Does your business listen to your customers? If one of your customers were standing right in front of you talking would you talk to them? If they were complaining about something you did or product you sold them not working, would you listen?
- What if they wrote you a letter?
- What if they called you on the phone?
- What if they sent you a fax?
- What if they sent you an email?
- What if they wrote a review online?
- What if they put something on your Facebook wall?
- What if they tweeted you the message?
The first few are obvious hopefully. Of course you would should be the expected answer. What about the last ones? Are you listening to those channels for feedback in your business?
If you don’t have a Twitter account or Facebook page, then you’re somewhat off the hook because you’re not providing those as an outlet for your customers. Now, the fact that you’re not providing those as an outlet to your customers to engage with you is another issue entirely.
But! If you are on those channels, you need to be listening to them. You may look at them like they’re a TV commercial or a radio spot or a magazine advertisement, but they’re not. Those are NOT one-way communication channels. At least your customers and potential customers don’t expect them to be.
If you don’t plan to listen to your customers in those online social networks, then you should probably clearly state that in the bio of those accounts. I would actually give more credit to a company that told me in their Twitter bio that they weren’t going to respond to tweets and directed me to another channel, than I would for a company that had some welcoming bio and description and said the tweets or updates were coming from a real person.
Don’t Get Distracted
If you’re going to attempt to be engaged in social communities online, don’t get distracted away from that effort. This may sound weird, but don’t get so caught up in running your business that you forget about the business of engaging your customers.
So… Pizza Hut is just posting sales tweet after sales tweet and not actually taking action on any customer service issues. I can’t tell you how many companies we consult with that say things like, “Oh, we’re just going to use Twitter for Marketing.” and we warn them that the customer doesn’t care what your intent is when they’re frustrated and have a problem with your service.
Your customers ARE talking. The question is are you listening, hearing and responding appropriately?