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SOCIAL Business Intelligence
by Ashish Gambhir, EVP, newBrandAnalytics


There’s a lot of talk about social media..  While the definitions may very, at its core, social media is a conversation …. between friends …. between family…. between colleagues….between customers…. between stakeholders.

As these conversations continue to multiply at a lightening-fast rate, the reach and influence of social media has exploded as well:

  • Facebook boasts some 640 million users worldwide, Twitter receives 95 million Tweets everyday and Yelp has surpassed 50 million monthly unique users.

  • The number of Foursquare check-ins exploded by 3400% in 2010.

  • 90% of consumers online trust recommendations from people they know; 70% trust opinions of unknown users.

The critical question for any business is how they can benefit from these conversations and what, if any, actionable intelligence can be extracted from them.

Social Media Takes Business Intelligence to the Next Level

Traditional Business Intelligence is limited to taking a rear-view mirror look at analytics - assessing customer surveys, sales and financial figures, etc. to measure and analyze a company’s performance.  While historically effective, a new opportunity has emerged with social media.

Conversations online about products and services continue to multiply at a lightning-fast pace. More so, the reach and influence of this commentary is unprecedented.

The conversations taking place in social media have transformed business opportunity to realize actionable insight from volumes of highly influential customer feedback online. The data presents an unmatched view what is happening here-and-now.  

Putting all of the social media activity to work in a productive way is a well-known business imperative.  Mining and translating the rich yet unstructured feedback embedded in online customer mentions, however, is the challenge. 

Social Business Intelligence --- the intersection of real-time customer feedback with business intelligence ---- is the sweet spot from which brands can most effectively leverage online feedback for operational, marketing, and strategic insight. By tapping into tools that blend social media feedback themes, customer satisfaction, author credibility algorithms, web analytics and enterprise business intelligence, brands can capture a complete, real-time view of customer satisfaction, synthesize it into the richest customer insight, and distill the actionable insights needed to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, increase revenue, and drive sustainable bottom-line results.

Social Customer Satisfaction Intelligence in Action

Companies have relied on small samples of bi-weekly or monthly shopper reports, dated surveys, and other traditional forms of guest satisfaction feedback to evaluate service and quality. The proliferation of websites, forums, and other social media sources devoted to consumer-generated reviews and comments, however, gives every customer an influential voice and companies an enormous data set to inform service and quality studies.

Utilizing social business intelligence from newBrandAnalytics, Atlanta-based Fifth Group, which owns and operates a portfolio of five restaurants and a full-service catering and events company, discovered the bottom-line value of the actionable insights they gain by gleaning the real-time voices of its customers.

Noise was never really an issue at Fifth Group’s South City Kitchen Vinings restaurant… or one they thought they needed to address.  Through newBrandAnalytic’s Social Guest Satisfaction solution, Robby Kukler (Partner, Fifth Group) identified that there was a critical mass of feedback about the volume in the restaurant being uncomfortable during dinner.  Digging deeper into the insight generated in Social Guest Satisfaction, he found that the comments were coming from diners who sat in the same portion of the restaurant.

The South City Kitchen Vinings team ran a few tests and determined that the sound system was operating inconsistently, which caused the volume to randomly increase and decrease in the portion of the restaurant where the diners who commented online mentioned the issue.  This was a classic symptom of being "store blind," living and breathing the concept on a daily basis that you become blind to some issues.

Management made a quick, low-cost fix on the system and since the change was implemented in January 2011, there have been no negative mentions online about volume being an issue at South City Kitchen Vinings.  As Kukler points out, the small change generated huge value.  “Imagine all the customers who experienced the issue but never mentioned it to us.  Those are customers we were likely losing because the volume of music in the restaurant was uncomfortable.  Thanks to the Social Guest Satisfaction platform, we were able to identify the issue, make the quick fix, and avoid losing customers to this issue going forward."

At Fifth Group‘s El Taco restaurant, management didn’t think slippery floors were an issue until Kukler noticed the feedback through Social Guest Satisfaction.  He found a critical mass of mentions online warning potential guests of El Taco that the restaurant has a slippery floor, particularly for women wearing heels.  Upon further analysis of the mentions, management found that the issue was focused to one specific part of the restaurant:  a high traffic area, on a turn from the restrooms, close to the food and beverage service area, where airborne grease likely travels, and where spills from the drink area occur.

The fix was simple enough:  El Taco now uses a longer mat in that area for an incremental charge of $5/week (they were already renting a mat in front of the area, but was not big enough to cover this area per customer feedback), and they have also added this portion of the restaurant as part of a regular management inspection.  Since making these slight changes in November 2010, there have been no more mentions online about floor being slippery.  So, for an incremental $5/week, El Taco avoids potential guest embarrassment and avoids potential slip and fall legal issues. 

“Overall, the benefit of having this level of customer intelligence has been remarkable, enabling me to easily identify problems so I can help guide my general managers, fix problems, and engage guests as needed by identifying critical authors,” says Kukler.  “What’s more, the ability to efficiently scan all customer commentary online in a structured way saves me hours per week. What was previously an anecdotal assessment of a subset of mentions online, my effort now generates a comprehensive analysis of social feedback that I realize efficiently in one hour every Monday AM.”


The Author

Ashish Gambhir


Ashish Gambhir is the Executive Vice President of newBrandAnalytics, the leading provider of social business intelligence solutions.  newBrandAnalytics uses social media feedback to provide companies with an unparalleled level of insightful business intelligence. Blending social media feedback, customer satisfaction, and enterprise business intelligence, newBrandAnalytics suite of comprehensive business intelligence soutions capture a complete, real-time view of customer feedback online, synthesize it into the richest customer insight, and equip executives with the actionable insights needed to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, increase revenue, and drive sustainable bottom-line results. (

Many more articles in Social Media in The CEO Refresher Archives
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Copyright 2011 by Ashish Gambhir. All rights reserved.

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