A friend of mine complained to me recently about a local oil change place that was charging for synthetic oil but using regular motor oil in cars. We wondered how long a business could actually do that and stay in business! After that conversation with a trusted friend, several people won’t use this business because there are plenty of other trusted, “good” oil change places in our area.
That’s all it took – one conversation with somebody I know well and trust – and that business lost me as a customer. What is worse, that business doesn’t have ANY idea they lost my business – because that conversation took place privately. They lost a customer before they could even attempt to address the problem. Imagine if the business really wasn’t bad – if this unfortunate event was simply caused by a rogue employee or some a simple misunderstanding.
Now, let’s examine this same situation in an online environment. For many people – especially the younger generation – being online is essential, and considered intimate. Today anybody can post a bad review of this oil change place or any other business. These reviews are posted by people I don’t know and don’t trust, in other words, some random person. Unfortunately many people will read this review and make their decision based on this random person’s perspective. Just like the business in question would want to be able to talk to me and my friends in my first example, that business should want to talk with people having the same conversation online.
As a business owner, you need to “own” the conversation as it pertains to your business. You should not allow a 3rd party site to control the conversation. This is your business, after all! This doesn’t mean that you should filter out any negative comments and only display positive results. You should own the conversation and transparently respond and address all reviews, or at a minimum the critical reviews. Customers respond to authenticity, knowing that nobody is perfect. Seeing that you’ll do whatever it takes to make customers happy and satisfied leads to greater customer engagement, retention and loyalty.
We’re quickly getting to the point that if you are not online as a business, you don’t exist. And if you don’t “own” the relationship with your customers online, you are at a distinct, and perhaps fatal, disadvantage. Most importantly, if you continue to market on a 1-1 basis by having your customers refer you to their friends, then you will never catch up with the businesses that are marketing 1-many; that are using the Internet to reach dozens or hundreds of people with the same efforts that you are using to reach a dozen.
As a business owner, you need to think hard about the following:
- Own your Online brand
- Market 1-to-many, not 1-to-1
- Listen (and respond) to your customers
Are you doing the above? If so, how are you doing it? If not, what are you waiting for and why haven’t you tried Bizyhood already? 🙂