Simply put, we need to encourage and engage in dialogue by providing our customers with multiple ways to contact us at will, whether they have a purpose or not. We need to get them talking about the little things, the big things, and everything else in between. We also need to come to terms with the fact that they’ll talk, whether we want them to or not; and the only thing worse than our customers talking negatively is not talking at all. The choice is therefore twofold:
1. Do we want them to talk about us to our faces or behind our backs?
2. Do we want to be masters of our own fate or victims of it?
Here are five things companies can do to activate dialogue with—as well as among—its customers:
1. Establish customer clubs, forums, communities, groups, or hubs (more on this later) where people can connect with each other, ask questions, provide answers, and socialize.
2. Make the first move: Outreach proactively to your customers. It’s a tough sell, but one that can build over time through a combination of permission-based invitations, rewards, and most important, demonstration that there is genuine intent to act.
3. Implement a robust listening strategy to get a real-time handle on customer conversations where and as they happen.
4. Design a comprehensive and intense response strategy to provide timely and relevant information to ongoing conversations.
5. Find an optimal mix between technology and human resources designed ...