I’m not a Klout hater, let’s get that out of the way first. But I AM someone who follows online influence pretty closely and I can tell you right now that if you’re a company basing customer service on Klout scores, you’re making a mistake.
And yes, I’m about to tell you why.
I have nothing against Klout, I actually think it’s a good, general measure of where someone lands in the big picture online. Its +Ks are headed in the right direction, helping to recognize some influencers in various fields and I think its Perks (though often lame) are moving in the right direction as well, offering a few neat rewards that are big picture appropriate.
But now let’s discuss the newest way companies are using Klout: basing their customer service on clients’ Klout scores.
As I mentioned, Klout is a good general measure, but that’s about it. Sure, Klout has Brand Squad pages, but that’s as specific as it gets and I believe that’s still in beta. AND, from what I’ve seen on the Red Bull page (their test case) they’re still figuring out the specifics. And there’s a LOT to figure out.
A high Klout score does NOT tell you who is most influential about your brand – it tells you who is most influential online. There’s a BIG difference between the two. A person could have a Klout score of 11 and less than 1,000 followers, but her reach in your industry could be extraordinary, depending on how focused she is online and who listens to her. Klout does not tell you this.
Also, I’ll let you in on a little secret: The folks with the highest Klout scores are social media types that are followed by other social media types (it’s kind of a vicious cycle). So unless that’s your target audience (and I seriously doubt it is, because why would it be?), you’re not only courting the wrong people, you’re pissing off and alienating your REAL target audience by ignoring them.
Offer some perks based on Klout if you like (please do, I like them!), but don’t assume that social media moguls are more important than the rest of your customers. Are your rich customers more important than middle/lower class customers? I bet you have many more of the latter than the former – and the same goes for Klout. You have a few clients with high Klout scores and droves with low scores. Do you really want to send the message that only folks with more [insert anything] are valuable to your brand?
And all of this comes from someone with a Klout score of 55, by the way, so I’m not bitter (call me paranoid if you like, just had to point that out). I’m just pretty horrified that any company would base its customer service on a Klout score.
What do you make of this practice? Does it horrify you as well?
(Unhappy customer image from Shutterstock)