Saying that customers are businesses’ most important assets is now a common view. First because their money make the business live, second because they are its best ambassadors when they’re happy with the delivered service.
Of course, an happy customer is a customer who’s delivered a service that meets his expectations. He also gives value to the quality of the quality of the customer relationship. To some extent, some would value more an average service with a good relationship than a perfect service with poor relationship quality because they like to be listened to, to see people do their best to give them satisfaction.
Note that’s the same with prospects, either in a B2B or B2C context : the promise that are made matter, but the relationship a business can foster with its prospects matters a lot. Ditto with employees.
That’s one of the impacts of social business in the relationships between a company and its ecosystem. Either it’s about marketing, sales, support, innovation, both companies, partners, customers, employees are looking for a new form of engagements. This engagement has first to be build then harnessed.
And, of course, many are outsourcinf their customer support, their recruitment, and sometimes a part of their marketing. I’d like to know how to build a strong relationship between a business, a brand, and its ecosystem, by letting a third party act and talk on the company’s behalf.
Outsourcing sometimes mean more control on costs, get access to competences that don’t exist internally. But it also mean the loss of any chance to build something with the other. Through the marketing relationship, through customer support, people want to interact with YOU. They want to discovert who YOU are. A good relationship is a two people game, without any go between. That what helps to save a deal when things go wrong. So you’d like to let someone else initiate and manage this relationship ? Someone who’s not you, who has not your culture, for whom you’re only a customer among others ?
Community management is something serious one has to manage himself. Not an undercontracted job, or a task assigned to an intern with too much idle.
Value is created and survives through relationships. Saying so is good. But that’s not enough if behaviors go the opposite way.
You’re wondering what a customer community can be used for, what your facebook fans are worth ? No you now. Now it’s time to initiate things yourself instead of outsouring, then rely on the group to leverage
PS : Whenever you can’t understand what’s at stake, ask yourselves what would have happened you you asked a friend to replace you at your first date with your future husband/wife. Get it ?