I was at the bank today. There were two or three people behind me, and two tellers. One of the tellers was talking with a customer who had just made a transaction. Although the conversation was personal in nature, not business related, I knew that the teller was patiently and empathetically listening and treating that customer as I would like to be treated.
Twenty seconds later the other teller was ready to service my needs. I noticed that the man behind me became frustrated with the other teller who was listening to her customer. Not more than a minute later, after the customer and teller had parted ways; the guy stomped over and blurted out “Finally! Obviously she wasn’t in a hurry but I am.”
The guy didn’t scream or yell or pound his fists on the counter. He just made it known that he was in a hurry. The teller apologized and helped the man who was soon on his way. So far, I hadn’t noticed any wrong doings from the bank personnel. After the man left, however, a male teller came over to the teller who had helped him and noted, “Don’t worry. He is always a jerk when he comes in here. Pay no attention to him.”
I asked myself a couple of questions: Do I want to do business with a bank that talks negatively about their customers behind their backs? There were three other customers in the bank at the time who heard the male teller talk about the customer who just left – Would he talk disapprovingly of me when I left too?
In one small five-minute interaction, I observed superior customer service from one person and extremely poor customer service from another.
So how do we want to be remembered by our customers? Whether we are chatting, blogging, or performing any online activity, there are a few rules of engagement that we should review. They work when we reply to a suggestion on Facebook, respond to an article on Ezine, answer a request on Google or YouTube, or tweet back to a potential customer on Twitter.
Spend time getting to know your customers. Ask them simple questions; review their bios on the above mentioned places or others like Linked In, Squidoo, or Plaxo. Garrett Pierson’s Building Social Equity 2.0 has twenty modules containing information on how to get the most out of each social media site. The more you know them, the better you will be able to serve them.
Take advantage of the information you gather to improve your relationship with them – not merely to service their buying needs more effectively. For example, you could send them a birthday or anniversary card. You could let them know when you will be holding events in their area. You could not only sign them up to your Face Book fan page, but also write a short column for everyone to see – welcoming them into your business’ family and bragging on them a little based on the information you garnered.
Never write or say anything derogatory about anyone. Not your customers, not your vendors, and not your employees. Negative thoughts and actions carry with them the strict penalty of harmful, depressing energy. Positive thoughts and actions carry with them the stringent consequence of peace, harmony, and vitality. If you receive a negative tweet – don’t answer. If someone wrote something damaging to your business on Facebook, don’t retaliate, resolve the issue if you can. Save the customer if possible.
When we go about our online workday. There might be opportunities to express disappointment. Don’t. There also might be opportunities to listen intently to our customers needs – even needs that aren’t business related – as in the incident at the bank. Take full advantage of those chances to build social equity with them.
Whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, YouTube, Squidoo, or any other online social media marketing site, take advantage of the good, and disregard the bad. You will have happier, more loyal customers.