Is The Opposite More Relevant Today?

by Jay Deragon on 07/15/2008

Yesterday I had yet another conversation with executive #5 in a Fortune 500 company who was still hung up on all this social stuff. His remarks started out this way: We’re still trying to figure out how we make money from social media initiatives.”

My response: Do you charge for customer service? He said why of course not. I said, yes you do and the cost are built into the cost of your product/service. Your customer service is terrible and you are paying for it through a bad reputation and customer turnover. So my question to you is “how do you make money on customer service?”

His answer was: By providing outstanding customer service.

My Response was: But according to the latest national surveys your not. You can make more money by reducing cost through building good relations and solving problems openly and honestly. It cost ten times more to get a new customer than it does to retain them. Engage in a relationship, give the customer tools to solve their own problems, get your system out of the way of excellent customer service. By using social media and the related tools you have the ability to engage in human dialog, learn and adjust accordingly. Simply engaging would help change the customer’s perception of your company.

His response: “I understand but that is a totally opposite way of doing business than what we do today.”

My response: You just identified the root cause of your problems.

Is The Opposite Way More Relevant Today?

Joe Marchese writes in MediaPost: “ Achieving word-of-mouth means making a brand culturally relevant — which requires finding out where your brand intersects with people’s lives, and how you can increase the meaning of your brand to those people.

Whether it’s a niche audience or a mass market, how does your brand and its image add value? Trying to understand how people will behave toward your brand in social media is no different from trying to understand how people will behave toward your brand in the real world.

In the end, social media is nothing more than a mirror of people’s real-world behavior (albeit amplified and with extreme ADD). If you’re taking steps to make your brand relevant to people in the real world (which I sure hope you are), then it’s not that big of a leap to figuring out how to make your brand relevant to people in a social media context. Social media should be a valuable tool for helping you answer that billion-dollar question of what will make your brand relevant to people, as well as the platform spreading your brand’s message as you achieve greater relevance. It’s listening and talking, instead of just talking.

The old way was mass produce something and let the little folks eat it. The new way is the little folks have become big and have acquired and a loud voice.. If you are not adding enough value using the old way maybe it is time to try the new way. WARNING: The new way changes everything not just your marketing methods. Oh yeah, you can’t fake it and if you do the noise is likely to get louder. Get it?

What say you?

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