Run Your Business Like a Rock Band

Management

Good day everyone, I wrote this some time ago, but some lessons need to be remembered.  This piece was inspired by an article from “The Boston Globe:”

What businesses can learn from the Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead provided us with more than memorable summer nights; they showed the way to business success. I will focus on two ideas and how they relate to Community Management and Customer Service.

1. Be Transparent
“The Grateful Dead’s authenticity endeared them to fans and allowed the band to experiment. They found that mistakes are quickly forgiven if a company is transparent about what it’s doing.”

Trust is everything in business and your business will disappear if your customers do not trust you. Come forward and admit to your mistake, apologize and fix the problem or policy. Problems happen, the very companies do not sit back and hope the problem goes away, they take action to fix the issue AND admit they made a mistake.
Transparency is not just about customer service, it relates to your financial accounting too. Enron (and others), lost customer trust and fortunes because of greed and terrible ethics. Don’t keep two sets of books.
Great service and sound ethics are foundations on which you should build your company.

2. Give, and you shall Receive 
“The Grateful Dead removed barriers to their music by allowing fans to tape concerts for free. That brought in new fans and grew sales for concerts, records, and merchandise. They showed that when content is free, more people hear about a company and eventually do business with it.”

Customers are demanding access to knowledge in order to self-solve their problems. Providing an open knowledge base lowers your customer service costs, increases customer satisfaction, and shows your company is a thought leader. The Consortium for Service Innovation has published a paper about how Mathworks has turned knowledge-share upside down by publishing their entire knowledge base within their Community.
I can hear the question now: “But support contracts are a large part of our revenue, we can’t just give away our knowledge.”
Give away the knowledge, not the support. Customers who pay for a service contract are NOT paying for information, they are paying for immediate support and people to solve their problems for them.
Stop funneling your customers into horrible phone queues: listen to them on social media and build them a community where they can interact with you (and other customers) to learn, share knowledge, and solve their problems.

Rock on!

Cheers,
Toby

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#SproutChat: Social Media Listening vs Monitoring

sprout

My recap of the 3/1/2017 #SproutChat hosted by @sprout_sarah  & @SproutSocial   Join the conversation every Wednesday at 3pm EST.

Q1: What’s the difference between social listening and monitoring?

  • Social Listening leads to engagement – monitoring is simply seeing what is out there
  • Social monitoring can lead to trouble: why are ppl taking about my brand this way? Engage and find out
  • Social Listening will help you improve your product, service, and customer trust
  • No matter listening or monitoring – you should wonder why ppl are going to 3rd party places rather than talking to you

Q2: Why is it important to go beyond just monitoring brand mentions and responding reactively?

  • Responding builds customer trust
  • Responding uncovers product improvement and sales opportunities
  • Engagement creates happy customers and happy customers talk positively about you
  • Most brands make it hard to speak with someone – Engage and be a champion

Q3: How can a brand surprise and delight customers when providing social customer care?

  • The fact the brand actually engaged
  • Problems happen – brands that engage and solve them create and keep loyal customers
  • Reply within 1 hour – Show empathy – Admit fault in public – Confirm resolution and satisfaction
  • Do not use canned responses – make them personal and show you have actual people who care within your organization

Q4: What are some good ways to keep track of ongoing conversations with members of your community?

Q5: What are some creative ways to use Twitter boolean (advanced) search to find opportunities to engage?

  • Have not used it 😦 Love to hear more
  • Answer from @sprout_sarah – Here’s a comprehensive cheatsheet on Advanced Search for Twitter, SUPER helpful: Twitter Search

Q6: What are the best ways to keep track of trends while listening on social?

  • I use a board – makes it easy to classify and find ideas
  • Follow people and add them to lists – then you can add the list to a dashboard to easily monitor it

Please stop by the next #SproutChat and join the conversation.  I look forward to your comments and collaborating with you.

Cheers,

Toby

 

Honesty, Transparency, and Sunlight

Transparency

No matter if you are politician, business person, or social media pro, you (should) seek to gain trust and the loyalty it provides.  Trust.  So hard to earn and so easy to lose.

You reach a crossroad and you are not sure which path to take; do I need to defend my brand or organization?  When that time comes, ask yourself and those in the room: will this decision pass the “sunlight test?”  If what you are trying to hide reaches the sunlight, what will people think?  Why would you be hiding this in the first place?

You may need to break a tie or relationship, but you will be right with a clear conscience and respected reputation.

Your comments are welcome.

Best,

Toby