Brian, we need some time apart
Right now, I am angry with Brian Solis. For the past few days, the quiet time driving home (job “done”, kids still out of sight – only distraction a one minute phone call to my husband to check we are still married) turns into a reminiscence of his beautiful video Our Digital Society in the Next 30 Years: An Interview with John Battelle.
How that can be beautiful? Two men sitting in front of the camera for 22 minutes, talking, talking and talking. Well, if you are busy with the Internet and hungry for “thought food” beyond our daily business you will appreciate the beauty therein. If this interview will get your brain spinning, like it did with mine, you will witness the beauty I refer to.
So damn it, Brian! I am still busy with this one, and yes, I will write down and share my observations, once I am ready to leave the comfort zone this interview created. And now (sorry for the delay, but this long weekend was owned by my little one’s 5th birthday) you came up with I think we need some time apart, it’s not me, it’s you. While the interview with Battelle touched me personally, as an Internet user and a mother taking partial responsibility for the Internet use of her sons and as someone searching for the human beyond the digital expressions of ours, Brian’s post – Part 5 in a series introducing his new book, The End of Business as Usual – is so relevant to what we do here at Kampyle, that I cannot refrain from some comments right away. Let’s put it like this: Hurricane Brian got me into his vortex.
Of course Brian is not talking about website feedback and stays in his realm, social media, but give Brian’s opening a good read and understand what it tells you as a website owner:
“What do people want? If you don’t know, why not ask them?
Seems like a common sense question to ask. However, when it comes to customer engagement and relations, common sense appears to be an uncommon virtue. The good news is that asking customers what they need is now easier than ever before. Learning about what they prefer or what they’re missing based on their actions and words is prevalent within social media. Asking them directly is also a powerful form of engagement. At the very least the act expresses intent to learn and perhaps adapt.”
Six months ago I decided to start working for Kampyle. Switching companies doesn’t come easy. Nice team, interesting position, good salary and the ability to combine job and family are not enough. If a product doesn’t convince me, I will not join a company. That’s me. Right from the beginning I comprehended Kampyle’s feedback solution as “common sense”. Put away our great features, advanced reporting and dashboards. The idea is simple and sound, with a clear imperative “Listen to your customers!”. Feedback is a basic form of customer engagement and a good way to learn how to make better business – it gives “a glimpse into the oft missed customer point of view”. (Sorry not an academic way of quoting, and again Brain is not talking about feedback here either).
Actually Brian used this phrase ““a glimpse into the oft missed customer point of view”” to praise The Social Breakup, a study by ExactTarget and CoTweet, which he regards as special for asking “why consumers “break up” with brands in social networks” and not going the easy way asking ““why people Like and follow brands”. We here at Kampyle say: “Positive feedback is a great thing to get. But love your negative feedback, that’s the one that will make you better.” In short, to really serve your customers you have to know their pain points.
And one more: “The customer gap represents the distance between what we think customers want and what they actually want. The definition of this gap is different for every business and it is something that we must overcome.” The gap is there, no doubt, and it is all about how to bridge it. Know that your consumers are ready to share with you allow them to.
Now really the last quote: “Think like a customer. Or better said, take the insights that are gleaned from gathering intelligence to become the customer you’re trying to reach.” When was the last time you did that? What intelligence do you use to get into the mind of your customers?
Brian published a great post about the misconceptions we have of the social consumer, worth a much better and in-depth discussion than I have given. But actually the best recommendation to give is: READ IT!.
Please know, that I don’t feel easy about quoting and borrowing Brian’s sentences out of context. What strikes me is that what he writes about the need of knowing the “new (social) consumer” is entirely true for the “old (how shall we call him/her?) consumer”. It is the same illness here and there! You want to do online business, but how can you without knowing your customers!
There are many important tools to gain insights – from analytics to questionnaires. Enabling your customers to leave feedback is one of them. Just keep in mind that feedback means that you get input that will change your system. If you don’t act on the feedback, you abused the trust of your feedback providers and you missed out on a great chance.
Brian, please keep on making me “angry”. I am a slow digester, you are firework of ideas, “hurricane Brian”… Looking forward to today’s ride home, getting back to how the Internet will look in 30 years. I wish you a lot of success and satisfaction in everything you do. This Friday is my birthday and I will treat myself with your new book. Until this will arrive from the States, sorry, I need some time apart.
About the author
Dr. Ursula Ron joined Kampyle in spring 2011 as marketing manager. She is old enough to remember the time only a selected bunch of people had an email address and Altavista was THE search engine.
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