Social Media Empowers You and Your Customers
23 December, 2011
The Bad News – Your Clients are Already Empowered - To Leave You
If you are a freelancer, consultant, contractor or micro / small business owner working in the contemporary marketplace, social media can greatly influence your client / customer interaction with you.
The changing influence and shifts in mobile devices, social technologies, pervasive video and cloud computing enables a more intelligent, influential and empowered customer. The relatively new phrase “customer experience” is just a rebranding of what used to be called “customer satisfaction”. Many of your clients / customers are now empowered to use and leverage social technologies.
Thanks to social media, customers have access to information developed and distributed by your employees, your other customers, business partners, competitors, supply chain vendors and anyone else who may interact with your company, your products / services or your employees.
Online customer support forums can even include live online discussions (by text or VoIP) with support staff as well as interactive chats with fellow customers. If your customers are not satisfied, they tweet or Facebook immediately.
Why is the appeal created by this change so strong? It should not come as a surprise; in essence it is just a contemporary way to fulfil an age-old need – everyone wants to be heard and to be valued. The trick is to not be left behind. If you are not addressing this change in how people find services, your clients / customers are being dragged away from you by your competition.
The Good News – You Can Empower Your Clients to Decide to Use Your Services
The customers' access to social media can also be a positive. People want the capacity to choose and direct their custom to where they feel most conformable. Usually that is where there is, or can be established, an ongoing history of good service, where the client / customer can have a say in how that service is delivered, and where the client / customer does not feel “left out in the cold”.
Prospective clients can research, investigate and analyse products, services, reputations, ethics, competitors and general industry information and trends. Armed with intelligent questions, and the ability to research widely, interpret, and make opinions, customers are ready to make decisions. These perspectives will influence their discussion with you (and others) regarding features, functionality, delivery and pricing.
If you are well represented in this area, and can establish a solid reputation for good delivery of service and products, customers will come to you through this medium.
Even Better News – You Can Empower Your Company to Influence Customer Activity
Social media, being social media, means that it is available to everyone.
As a freelancer, consultant, contractor or micro / small business owner, you and your employees can be similarly empowered, having the same access to social media as your customers. Social technologies, from a service providers point of view, can be used get ideas for improvements to services, conduct research on potential client / customer trends generally and specifically, research key topics that could be beneficial to clients, collaborate externally to resolve customer problems, etc.
This puts the icing on the cake. It further empowers our customers, knowing that they are able to communicate with you on common and familiar ground. If your company is just getting started with social technologies, empower your employees to learn it and use it well, in the same fashion as your already empowered customers.