The Most Powerful Thing You Can Do In Social Media and It’s Free!

What to make a big difference in social media and stand out from your competitors? 

Respond to every email question, every good and negative tweet, and every good and negative Facebook post within minutes or one hour. Think it’s impossible? Think again. If you don’t, every minute that goes by—especially for a negative post—the customer continues to be angry and continues to tell family and friends.

Don’t have enough staff? You do. There are plenty of businesses and organizations —- large ones —- that have one person handling social media. You just need someone who loves doing social media 24/7. 
Think of it this way: If you were a customer how would you like to be treated? How impressed would you be if you posted a negative comment and received a message from someone at the business asking how they could help? It’s happened to me and it immediately changed my opinion of the company. I applaud Home Depot. I had a big problem that was not solved initially at the store level, tweeted about it and within minutes received a direct tweet back from someone at Home Depot asking how they cold help. Within minutes the store manager was on the phone with me.

Research backs this up: According to research from Conversocial, social media users expect the connection will be two-way.
It’s all about the customer experience, online, in store, and especially with social media.

(c) Joseph Barnes

"It’s the Relationship Economy—Stupid!"

Remember when Bill Clinton was running for president? The key strategic phrase the campaign used everywhere was, “It’s the economy, stupid!” They didn’t say it like that to the public but that was the phrase that everyone, including Bill Clinton, used to remind themselves to stay on target with their messaging.

Today, whether you are an online business, brick and mortar, education or nonprofit your phrase should be “It’s the Relationship Economy—Stupid!”

Everyone throughout your business needs to view customers, clients, patients, donors and/or students as “family.” Without each one of them, your business goes nowhere.

Today word of mouth about bad experiences can be shared to hundreds, even thousands of people. One needs to look no farther than the backlash at Bank of America’s attempt to start a debit card fee or Verizon’s attempt to charge a fee for paying your bill in a certain way. “It’s the Relationship Economy—Stupid!”

Whether you like it or not your brand is at stake in every touch point, right down to  how people answer the phones at your business.

The only way to build a trusting relationship with your customers is to demonstrate it. Every part of your business needs to be “remarkable.” That means, an experience that your customer feels so good about they will tell others—-otherwise you are only average. And average isn’t good enough.

Want your business to grow? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. When people in our business answer the phones, is it a “remarkable” customer experience?
  2. When people go to our website, is it a “remarkable” customer experience?
  3. When people to to our Facebook page, is it a “remarkable” customer experience?
  4. When people come into our business, is it a “remarkable” customer experience?

If you answered “no” to any of those questions,  create a plan to fix that immediately. Stage a remarkable customer experience. Train the staff to create remarkable experiences.

 Remember: “It’s the Relationship Economy—Stupid!”
(c) Joe Barnes

NEW RESEARCH: It’s All About the Customer Experience!

Forrester is out with a new report about retailing and it’s incredibly revealing. The report, titled “The Future of Retail and Tomorrow’s Consumer,” demonstrates just how powerful the “customer experience” is — at every touchpoint.

The number one finding: “The impact of delivering poor experiences in one channel extends across all touchpoints.
This means a bad experience in one channel cuts across an entire company and all touchpoints.

Another important finding:
“Retailers fall short of many consumers’ mobile expectations. Consumers are using mobile devices to inform
their purchase decisions across touchpoints and indicate a strong desire to leverage them even further in
the future.”

As for the younger demo, Forrester reports they have the highest expectations of the experience. 

The bottom line from Forrester:

“A retailer who delivers a sub‐par online or mobile experience, for example, will see the impact of that experience
reflected in how consumers view the company’s other channels

Why Customer Service Matters

There’s a lot of buzz about banking these days, mostly negative. Why? Fees, people feel like they are just a number, they are constantly waiting for the traditional teller, and they need to go to different people for different transactions. Oh but wait—some now offer a free cup of coffee or a piece of candy. 

Nationally we’ve seen a big movement toward credit unions, partly because of the “threat” of fees, partly because of customer service. Uh, make that how you are treated as a customer. 
On the West Coast there are two shining examples of how to treat customers differently:
1) BECU: Boeing Employees Credit Union, open to all Washington state residents.
2) Umpqua Bank: Now in California, Oregon and Washington, and rated as one of the top places to work.
If you walk into either of these one person—get that one person—can handle all of your transactions. They look at you when you walk in, they smile, and they are different. They treat you like you would like to be treated. Oh by the way, at any Umpqua branch there is a phone you can pick up and immediately be connected to the CEO!
Take a look at what both look like and think about this: Is every tough point in your organization providing top notch customer service that is “remarkable?”

Social Media Changing Customer Expectations!

Karlene Lukoviz has it right in Marketing Daily when she says social media is changing customer expectations.

In a new study by the Council and its Customer Experience Board results show “The convergence of new, free or low-cost interactive digital media channels, social networks and online communities and mobile messaging devices are not only empowering consumers to bypass once-dominant services and channels, but establishing content-based relationships with which more traditional players cannot currently compete.”

“Expectations for always-on access to content on every device and more personalized on-demand services and experiences are forcing service providers to re-think their operational structures, product portfolios, customer handling systems, and strategic partnerships and investments.”

Other highlights include:

  • Nearly half (47%) of marketer respondents said that the growth of social networking and user-generated content represent the most significant digital lifestyle shift affecting the communications market.

  • The biggest sources of customer dissatisfaction are unmet needs and expectations (59%).

  • More than half said their company cultures and structures are not aligned around the customer.