Kurt C. Peterson, Publisher
Every business owner has a vision, coupled with a philosophy. Maybe it’s based on what was learned early in life or perhaps crafted from ideas in higher education. Without vision, you can’t really move forward and without a good business philosophy, what is left to guide you?
For most, company philosophy hangs its proverbial hat on customer service and ethics. Many believe they are the best in the world and routinely focus on testimonials from happy consumers. Everyone wants a good word put in and a referral whenever possible. Relying on the many different forms of modern communications offers even more opportunities to let the world know that business practices are based on and in line with the company standard of excellence. And since no customers means no business, reviews are an essential starting point for new prospects to find just the right business to meet their needs. Word of mouth advertising is the best, or so the conventional wisdom of marketers professed for years. What about the bad opinions that come from frustrated clients? Which brings me to the current trend of running headlong to so-called social media. The spontaneous nature of Internet-based communication can become a double-edged sword.
Just think about it. Joe Public got a great system from his local dealer and couldn’t be happier, but he doesn’t handle the finances. Jane Public also loves the new system but struggles to justify the expense in a tight economy. Their thoughts and conversation may no longer be confined to the dinner table. In fact, discussion of both viewpoints may appear on a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, maybe even someone’s blog. And this should matter to you. The throw-it-all-out-there nature of Facebook gives many the opportunity to vent, rant, confront, praise, inspire or commend without the natural boundaries of actual face-to-face contact. There’s little inhibition and maybe a greater sense of freedom, which means people will say far more than you expect because the standards of behavior are entirely different.
We have embraced the digital world by incorporating our efforts into websites, the POU-POeNews, advertising eLerts, and yes, even a Facebook page. It’s the wave of the future and a very powerful tool, when used properly. Keep that in mind when a customer gets angry. You don’t know if they can or will trash you online. And that brings us back to customer service as part of company philosophy. Saying doesn’t make it so; you’ve got to prove it, every day with every customer. Posting and responding on social media outlets is so fast, that someone out there in the digital world might post three or four lines that 500 people read quicker than you read this. And that could cost you new customers.
The world is moving faster all the time. People don’t take the time to think; they react. Help your customers respond positively rather than react negatively, and in front of a global audience!