Read OR Listen?

Everybody talks about how Comcast turned their customer service reputation around by setting up the Comcast Cares account on Twitter. But it wasn’t Comcast that did it. It was Frank Eliason, setting out on his own to solve a problem. He wasn’t trying to make sales. He was trying to solve a problem, and it was his personal responses on a one on one level that made it work.

If you’re not willing to actually take the time to talk to your potential customers, social media “marketing” isn’t for you. It’s not marketing. It’s communicating. It’s creating friendships and relationships and being a valuable part of the society you decide to take part in. It’s listening to your customers and what they say to each other and then responding or acting on what you’ve learned to deepen their trust in you. It may even extend to giving them a place to complain about you so you can listen and make your product better.

When you give more to the community than you expect in return you can establish a place of respect. From that place people will look to your product because they like, trust and respect you and they know that if there’s a problem with the product you’ll be there to stand behind your brand. It’s kind of like going back to the small town days when the local merchant knew the names and desires of every customer. He knew that if he sold a bad product the community would spread the word and he’d be out of business, but if he reached out in good faith to give his customers the best he possibly could they would return with faith and loyalty. If you’re not willing to make that commitment for your customers, social media is not for you.

Image by suchitra prints via Flickr

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