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I think this is a good follow-up to the previous article. I agree that not everything needs to be assigned an ROI or counted. I think my problem is more with your title than with the content. Anytime some says ROI isn't important or should be forgotten I cringe. Just look at what happened at the SXSWi 2012 ROI panel. People attending the panel and following online were left with more questions than answers becuase we as marketers are still arguing how to track ROI on social media. The last thing we need is more people saying to forget about it or that it doesn't matter. I get that you are trying to make a point that sometimes too much emphasis is placed on ROI and not enough on other very important aspects such as word-of-mouth. Not everything needs a number applied to it, but if it does need one make sure you do and know how to track it.
Like I said, I like this article much more than the other one. Totally get what you are saying. Just a suggestion though, maybe stay away from titles that say "Forget ROI" or ROI doesn't matter. It can put a bad taste in someone's mouth.
Just a thought. Good job on this follow-up.
While I do agree that providing a great customer experience is important to social media, heck to all marketing efforts, you can't just throw ROI out the window. Word-of-mouth is a very powerful tool that can generate a lot of business, but to start that word-of-mouth it takes a lot of planning and resources. I dare anyone to go to their CEO and tell them that the new marketing plan is to forget about ROI and focus on "enchantment." Probably not going to go over too well. The bottom line for all business comes down to money.
To start this program of improving your businesses' customer service efforts will require drafting new guidelines to share with your employees, possible training, and potentially a program budget. Positive word-of-mouth is definitely a desired outcome for these efforts, but it is not the end. The ultimate goal is to turn those word-of-mouth people into paying customers. Thus generating a ROI. That ROI can also be tracked through this customer service campaign so that you can show your CEO or COO why you put so much emphasis on social media marketing.
For example: say you convince your CEO to put $20,000 into a new social media customer service campaign to generate postive buzz about your business. You begin tracking sales, online mentions, positive and negative opinions, and customer feedback. Over the next 6 months you see that your sales increase 110%, your online reputation has increased, and the number of people talking about your business has increase dramatically. You factor in any PR stories that may have taken place, any additional advertising, and other key events that may have affect this increase, and in the end hopefully you are left with a definite coorelation between your customer service efforts and your sales increase. Your CEO is now very happy because you have lowered cost per customer, improved your reputation and generated a ROI.
Word-of-mouth marketing is vital to a business, but it too is tied to ROI no matter how much you don't want it to be. It's a piece to the puzzle of running a business.
That being said, I think this is a great article discussing why outstanding customer service is important. It can make or break a business. It's just never a good idea in any marketing efforts to say "Forget about ROI."