“Satisfied Customers Tell 3 Friends – Angry Customers Tell 3,000” is a new book by Pete Blackshaw that came out 2 weeks ago. The book reinforces concepts that those in the social media space have been preaching for quite some time – but with a more catchy title. It is also a good book to recommend to colleagues who are still “Luddites” and may not realize the power of consumer-generated comments.
Pete identifies three key truths in his book:
- “Businesses no longer hold absolute sway over the decisions and behavior of consumers.
- The longer companies refuse to accept the influence of consumer-to-consumer communication and perpetuate the old ways of doing business, the more they will alienate and drive away their customers.
- To succeed in a world where consumers now control the conversation, and where satisfied customers tell three friends while angry customers tell 3,000, companies absolutely must achieve credibility on every front.”
So, what can a company do to monitor potentially angry customers?
All companies should expand their horizons, listen to customer conversations taking place online and take action. Two specific examples that I’ve used in the past to monitor company and competitor information include:
- Summize – searches Twitter conversations – http://www.summize.com
- Google Blog Search – searches for specific words in blog posts http://blogsearch.google.com/?hl=en&tab=wb
As far as taking action, a company needs to spend the time to reach out to customers with both positive and negative comments. For negative comments, the company can get an early warning of possible product issues and begin addressing them proactively.
In a Summize search, all comments are tied to a user’s Twitter account so it’s pretty easy to find out who is doing the ‘talking’ and how to contact them. For blog posts, most bloggers have a profile or contact me page – or you can add a comment to an existing blog entry. Of course, these comments should not be inflammatory but should transparently explain the situation in your terms and how you may be addressing the issue that was raised. Obviously, you don’t want to have any angry customers, but if you do it is best to address their concerns swiftly.
Pete sums up why listening to customers is so important – “It is also critical that marketers listen closely to what consumers have to say. They need to absorb and internalize what their customers tell them or say about them. If they do they will be in a better position to create and distribute effective marketing messages.”
Finally, you can find out more at these links or from the video below:
- Pete’s blog – http://notetaker.typepad.com/tell3000/
- Book excerpt – http://www.nielsen.com/pdf/book_intro.pdf
- Video of Pete discussing the book on AdWeek
So, how many angry customers do you have?