Part 3 – Don’t be a Plumber and Social Networking’s Small Business Advantage
Build a Relationship Based on Trust
Think about any customer experience you’ve had with a plumber. My guess is, you would classify it as “negative.”
Most plumbers charge their customer just to show up and give an estimate. When the work is done, it is rarely done on time, and often not accurately. Furthermore, you pay through the nose for it. At least this is my perception…and that is precisely how you don’t want your business to be perceived.
(By the way, if you don’t feel this way about your plumber, please send me their contact information ASAP, I would LOVE to be proven wrong on this one.)
The inherent problem with the plumber’s business model? It does not breed trust. Beyond that, it doesn’t even force you as a service provider to model behaviors that breed trust…because all the risk is on the customer. For a customer to trust you, they need to feel like you are risking something, too…and you are still making the best decisions for them.
For what it’s worth…the risk that a customer might not pay their bill is not a risk at all in the eyes of your best customers. They will always pay. So when your every transaction begins from a position of protecting yourself…at your customer’s expense…you’re telling your best customers very clearly that you don’t trust them…which in turn, means they won’t trust you.
Use Social Networking ESPECIALLY if your small!
Admittedly, this one can be tricky, as it doesn’t tend to show results until you’ve been doing it right for awhile. This is why many small companies dipping their toe in the “social” waters, and then abandon it altogether. To get it right, you either need to start educating yourself about how to do it right…or hire someone to work on it with you.
Notice I said “work on it with you” not “do it all for you.”
It is exceedingly important that your social media interactions come from a personal place. That way, they connect you to your customers, not your business to your customers.
Why the distinction? Possibly the greatest advantage smaller companies have over “enterprises” is their ability to connect directly to customers on a personal level. Your message doesn’t need to get watered down by numerous department heads and marketing “experts” before getting to your customer…so it’s authentic…and the impact of authenticity should not be underestimated.
Monopolies are the Exception to the Rule
If yours is a company lucky enough to hold a near-monopoly in your industry…if on your balance sheet, you just don’t see value in spending time on “customer experience,” then we will have to agree to disagree.
But…I implore you to proceed with caution.
Eventually, your lack of focus on customer experience will irritate enough customers that they will start looking elsewhere…hoping for something better to come along, all the while, simply tolerating you as a necessary evil. That is the point where it will become easy for a new upstart to unseat you.