I attended a presentation by Ben McConnell, co-author of Citizen Marketers, a few weeks ago here in Chicago. He kept repeating the phrase, “People are the message.” I’ve struggled to ideate from this simple phrase since I first heard it on McConnell and Huba’s blog, Church of the Customer.
A number of our own customers have voiced some pretty serious concerns over a new type of shipping we’re using. I didn’t really know much about this issue, but when I received a few PM’s with tracking numbers I empathized with the frustrations. I responded publicly to the crowd with the best I could offer: an apology and a willingness to try and make things right.
Today I was able to share the very discussion with the appropriate shipping manager in an open debate.
After evangelizing the power of listening to social media as a more accurate voice of the customer (minus the pulpit/lecturn [see: soapbox]) I came to a bit of a revelation about what Ben meant.
Now is the time to recognize and start to build interactive opportunities for your company’s most loyal customers. The currency of the future, as social media topples traditional business models for communication, is loyalty and transparency. Recognize publicly the value of your customer evangelists and brand advocates, and you will gain a wealth of feedback, innovative direction, and citizen marketers whose message is louder than anything a PR/Buzz agency could possibly manufacture.
Ex: ScottE22 2/2/07 Levenger is to low-tech as Apple is to high-tech.