Social Network Measures for Customer Centricity
by David Loshin
Originally published September 26, 2013
Developing a model for representing social networks and then analyzing those networks for profitable insight often hinges on characterizing any specific individual’s sphere of influence across that network. And, of course, the sphere of influence and the strength of that influence must be reflected in the social network model. But that also means that you must be able to measure any individual’s sphere of influence, and that highlights the importance of different graph metrics. These metrics are intended to provide some insight into the qualitative characteristics associated with linkages within and across the network. In turn, these metric measures can be evaluated in the context of different types of relationships in the graph that point to the different qualities and criteria for identification of key individuals within the social network.
These are a subset of the types of features or discoveries one might look for in a social network. In turn, they are all similar in that they map technical aspects of the representative network graph to behavioral or demographic aspects of real relationships and group dynamics.
Understanding the dynamics associated with the ways that individual customers interact within the context of different characteristic sub-communities can guide your company’s methods of sharing information and generally positively impact the outcomes of communicating with any specific customer. This suggests blending the use of social network analysis and selected network metrics with your customer profile.
The goal is to leverage knowledge about a customer’s roles within the community to increase overall value. For example, one customer may have a relatively low volume of sales, but within the customer community has a high measure of closeness centrality. That might imply that this customer is well-connected and well-known, and the customer’s opinion is highly respected. Therefore, it might be a reasonable decision to ensure a positive experience at every touch point even if the immediate operational cost might seem to be high.
The reason is because that specific customer’s experiences are likely to be shared among a broad spectrum of other individuals, potentially impacting their buying or retention decisions. A good experience for an influential customer translates to increased value, while a bad experience may result in reduced revenues and ultimately attrition. This means that it is reasonable to consider the incorporation of network measures as part of an overall customer valuation model and interaction strategy.
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