Monday, 11 October 2010

Is the customer king, more than ever before?

Do you remember that old phrase 'The Customer is King'?

It was an adage that businesses had to regard, because unhappy customers had the annoying habit of muttering their displeasure around the local community. The result was that businesses had to take note and make improvements, assuming improvements were necessary. Either that, or the community made an assessment of the mutterings, filtering out the ramblings of the odd unhappy customer on the basis they were probably maladjusted or had a personal vendetta. Easy enough to spot – then as now.

I was particularly interested in the TripAdvisor debate and the views of various commentators and phone-in participants. I was reassured that people said they'd ignore someone whose user name is something like 'ChocChipCookie' making a personally damning observation along the lines of “the hotel owner is aggressive and a sexist racist and you shouldn't stay in her/his hotel . . .”

True, Social Media does give King Customer an instant voice. These tools take us back to hyper local ways, albeit across a global economy. I was just researching the latest views on social media tools for this weeks workshops and was reading a blog article on Social Media Today on which I just had to leave a comment. It said:

“One happy and connected customer can start a spiraling of praise which can hyper accelerate building a global brand. And one maligned (or maladjusted) unhappy customer can put the breaks on a multi-million dollar campaign and bring pain to a huge company.”

I said I thought the author was exaggerating. Huge brands have so much consumer interaction that a few negative comments are drowned out.

Many would sign off their blog criticism with #justsaying (on Twitter) or Just sayin' (on a blog comment). This always reminds me of when people say “no offence, but . . .” It's fun this social media, isn't it? A couple of opinionated people on different continents having their say, jostling for position and recognition by being slightly critical but mainly in agreement.

The author's main thought, about the struggle businesses have on Social Media in finding their voice and putting on a face, is a point on which I wholeheartedly concur.

As I said, I am meant to be researching social media views in preparation for the workshops on Wednesday and Thursday this week when I was distracted by this blog post, and just had to leave a comment. . .and then had a coffee and thought a bit more about it and decided to write this blog on the subject . . . and have it feed through to facebook, twitter and LinkedIn.

It was a time-consuming distraction . . . . a sign of the times for sure.

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