There was a time back right after the invention of electricity but before the widespread use of motorized vehicles that vendors with crappy salespeople didn’t have to worry about customers talking to each other and sharing their poor service experiences.
Heads up – the world’s changed.
Provide a bad experience — and you may not catch the comments that are made between your target customer.
The image above is from a message I posted to my private 100+ person 90 Minds Consulting network. It’s a non-profit associaton we’ve established using the closed Socialcast system for consultant to consultant communication.
No vendors. No outsiders. Totally private.
I regularly advise customers to buy products and services based solely on comments from my trusted contacts within this closed network
These deals can often approach 6 figures — and if one of my trusted colleagues in the group have given a recommendation then in my mind it’s the only solution that I recommend
Certainly you’re smart and you’ve setup Google Alerts so you (or your PR department) catch negative mentions your company’s name and you then instantly (reactively) try to solve the issue.
But what happens when the year is 2012 and your customers are smart enough to communicate like 90 Minds does — using social tools like Yammer, Socialcast or Podio — that aren’t open to indexing by Google?
These conversations never generate a Google Alert of a problem so you can hustle off and try to solve the issue (reactively).
This morning I had a conversation with someone asking why some of the social sites such as LinkedIn seemed to go through periods where they lack in mew conversation.
My feedback is that there’s plenty of conversation – some of it has just moved to private social enterprise tools.
Companies who have grown complacent and satisfied with putting out customer problems simply by listening to Google Alerts would be well advised to step up their game and become proactive at delivering exceptional service – instead of reactive and only responding to signals provided by public complaints online – because in some cases the most important signals are growing weaker or disappearing altogether.