Let’s Talk

by Holland-Mark | June 28, 2013

No really. Let’s talk. Not about our customers. Not to our customers. But WITH our customers. In the past, consumers had a need, found a product to match that need, then went away to maybe, just maybe, be seen again. But now customers don’t want to leave you, as a brand, hanging. They want to keep the conversation going. They want (just as much as you want them to) to become a loyal customer. They want to rave about your product or service in a Tweet, in their Facebook status, or when they actually pick up the phone and chat with a friend. They also want to complain about your product or service in a Tweet, on Facebook, or when chatting with a friend. And oftentimes, they are doing far more of the latter.

Banks tend to have low Net Promoter Scores and low customer satisfaction, but high customer loyalty. That’s because it’s not easy to move your money from one institution to another, and they make it that way for a reason. But no one is calling a bank’s customer service to rave about their products and services; they are only calling (or if they’re still living in the past, going into a branch) when they have an issue (i.e., unwarranted fees, an unknown charge, or a stolen debit card). Banks can only prove themselves in that tumultuous conversation. So unfortunately they are working backwards – making a positive experience out of a negative one – rather than the other way around.

Alternatively, companies like AppleJetBlue, and USAA have some of the highest Net Promoter Scores, high customer satisfaction (some would even say – ahem – love), and subsequently, high customer loyalty. They welcome all conversations. The good, the bad, and the ugly. And they leverage those conversations to build their brand, and to foster the love for their brand. Whether your iPhone software went berserk, your flight is delayed, or you are grieving a lost loved one, these companies are there to listen and help. Not only that, they want to help. They hire people that share the same love you do for their brand and mission. So even in these negative situations, they can shine a light, not only talking to you, but having a conversation and building a relationship that can continually foster your fondness. Just like the adage “no press is bad press,” here we say “no conversation is a bad conversation,” but instead, an opportunity to continually improve the brand and the customer relationship. And some brands have capitalized on this, not only building their brand on these conversations, but evolving and growing their brand because of them.

So next time you have a negative review on Yelp, or a positive tweet, don’t be scared to reach out. Just talk.