Saturday, April 16, 2016

Think you don't need a statushub? You're wrong.

The landscape of how you communicate with your customers has changed. And for the better. Your social media accounts are no longer about having a means to spew content and let people know you exist. Instead they've become about learning who your customers are and to learn from them. You also can't expect that every single customer you have follows you on your social media accounts. They're no substitute for status updates or important announcements that your customers need to know about.

Let's not beat around the bush, twitter is awesome. So too is facebook. They're brilliant at their respective roles in social media. Social media is great for communicating with new customers, and for getting content out there to be picked up by non-customers to try create prospective customers.

But one thing it is really bad for is to let all of your customers know when something has gone wrong. If anything, twitter is a secondary channel to complement the primary channel of notification. Facebook for this rarely even gets a look in for updates from most companies. There's two problems at play here; both are noisy, and there's no guarantee you can control how to get the messages to all your customers at the right time.

When it comes to twitter, you have to think of it very often as trying to hold a conversation at a kick-ass rock concert. You can gesticulate, try read lips, yell at the person you're trying to 'talk-to', but the chances of being able to be understood clearly about something important is almost slim to none at all. And this is what happens on extremely noisy channels like twitter. Just as rock bands can never be 100% sure that their audience at a gig is comprised of nothing but their die-hard fans, you too can never be sure you have your die-hard fans' attention on twitter to tell them something important at the right time. Often, you've to rely on word-of-mouth (or retweets) to get maximum exposure to your message, so that it can propagate and then hope it gets to all the right people, which is completely out of your control, which brings me to the next point; control.

The purpose of a status update is to bring a notice of importance to a customer's attention and to communicate clearly, concisely and effectively. Being able to do this is akin to sitting someone down for a conversation with a coffee. It allows you to have a lot more control around the conversation; without intermediaries, without noise, to act with clarity and honesty. And the person you're communicating with appreciates it more. It has authenticity as opposed to the 'social-media-to-whom-it-may-concern' feel.

Creating a one-on-one type feel in your relationship with your customers is hugely important. We're at the point where for many online services, we've moved past a race-to-the-bottom, and as people's businesses grow, when they spend, they want not just value but service. Far too often is service looked upon as 'features' or 'usability'. Service is the human touch. Making customers feel they are included, important and kept-in-the-loop regarding the service they've decided to place trust in.