In the last weeks I have been studying the phenomenon of social media and branding online through this medium.
While I’m some distance from being an expert (but which I intend to be) it is interesting to me that “Service” has become immensely valuable in the online community.
I say this as a consumer as well as someone who is looking to establish a brand and provide a service. But the term may be defined differently than it has in the past. Quite obviously if you’re buying a washing machine you want prompt delivery and a great price. That may never change. But how does this translate online and how do we get to the point that we want that washing machine. If you’re online and savvy it’s not old school.
It is no longer good enough to have a washing machine in an advert that tells me how wonderful it is. In fact we often find this to be distasteful. How does this machine measure up? What do other people have to say about the machine, about the company? What online resources exist to help solve issues relating to it after I’ve purchased?
More and more we look to other people like us for opinion and input. We don’t trust the company, we trust each other. So don’t tell me how great you are, I need others to tell me that.
If you have an online presence you better be prepared to supply these answers and make it very easy for us to get the scoop. And don’t hide from the negative input. If it’s out there we’ll find it so have it right there on the website and deal with it.
And it all comes down to service in it’s entirety. Throughout the history of business service has been thrown around and it’s become a cliché. But now more than ever service must be understood and put completely into practice. Those that do will thrive, those that don’t will be relegated to an ever decreasing off line market.
Now that I think about it, the washing machine wasn’t the best possible example but there you go.