Shape Up or Break Up?

Your Choice:

Fresh on the heels of Valentine’s Day, and returning to work the next morning seemed a good time to take stock of how your marketing or branding efforts pay off. Where it matters, in the hearts and minds of your customers. In your office right now maybe you or someone still has that thoughtful bouquet that their loved one sent them, fading as it were, from sitting there all weekend.

That is how you should view your efforts, what is their shelf-life, and how does it play out over all the touch-points and life-cycle of a typical consumer. This sounds like heady stuff, but it some of the most basic psychology. heartbeat of heartache_inforgraphic header

But with a little attention, and finesse, you can do something extraordinary with the opportunity. What sets you apart from your competitor and keeps them coming back doesn’t solely rest upon your product or service. It is a web of connections between things you may not even realize fully.

This infographic stretches the analogy or metaphor to refer to ‘relationship gurus’ but understand it only as they are trying to apply it to your customer service. Other than that this infographic perfectly encapsulates what you need to focus on.

Today customer service isn’t the phone call or service desk in a store, it is 24/7 and global, and as easy to reach as the phone inside your customer’s pocket. What plans do you have for dealing with that? Is there a plan for crisis management? This is important, and should not be something you come up with once you become a hot-topic on Twitter or your Facebook page is a flood of angry people because your intern posted something stupid, or an employee was found doing something reprehensible.

In the latter situation you didn’t even do anything but hire them, they went on social media or were caught on a cell phone camera doing something horrible. This reflects badly on you, and now you have to take quick & effective PR measures to keep it from costing you business.

Like great websites & lovers: BE RESPONSIVE

Bullhorn or Conversation: LISTEN

Don’t talk about it. Be about it: SHOW YOU CARE

Listen to their needs

Use customer data sources to understand your customers and give them what they want, when they want it, and through the channels they prefer.

Show them you care

Company-consumer relationships are a lot like dating: There are so many options to choose from. So, show customers what makes you the best catch.

Focus on treating your customers right in 2016 and watch the love grow.

Be responsive

Although many brands place emphasis on strengthening the customer experience, the real relationship gurus focus on responsiveness and speed.

Break up or Make up?

71% of customers say their typical response to a bad experience is to stop doing business with the company altogether.

For microbrands or solo entrepreneurs this is critical

Creating those oft sought after micromoments, be they praise or comfort, make all the difference in the world as to whether they will continue to use your service, hire you for the first time, or recommend you to their friends. The alternative is to bad-mouth you to everyone who will listen and leave that indelibly on the internet where anyone who sees it or searches later on will find.

You often don’t have someone who can manage these connections either. Left alone to do it yourself, and either flailing wildly or being completely unreachable will land you in exactly the same spot. How to cut through the noise, the clutter, and get right to the heart of the matter without wasting your precious and all to valuable time?

Making sure you have a system that isn’t so automated that it completely lacks a human touch is a start. Don’t just post things to your various social media platforms and expect your followers to do all the work. They look to you to start the conversation, to craft the experience, and will follow your lead. Also relying heavily on your friends & family to do this will create an echo chamber by which you completely miss the chance to grow & connect with people.

This is in no way a recipe for easy success, get 1,000 likes, a million followers, have them hanging on whatever you post. No, you have to start with a strategy, not just it out there and hope they come. Have a goal that isn’t bookended by likes and comments on social media. If you aren’t embodying these goals in every social media interaction then you might as well not have a profile anywhere. Just keep your personal profiles, and call it a day. In fact stop promoting it there too, I’ll tell you what your friends won’t ~ you are a bore about it most of the time.

This week, and all week, we are going to focus on the not-so-easy to swallow fact that things on the internet are not as easy as they seem. Dispelling what is tech churnalism, and social media gurus who want you to believe the next get rich scheme is the key to success. For the price of admission to their workshop or conference or the price of their latest “e-book,” and available right after you give them your email address.

Without sounding completely dour, this is a time of unprecedented access. The internet does make many things very easy, but that translates into easy to start and hard to maintain. Just because you can take a selfie of your product or office, doesn’t mean it has value. What is the narrative behind it all? Are you using each one to propel them along or just to feed your own narcissistic desires. Sure you can Snapchat the process but what is that value beyond the exposure? Is it designed not only to be fun & engaging, but to also answer a relevant question your customers might have? Are you actually using social media strategically or when you have a spare minute? The difference between planning out & strategically employing social media, so that in the long run you can use it over & over, reaping benefits from a longer term view over the rather hedonistic and nihilistic in-the-spare-moment ethos.

Valentine’s Day reminded me that the things I’d posted 5 years ago & older were still of value, and designed to be not just of the moment, but encompassing a longer world view. While using social media yesterday showed me that most brands, sites, and people were rather Kardashian in their approach. My feed for GLEAMsocial was filled with the most banal trifles imaginable. All queued up and ready to go out, over & over all day. On a Sunday, when there is an All-Star Game, major holiday, album release, and many other topical things that were in no way related to the drivel they were posting.

They weren’t even thematic they were just eyesores masquerading as clickbait. Stop doing this, no one wants to see it. Remember that social media is an extension of the relationship and ask yourself if you would honestly text that annoying message to someone on Valentine’s Day? How about after they just got some terrible news? In the Attention Economy, the era of ad-blocking, muting & unfriending, tread cautiously. Don’t wear out your welcome patting yourself on the back, or posting thirst traps for your audience. Be circumspect without necessarily being a wallflower, tell the story you’d want to hear, the ones you have heard, and do it with genuine glee.

Do these things instead & you’ll find people beating down your door, filling up your direct messages & email, or what we all wish for — clicking that Buy button.