- Customer Experience: people love to talk about your service and your products. It is the key driver of consumer conversations.
The basis of positive conversations about your company is very simple: offer strong products and a decent customer service. These two drive conversations. If you do them well: conversations will boost the business, if your performing just a little below expectations, conversations will decrease the business. It is the foundation of a Conversation Company.
The Conversation Company believes in a total philosophy towards customer experience. The role of social media within this philosophy is to react in real time to people’s problems and complaints. Companies like KLM and Best Buy demonstrate perfectly how this pillar fits in to the overall picture. Other companies, such as Dell, build mission control centres. These centres are manned 24/7 by staff who answer the online questions put by customers and prospects. No single conversation is left without a response; everyone is helped.
- Conversation: the story of my previous book, The Conversation Manager. It is the goal to converse and not communicate. Listen, ask questions, facilitate the conversations and actively take part in them.
The Conversation Company manages online conversations in three stages: observing, facilitating and participating. They start simply by listening to consumer conversations, adding a few relevant comments where necessary. At the same time, the company prepares its content in such a way that it can easily be shared with other interested parties. Clever companies combine these online conversations with their offline activities. The Heineken Champions League stunt makes clear that the effect of small offline events can be magnified many times by social media. Heineken facilitated this process by providing the right content in the right form. Some time ago Kraft had the idea of integrating customer tweets into its offline advertisements. People quickly caught on to this idea and were super-keen to get their quotes in the adverts. As a result, more than 1.5 million tweets were sent to Kraft in the course of the campaign.
- Content: give people stuff to talk about, but do it in an authentic, positive and relevant way.
Companies should no longer be concerned with the planning of one-off advertising campaigns, but with the global planning and management of their content. Your company must learn to think like the publisher of a newspaper. The paper with the most interesting content is the paper that is read the most. Good content is the ideal way to increase your reach.
- Collaboration: involve customers in everything your company does. Let them be part of your boardroom and let them be involved in your decision-making processes.
The Conversation Company collaborates structurally with its customers. This increases the average level of consumer commitment. It is possible to be fairly creative within this pillar. 4Food, a successful hamburger outlet in Manhattan, draws up a new menu every day with the help of its own customers. Using a series of tablets left on the tables, the diners can put together their own recipe for the perfect? hamburger. Every new concept put on display for the other customers and the best-selling burgers are promoted via Twitter and Facebook. For each burger sold, the recipe-maker receives 25 cents. In a similar vein, Proctor and Gamble has developed Vocalpoint, a community in which 350,000 mothers help to develop new product ideas for the P&G brand. These mothers are also the first users of the new products during the development phase, so that they can provide feedback with regard to possible problems/weaknesses before the product is finally launched on the market.