When customers send you information, do you talk with them, listen to what they say, and try to do something about what you hear? Being half close to providing better service - the half that is part of your assumptions - is not good enough, and certainly is not going to take you from good to great.
You are used to starting the conversation with your product and service and what it does first. Advertising does that, media relations to a certain extent does that, and so does still a lot of marketing communications. With customer service, you wait for the customer to come to you.
What would happen if instead of you being half off, you were part of the conversation? Would you profit from being even half on? I bet you would. There is tremendous opportunity within conversations in social media, you just haven't realized what to do about it, yet.
The Power of Digital
If you have issues with your TV or cable services today you can DM Charles Miller @Directv or Frank Eliason @Comcastcares. Why wouldn't you be in the real time environment of Twitter if you have a real time kind of service? Peter Parkes or @PeteratSkype got me stumped on this one, but I guess every company starts somewhere.
Whatever your business does, you better believe that your customers are online today. Are you harnessing the power of digital to help them instead of just attempting to mine their thoughts?
Hosting your own Web events may also be a way to start new conversations with your customers and prospects.
There are many conversations happening online these days. Tracking them is only half the answer. It's what you do with the information that will make a difference to your customers. What are you listening for? Is the first question I'd ask you. The second is - what are you going to do about what you hear?
Marcel LeBrun wrote a terrific post about the value of growing your share of conversation. He says:
Every company’s product solves a problem or meets a need. The three questions you want to ask are:
- What are the needs or problems that your product is setting out to help with?
- How do people discuss these needs or problems online?
- When these problems are discussed, how prominent is your brand in these conversations?
Broadening the conversation, I would change the first and third questions around a little bit and ask, instead:
1. What is the job people are trying to do? What is their need and want?
3. Is your brand part of these conversations? Why/why not?
In some cases you may not be present because you have not figured out that the job your customers are trying to do could be solved by using your product or service. That is a brand new opportunity to begin developing a whole new base by participation.
Today at Fast Company expert blog we discuss how to participate in customer conversations without being the party crashers.
[My title for the image courtesy of Tony the Misfit: "come, listen"]