You know everything about your brand and you know everything about your demographic, but do you know what your customers think about you?
According to figures from Microsoft, there are 55 million Facebook status updates and over 400 million tweets every day. If you take into account the thousands of blogs and review sites across the web, that’s a lot of people communicating with each other – chances are someone somewhere is talking about your brand.
If you’re smart, you’ve created a helpdesk or some kind of contact form for people to get hold of you should they need help, want to give feedback or just want advice about your product. You may be aware of any problems your product has and have seeded information to the relevant channels including social media.
The only problem is a large amount of your customers won’t bother to use the help desk, and probably won’t come to you directly when something goes wrong.
You need to look for them.
When you get a disgruntled customer, chances are they’re already annoyed, so waiting in line on the phone for someone to answer their query is at the bottom of their list - no matter how friendly your call operators may be.
You need to be proactive in looking for people who may be having issues with your product.
Let’s put this into context shall we?
You own a new company that sells camping tents. You sold quite a few in the run up to Glastonbury festival and business was great. There were no complaints to the help desk aside from 1 or 2 people phoning in to ask how you get the thing back in the bag after they’d dismantled it.
Everything seems to be going really well, as no one is ringing in about the tent breaking or falling apart. Success! Right?
It’s two days after Glastonbury has finished and sales have not really picked up where you thought they might have, in fact sales have gone backwards. You’ve had no one ringing in to complain so you can’t see what the problem is but people are sending your product back to you! Surely people would have been calling your helpdesk to complain? Surely they would have come to you first to see if you could address the problem directly?
You’re sat scratching your head wondering why people don’t like your product whilst you become knee deep in returned tents when all of a sudden one of your colleagues stumbles across an online review:
“This tent sux” Anakin01 from Coventry says “…it leaked all night because the outer sheet fell off!”
“Oh no!” you shout “All they had to do was call in and we could have helped.” You say.
Then the other reviews roll in:
Wedge72 says on Twitter “This tent ruined my festival; I woke up in a puddle!”
Admiral_A_Itsatrap posts on an Amazon review: “0 stars, this tent is the worst. The top layer wasn’t secure at all and I had to buy a new one. Avoid!”
Lukenohands45 simply says on his official blog post: “Avoid these tents like the plague. I woke up underwater. Tried to secure the outer tarp, but failed. Tried to sleep without it on. Failed miserably after it rained all night.”
If only they had called in, you think. You could have guided these unfortunate festival goers through the assembly process and saved them from a dreary wet night. There was a help desk ready to assist people if they had a problem, but only a few chose to contact you directly. You tried your best but couldn’t help those people who simply didn’t contact you. Right?
This is where effective reputation management could have helped. If you don’t take a proactive approach to your business as well as a reactive approach, you’re destined to fail.
The simple fact is; consumers will expect you to come to them when they need help. They will use the medium that they want when trying to contact you, not the medium that you want.
People will choose their best medium of communication, not yours and commonly, this is through social media or user generated content. You could have quite easily tweeted back to people or addressed review comments about the best way for these people to secure their covering sheet better. You’d have helped people enjoy the festival more and protected your investment by not having to deal with hundreds if not thousands of returns.
Your reputation online is not looking good because as far as people know; you put your head in the sand and refused to help.
By being proactive and searching for complaints or comments about your brand, you can effectively change your brand image. A simple tweet to a customer who may be having a problem with your product could save a lot of hassle and endear them to you, increasing loyalty to your brand.
It’s up to you to make sure you know what people are saying about your brand online. You could be missing out on opportunities to help customers and deal with any problems quickly.
Little Birdy is the best way to track consumer sentiment online, allowing users to respond to feedback from consumers instantly by presenting a complete overview of what’s being said about your brand and who’s saying it.
Register today for a 30 day free trial at www.littlebirdy.buzz (no credit card details required) or call 0845 259 4195 for more information.