key factor to help businesses get ahead online.

You can take NAP listings a step further to gain more real estate in local SERPs (search engine results page).  Check out this post I did a few months ago on SERP Stacking and get some pointers on how to increase your company’s chances to show up several times on the first page of Google.

5. Leveraging The Franchise Model For SEO

When it comes performing SEO tactics, you want to make sure you’re not duplicating efforts or wasting resources.  Why have one franchise spend have a day on a social media campaign when another did the same thing the day before?

Think about ways to consolidate efforts to unlock the power of the network effect that is inherent in every franchise business.  

To the extent possible, make sure your franchise locations are talking with one another so you’re not doing the same thing over and over, or stepping on each others’ toes.


There are many ways for franchise businesses to improve their search engine rankings.  Simple changes to your website and a commitment to content marketing will help your franchise get ahead online. Also, giving Google crystal clear information about your business listings is key to any successful franchise SEO campaign.

If you’re struggling with search engine penalties or off-page SEO in general, you might want to start by checking out your site’s backlink profile.  Don’t forget about localized content that targets mobile users.  Regarding franchise businesses, mobile search is where the action is.  In fact, make sure your site is mobile-friendly right now:

Change comes from within, and you don’t have to sit still while the competition outranks you online.  At the end of the day, all SEO – including franchise SEO – is about applying the basics and having the discipline and commitment to execute the right SEO and content marketing tactics week in and week out.

Phil SingletonPhil Singleton owns and operates Kansas City Web Design, where he and his team provide custom WordPress and Magento web development, and Kansas City SEO, where he provides search engine optimization services to companies with hundreds of thousands in revenues to hundreds of millions.  To get more SEO and Internet marketing tips and advice, and learn more about Phil’s book writing adventures, follow him on Google+.