Thursday, January 06, 2011

People WANT to Buy From Your Small Business

Why do people tweet and or post (wherever it may be) their dismay after getting a “talk-to-the-hand” response from the regular customer service channels? BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BE HEARD! They want to connect with someone that might treat them like a person instead of a transaction and solve their problem. Social media tools offer cost-effective ways for small locally-focused companies to listen to what customers are asking for and respond, building their community of brand advocates - and their business.

Give them a better option...listen to what they're asking for...set up a twitter account with your company's basic information and create a Google or socialmention alert (search kurrently and collecta if you're so inclined) for competitors in your community, looking for people posting comments that ask for help. See what you get. You may need to tweak the searches to get what's relevant to the solutions you provide. Imagine if you heard someone seeking a resolution to a problem that you could solve, when they complained about someone else (maybe that anonymous big-box store down the street, or even in the next town). Once you offer a solution that meets their immediate need (and you serve them well) you have the opportunity to invite them back and go about developing a long term relationship, telling the story of your business and why it matters to them and the city or town they live in.

Something I read late last year made me think about this “Delta said it sees social media channels like Twitter and Facebook as a chance to offer better customer service. So it created a channel called @DeltaAssist and told workers in the social-media lab to offer customers quick fixes, such as rebookings and reimbursements. Sometimes that means even waiving rules that consumers typically find unbendable at airlines.”

If there are enough customers using this channel to communicate with the companies they do business with, and they see it as a way around the traditionally unsatisfying customer service channels, it seems that you better be listening. If the term "twitter" and "Facebook" are new to you, maybe it's time to take a look and enter the fray, with listening the first priority.

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