Too many people look at the Internet in general and Social Media specifically as a way to announce their products and services, to tell the potential consumer what they think they need or want to hear and also to give out the support they think the customer needs.
None of these things are necessarily what the customer WANTS. Nothing pisses me off when going to a help screen at a website and instead of being given a phone number or email address to ask for help I get that companies FAQ and their Knowledge Base. You would think that with their savings on brick and mortar buildings they could hire a few phone operators who were trained in customer service.
As an example today. I sold something on Ebay. I printed a shipping label from Ebay and paid with my PayPal account. Of course with my luck the way it has been lately that’s exactly the time the Internet decided to take a shit for a few seconds. So it never printed my label I had paid for.
I think, no big deal and go to Ebay and click the support and it leads me to a FAQ that has a search box. I am thinking good ole Ebay, there must have been a million people who needed to reprint a label.
BUT.. NO!!!!! I could buy more labels with detailed instructions, I could buy labels in batch mode and print only a select one. Nothing was said how to reprint a label aside from labels could only be reprinted for a certain number of hours. So now do they NOT tell me how to reprint a label they tell me I only have a certain amount of time to reprint a label.
I am not at all happy at this point so I did what ever internet person does these days and went to Google and typed in “How do I reprint a shipping label I purchased on Ebay?”. Guess what… there were a million people who had the same thing happen, they were all bitching that Ebay didn’t bother to tell them how to do it but someone had figured it out and posted it and a ton of people spread the word.
So my question is … If there was another game in town, other than Ebay do you think Ebay would take customer support for its sellers more seriously, being they would have to compete for their market share?
Most of us do not have the market all sewed up so we do care. Instead of just announcing things, telling us what we need to know, we need to be “Socializing” out customers experience. Don’t make the BUZZ about your company something you didn’t do or something you did wrong but make it how great your product, service, and support is.
Social Media is a two way street. We get to finally inexpensively communicate with our customers to improve our service. Don’t just tell them what we think they need to hear. Ask them what they want to hear. Establish a line of communication between your company and your customers and like any great salesperson knows..if you keep your mouth shut and just listen your customer will tell you what you need to do to get or to keep their business.
Depending on your companies size hire one or more social media people who can effectively communicate with your customers. Set up and monitor forums for questions and answers, do new product announcements and ask your potential customers what they think, then ACT on their thoughts.
I learned a long time ago that every good customer that loves you only has five friends to tell about you. Every customer who doesn’t like you has two hundred friends to tell about you. Magnify this by the internet multiplication factor of 100 and now we are talking thousands of people talking about you good and bad.
So listen to both and act on the bad. If you have a real problem address it in the venue you are communicating through. If it is a big problem then change something.
It is no longer you telling people: “Look at us, We are GREAT!” but now it is people (your customers and potential customers saying: “Are they GREAT? — Did they used to be GREAT? — Do they SUCK? This is why they suck. and many many more. Get on top of this and interact with these people.
REMEMBER: The Internet is not a billboard.