In this presentation, David Alston of Radian6 looks first at the worries and objections that people have using social media. I noticed that they are very consistent with questions I hear when I speak at professional associations or in media training workshops.
The more interesting part is that where he gets into the ten conversations you need to listen for in social media. These (his points in bold) are very relevant for knowing what customers are looking for and answering the social phone. My take:
- The complaint - your customers may complain in the absence of a specific problem. In that case you do need to find the root cause of their dissatisfaction. Remember that asking for a discount is a symptom, not a cause.
- The compliment - indeed, one of the advantages of social media is that your customers may be providing testimonials on your behalf, without being asked. In this case, go with the flow and don't try to control their message. Graciously say - thank you.
- The problem - this is one to fix. It's usually fairly specific, or at least it can become specific when you are prepared to find out. When you see an escalation of messages about your service or product, you should be prepared to take action.
- The question or inquiry - be prepared to get into detail here. Questions signal interest and focus. This is not the place or time to get defensive. Also, wherever possible, if you can shine a positive light on the customer, you get kudos.
- The campaign impact - this may seem obvious. If you're out there with a promotion as part of a campaign, the amount of talk will go up. This is an opportunity to cross reference clicks with forwards and comments. The result is very powerful customer intelligence.
- The crisis - if someone had been online from the Motrin service team, they would have probably headed off part of the discomfort the online ad and the discussion that ensured created. You can learn to talk with customers differently if you're listening early on.
- The competitor - sometimes the gloves are off. Especially when facing pressure to deliver, competitors may be less inclined to be honorable. There's a potential pitfall to them when they become too rowdy, and to the industry when they become too careless on pricing, for example.
- The crowd - let's face it, our decisions are often made on the basis of the behavior of the people who are in the same predicament as we are. We see someone do something, and we think it's legit to do the same. We can observe the same behavior online, only magnified.
- The influencer - watch out for stereotypes on influence. Someone can be an influencer in your industry without having thousands of readers or dozens of comments on their site. The other consideration is that an influencer may pick up on an issue from a weak tie in their network with someone who you overlooked because they seemed to have a tiny audience.
- The point of need - if many of the other points did not convince you, this should. Your customers are out there looking for solutions and products like the ones you provide. Are you comfortable relying just on search driving them to your site? Why not put some skin in the game and meeting them out there?
Today at Fast Company Expert blog we discuss how to answer the social phone. What else are you seeing? What am I missing?