Are You Good At Business? Let Facebook Decide

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What makes a great business?

Put aside things like how ethical the business is, well-priced, marketed, value of the brand, etc… There is a sentiment (check out the Net Promoter Score) that a businesses success is based, primarily, on two things: its customer base and how well it takes care of its customers. Fair play. Seems like a perfect metric. Having customers means that you’re getting the basics right. Keeping happy customers means that you’re innovating and growing your market. So, what does a great business look like in 2015?

Just ask the Better Business Bureau?

There used to be formal institutions that actually rated and compared how well a business can handle issues, and then continue to grow (in fact, these organizations still exist). How good is a company’s products and services? There are organizations (both created commercially or for the public good) that act as a buffer between the corporation and the consumer. We had these unbiased places to go to better understand just how good a business is doing, or to act in defense of a troubled consumer.

Can Facebook completely take the power away from these organizations? 

Last week, The Globe And Mail published an article titled, Facebook rating pushes firms to up social-media responsiveness (I was interviewed and quoted in the article). Being verified on Twitter and Facebook (those coloured little check marks that appear next to an individual’s name, to ensure that they are the “real” them) is kind of a big deal for many. They see this verification as a status symbol (and, who doesn’t want to be “kind of a big deal”?). Now, Facebook is giving a different kind of verification to brand pages that provide a high-level of responsiveness. Can you feel the mad dash of brand’s to get their own little green badge just below their profile picture, giving them a “very responsive” verification?

So, just how responsive is your brand? 

Before you go off hunting for the badge, here is how Facebook defines “very responsive”: “brand pages must respond to customer questions in less than five minutes, 90 per cent of the time, over a seven-day period. Pages are re-evaluated every week.” You may want to go back and re-read that last sentence. Why has Facebook set the bar so high? Which brands truly have the infrastructure to deliver against this kind of criteria? Why should brands care? 

You brand really needs to pay attention to this metric.

You may believe that Facebook is setting the bar very high. Facebook might think otherwise. It doesn’t matter. What are you customer’s expectations? What do they want and require in a world where they can (and are) shopping the brand 24/7? What about the brands that, strategically, don’t feel the need to use Facebook as a customer service channel? The truth: none of these questions may hold any water in the boardroom any more. Last week, Facebook also announced that they had over one billion people connected on their platform in a single day. A staggering piece of data. Facebook may be using this new responsiveness rating as another way to show businesses why they need to spending more time (and money) within the Facebook world. Again, you can question Facebook’s business strategy all that you want, but the facts seem to be this: your consumers are on Facebook, they are asking brands millions of questions, and Facebook has the data to demonstrate just how happy consumers are with these questions and interactions.

“Facebook doesn’t work for us?

It’s a sentiment that I often hear in boardrooms and hallways at events from brand leaders. Perhaps that’s the wrong question. Hoping that Facebook can do a brand’s bidding is the wrong approach. Perhaps a more realistic question is this: if all of my customers are on Facebook, and Facebook is now benchmarking how responsive a brand is, what will I do to keep my customers happy and keep my competitors at bay. A Facebook strategy can’t simply be about promotions, transactions, impressions and engagement. Why? Because Facebook is becoming the new customer service channel, and it doesn’t much care about how much you have invested in your own customer support channels.

The new Facebook reality. Can you deal with it?