• In three words: Join the Conversation. In a few more words:
• Adopt a listening strategy, or “commitment to conversation”. Perhaps you call it something else, but the idea is to develop a culture centered on response and responsiveness. Be warned though: A listening strategy is not a license to eavesdrop on your customers or an invitation to dominate their conversations with your futile protests.
• Segment customers into three simple categories, corresponding to positive, neutral, and negative sentiments.
1. Positives are your lowest-hanging fruit; they are typically loyalists, enthusiasts. They’re going to sing your praises, so you need to give them a megaphone and then get out of their way. Reward your raving fans by bringing them back for more.
2. Neutrals are, sadly, the majority of consumers, but less so in more high-involvement and emotional categories. Look to proactively establish relationships, thereby insuring against future negative reactions. Help find reasons for people to care; offer up low-risk means to induce them to join the conversation, without the effort and the fuss.
3. Negatives are inevitable. Though in the minority, they carry a disproportionate amount of clout. Always anticipate backlash from a number of various possible scenarios; be swift and decisive by listening (identification) and responding (effectively). Avoid frustration festering, or escalation; ignorant, inaccurate or speculative commentary can become perceived ...