Back in the day when we as a society lived in small, tight knit towns, if you wanted to run a successful business, you had to get to know the members of your community. Remember some birthdays, ask about their kids, know who was getting married. They had to feel you cared and you had to add some extra touches to show it. If you didn’t care and were only out to make a quick buck, you would soon be out of business.
But as society became more and more isolated, as families tried to move further into the country and have the white picket fence separating them from there neighbors, faceless corporations took over the landscape, companies made the switch from caring about their customer experience to caring about the bottom line. Profit, over principle.
After companies realized they didn’t have to add little touches to make the experience seem special, they got rid of them. No more teenagers bagging your groceries, no more gas station attendants, no more talking to a real person on the phone if you have an issue. There’s an automated call center for that.
If someone had a bad customer service experience, who could they call about it? They can’t talk to a real person and corporate websites were laid out to make it extremely difficult to find an email or a phone number for someone to talk to. The only people who would be able to hear the complaints is the customer’s friends and neighbors in wherever she lived. But as we’ve isolated ourselves further and further, you would only be able to talk to a few people about it. It wouldn’t affect the bottom line, and was therefore not a concern. With brands having customers on a national or international level, it didn’t matter if someone went and told their ten friends about a bad experience, the ROI on caring wasn’t high enough for companies to implement it.
But now with the rise of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, we have come full circle and it is again absolutely vital to be engaging and friendly with the people who buy your product.
Where we used meet at the diner for a coffee in the morning to see what everyone’s up to, we now check out our news feed when we wake up. You now are once again aware that Mary’s son graduated high school and that Bobby has a dentist appointment and that Jason and Evelyn are expecting a baby.
Human beings are connected in a way that has never before been possible in history. Being open and getting valuable insight into what people would like to see from your company as opposed to keeping everyone shut out is the ONLY way to succeed in business these days.
The Thank You Economy is all about how building strong customer relationships are pivotal to a brand or company’s success.
If you were at a coffee shop and you overheard someone talking with their friend about how they had a bad experience at your establishment. Chances are high that you would go over, ask what the issue was, and see if there’s anything you could do to remedy the situation. Maybe give them a gift certificate or store credit or something to help patch things up. With social media, that’s what you have the opportunity to do with everyone. You can see what they’re saying, and what they’re thinking. If they like what you are doing, good, you can thank them for their loyalty. and if there’s an issue with your service, you can find out immediately and make changes in real time.
Some people may not like this but it’s a blessing. The alternative is they are having these conversations and you aren’t around to address the situation, which will have you losing them as customers for life.
Your intent matters
Whenever we interact with others, we want to display caring and that we want to interact with them. If the only reason you’re putting messages out on social media is to drive traffic towards your page or get likes, people will feel that and they will not care about you. Your intent needs to be coming from a place that you actually want to hear your customer’s opinions and thoughts and build a community. Not just get a large amount of likes on your page. You’re not gaining anything of value when you only hunt for likes and retweets, and are missing the entire point of social media. To really connect with others. Quality is more important then quantity in the Thank You Economy.
Social media is a long-term play, don’t worry if you aren’t seeing results right away. All that matters is that you’re making quality connections, engaging with people, and slowly you will see it start to play off in the way people hear about you more and more from social media as opposed to traditional ways of marketing.
With the unprecedented amount of choice that every consumer has, often time the only thing separating one buying decision from the other is that they associate a brand with someone they know. You want to have people talking about you, and you want to be talking back.
In the Thank You Economy we have to remember that word of mouth is once again a viable way of getting business and you need to be communicating with your community in order to keep that word of mouth rolling.
You need to genuinely care about what your customers needs and wants and desires are, and build a brand that is focused on connecting with your patrons emotionally.