The biggest disconnect for business leaders lies in their understanding of how they should treat customers they meet face-to-face, and how they should treat the ones they meet through their computer, iPad, or phone. There should be no difference.
In some organizations, getting legal approval for a tweet can take twelve to thirty-six hours. Are you kidding me? By the time that vetted post finally makes it to the customer, the conversation and the relationship have sailed.
85 percent of U.S. consumers say they would pay 5 percent to 25 percent more to ensure a superior customer experience. In addition, 76 percent of consumers say they appreciate it when brands and companies take a personal interest in them.
I’d say that social media is a bit like a kidney—you can survive with only one, but your chances of making it to old age are a lot better with two. Eventually, though, I think social media will be as important to a business as a strong heart.
Anyone working for a big company might be skeptical that a large business, or even a strictly online business, can form the same kind of friendly, loyal relationship with customers as a local retailer. I’m saying it’s already been done because I lived it.
When all that was available was an email address, they could send out a question, complaint, or comment into the ether and wait God knows how long until receiving a totally bland, formulaic, and useless reply. In the event they could dig up a phone number, they wasted millions, maybe even billions of hours per year on hold, or being transferred from one helpless or hapless rep to another. As companies outsourced their customer service, customers struggled to make themselves understood by script-reading foreigners.
I believe that we are living through the early days of a dramatic cultural shift that is bringing us back full circle, and that the world we live and work in now operates in a way that is surprisingly similar to the one our great-grandparents knew. Social media has transformed our world into one great big small town, dominated, as all vibrant towns used to be, by the strength of relationships, the currency of caring, and the power of word of mouth.
But what we call social media is not media, nor is it even a platform. It is a massive cultural shift that has profoundly affected the way society uses the greatest platform ever invented, the Internet.