Be honest. If you gained some key insights about your products and services, either via some split testing you were doing, online sentiment capture or survey feedback from a significant number of your target audience - just how quickly could you realistically implement a genuine response?
And by response, I don’t mean by paying lip service to the feedback by thanking those that contributed and advising them that their ‘feedback is valued’ and that perhaps in 10 years time you might actually do something about it.
I mean, a genuine response one whereby the audience is advising that “We would rather you did things differently” – and so indeed as an agile organisation, you rework processes, and indeed respond and do things differently.
The response may mean adapting a new system to improve service quality, reviewing your service blueprints. It may mean changing the design or usability features on your website or online commerce platforms, or even product or service feature enhancements.
Ultimately, when you do respond, what it means to your audience, is that you are listening, that you care and that you're responsive.
The question about how quickly you could respond, isn't specifically tied directly to the practicalities of implementing the actual fix, but rather, the appetite and desire from the board and culture within the organisation to continuously learn and take on board what matters to their audiences and then ultimately act upon it.
In the social media age, where power is with the people (Citizen Smith would be happy – showing my age here ;)). And where recommendations from peers, friends, family and even online strangers are valued and steer activity – then speed to response, is key.
Be it a scenario where a complaint is addressed quickly via a social media platform – a speed to response so great, that the complainer is so wowed that they praise your use of social channels to resolve challenges, turning what was a negative customer into an advocate, praising your service recovery tactics (hopefully in the social channels adding amplification to just how wonderful you are).
Or indeed, a scenario where a collective are all disgruntled by a business policy (let’s say a no refunds policy - as this was a true case) that they discuss and collaborate online, enough to assist a brand in reconsidering a business process that’s been in place (and probably upset hundreds of customers) for years.
The key is ‘responding’. This is nothing new in the world of looking after our customers. It’s an age old mantra. “The customer is always right.” “Deliver exceptional service.” “Listen to the needs of customers.” “We’re a continuous learning organisation.” Yep – that’s what we’ve been saying for about two decades now. But really…? Just how many organisations put their actions where their intention is?
And that’s what’s going to play out in social media. .
Join the conversation with your audience (which is now becoming mainstream) and you are opening yourself up to listening and conversing and ultimately responding.
Very simply, those that listen and respond and wow – will succeed.
Those that bury their heads in the sand and hope it will all go away. Or that simply take too long to deliver solutions around pain points – will falter. After all – those pain point conversations are highly visible – and savvy competitors will be watching and learning. So the Sloths out there need to focus on getting fit for the race.
What say you? Agree or disagree - share your views. Love to hear them.
@Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – the online visibility experts. A digital marketing and design agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire. The agency covers all aspects of online visibility - covering social media marketing and social media training, user focused website planning and conversion focused website design.
For marketing and social media advice – view the Carvill Creative Blog