I was reading a post recently that discussed “community”. It talked about how community is part of your product and how it will improve your product. This led to my thinking about the value of building a community for your brand, and the importance of listening to what’s being said about your company or product.
Why is building a community important? What do you need to know about what’s being said?
Today, when a consumer buys a product, or becomes a member of a website, they get access to a lot of knowledge about that product. When they become part of your community, they get something more. Now they’re part of something – part of a community. In a world where connection is everything, we’ve somehow become less connected physically. However; we still need to feel connected and a community gives us that feeling. We have the ability to chat with somebody, ask questions, and get help in real time.
Is anybody listening?
When you can hear what customers are saying to each other, you get a candid look at what they like or don’t like. This is invaluable input and better yet, it makes a company seem more real and caring. Think about it, a company that cares about what you think of their product makes you feel good and your user experience is enhanced. That’s an emotional connection to a product that is hard to replace.
Are you Listening?
An amazing story I’d like to share is one I read from the well-known Peter Shankman (author, entrepreneur, speaker, and worldwide connector; best known for founding Help A Reporter Out (HARO), and now Vice President and Small Business Evangelist for Vocus). When boarding a plane from a whirlwind day trip, Peter sent out a “joke tweet” that ended up turning into “we really do listen”, and `the greatest customer service story ever told’.
It was certainly a joke and he was completely flabbergasted at the result.
He went on to say that today, “customer service isn’t about telling people how great you are. It’s about producing amazing moments in time, and letting those moments become the focal point of how amazing you are, told not by you, but by the customer who you thrilled. They tell their friends, and the trust level goes up at a factor of a thousand.”
So, what can we learn from Shankman’s experience?
Be aware of what people are saying about you. Respond accordingly. Perhaps most importantly, have a chain of command in place that actually lets you do things in real time. Remember, had Morton’s had to get permission to make this happen, and go through numerous channels for approval, there’s no way this would have worked.
If you have a minute take a look at the full scenario here, “The Greatest Customer Service Story Ever Told, Starring Morton’s Steakhouse.”
So…again, are you listening?