Being “sociable” on the web can have huge payoffs. Provider-customer communications have never been more important. In the old face-to-face days, small business owners maintained a manageable number of extremely loyal clients, all of whom were accustomed to seeing the small business owner in person.
If customers had a concern, a question, a request or a problem — the business owner was there, in person, to work it out.
Social networking and web 2.0 (yeah, I know, I’m tired of those phrases too) are high tech tools offering new delivery platforms to achieve this classic caliber of old-time service.
- Loyal customers develop as a result of good relationships. (Give someone a bad experience when they are buying products or services, without remedy, and they will probably not come back.)
- If you have a relationship and there is a problem and you FIX the problem personally, they will not only come back, they will love you for going “above and beyond.” This scenario will build loyalty more than a flawless experience.
- They will talk about you. If you give excellent service or exceedingly poor service, your customers will tell others. That word-of-mouth advertising will make or break your business — especially online.
Social networking helps you to build strong, personal relationships with potential and existing clients, even though you may never meet them “face-to-face.” The new social tools permit personal interaction even before the first sale. It also offers an amazing built-in referral network.
If you aren’t currently participating, consider broadening your horizons. Select one or two platforms from the major players, fill out your profile page and join in the conversation.
Quit being a wall-flower at the Internet dance!
(NOTE: photo courtesy of Clarita at MorgueFile.com)