Say you have comment cards in your restaurant. People sparsely write on them, but most of the comments written are something to the order of, “food was great,” or “the food sucked.” So, as a business owner, you tend to ignore them.
But what if one day you finally got a comment card that gave you useful feedback? Something along the lines of, “the cod tasted fresh but had a little bit too much salt.”
Most restaurant owners would probably nod their head. Some might suggest to the chef that they should “tone down on the salt a bit,” and then continue plugging away on other, seemingly more important things, like adjusting the copy for their ad in the local newspaper.
But the smart ones would track down those customers that may be unsatisfied with the salt level in the fish dishes, ask them if they were unsatisfied about anything else and just listen. As in, sit there, consume all of what that customer is saying to them, and respond in a helpful and meaningful manner. Good customer service isn’t just about talking to your customers and making them feel heard. It’s about actually listening.
Listening Using Social Media
But in the age of social media, listening isn’t just constrained to the physical world. As I’ve pointed out before, social media too has become an inherent part of listening to customers.
Although I have frequently criticized Twitter for being just what I’ve warned about — broadcasting — it still stands as an important avenue with which businesses can reach out to customers and gain important feedback about their business.
But that doesn’t occur naturally. Setting up a Twitter account and simply sitting and waiting for customers to tweet at your business, singing their praises. Unless you’re a well-established brand, that simply won’t happen.
What defines success through such mediums as Twitter is being able to weed out the meaningless drivel that is constantly being shoveled into the Internet on an hourly basis, and finding what’s important. For your company, that might mean finding those within the community that are already talking about your business, and actively engaging with them.
An easy way to do so is to simply search through Twitter searches for such things as your business name, or specific needs that customers might have in your particular city, such as “want food” or “need plumbing”. Businesses with good customer service plans and initiatives seek out those that may be dissatisfied or upset with their current services.
Business The Easy Way
Sure, it’s simple, but a lot of businesses don’t necessarily think about going out of their way to involve themselves in other people’s conversations. Plus, they think that it’s too nosy.
The same can be said of Facebook and other social networking sites. Finding conversations within those platforms that are relevant to your business is a great way to engage with customers and make it at least seem like your business is listening. Imagine if a customer posts on status that they’ve had a great time at a restaurant and that business likes and comments on their post stating that it was ‘great to have them.’ They’ve not only signaled to that person that they are an active listener within the community, but also that they care about them as an individual. Where do you think that person is going to head back to the next time they are looking for a great restaurant with a friendly environment? Probably the restaurant that they have determined to be a great listener with good customer service.
Listening can not only grant you important insight into your customer’s thoughts and expectations of your business, but it’s also an easy (and fun) way to build a better relationship among your customers and exemplify truly good customer service.. Truly, that’s what makes for a successful business. Customers are motivated and driven by trust, and by building a strong relationship with your customers, you ultimately establish yourself as an indispensable part of their lives.
They become a part of your business because you have shown them that you are willing to accept them as such.
Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester social media company based in NY specializing in advertising, web and graphic design, and SEO.