It’s time to give back

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book-coverA book in 1 page… Here’s our take on this New York Times best seller by Gary Vaynerchuk. As Gary says, “There’s only so low you can go on price. There’s only so excellent you can make your product or service. There’s only so far you can stretch your marketing budget. Your heart, though, that’s boundless.”

The Internet, has given consumers back their voice.

Social media is not just somewhere a bunch of teenagers hang out. It is filled with YOUR customers, sharing their experiences. That gives your business the opportunity to listen and connect with customers.

KEY TAKE AWAY: Provide the best possible customer service and… “make people who aren’t your customers wish they were”.

Who is Gary, and what is The Thank You Economy about?

Recognizing the importance of e-commerce in 1997, Gary launched Winelibrary.com and helped grow his family business significantly – from $3 million to $45 million by 2005.

In The Thank You Economy, Gary draws on the concept that, businesses can no longer afford to treat customers badly. The world of business is coming full circle. Word gets around, not through small town gossip, but through social media channels.

Running a business was different 50 years ago. To succeed, you needed to put relationships ahead of transactions. You lived in the same neighborhood as your customers. You probably knew the names of their children. This was the Thank You Economy. If you were a bakery, you thanked your customers by throwing an extra bun in the bag without making a big deal of it.

Creating real relationships and giving incredible service to your customers was the game. One bad experience and the entire town might hear about it.

Word of mouth lost its voice when people moved from small towns to big suburbs.

People started shopping at big centres where they became a number not a person. One bad experience no longer mattered.

BUT… consumers have found their voice again.

Tools like Facebook and Twitter have brought the ‘local’ back into consumption. In today’s world, word-of-mouth is no longer tangible – it’s digital. It spreads to Friend’s Lists and Twitter followers, to blogs and message boards. The average Friend List on Facebook is 130 people and the average Twitter user has 200 followers – that extends to 1000’s of people able to read and comment about a person’s experience with your company.

Like it or not, social media has created the Thank You Economy again.

Jump on the social media train or your business will get left behind.

Social media tools greatly amplify positive voices but, even more so, negative ones. Businesses that don’t pay attention to their customers will face the same fate as Borders and Blockbuster.

There is a lot of debate about the ROI of social media. However, the real return in this medium happens over time and comes when you create advocates for your brand.

  • One study has shown that customers are willing to pay 5% – 25% more for a superior customer service.
  • 70% of people turn to family and friends for advice.
  • 60% of people are on Facebook or twitter daily.
  • 40% of consumers switch to buying from a competitor because of a better reputation for great customer service.

Great Gary Vaynerchuk quotes from The Thank You Economy

  • “Social media makes the internet an open playing field where any limits to how far you want to spread your message and your brand are self imposed.”
  • “Sometimes you will lose because someone else has established the relationship first.”
  • “It’s not the number of followers you have or “likes” you get, it’s the strength of the bond with your followers.”
  • “Quality content is king. Always. But from now on, quality content must be followed up with quality engagement. You had better be ready and waiting to engage your consumer online when they start Googling and tweeting Facebooking to find out more about the awesome content they just experienced, because that’s how our consumer culture works now.”

It’s about caring. Listen to your customers.

The book reminds us to give a thumbs up, hug, pat on the back, hand shake or high 5 to our customers.

It’s a great read if you have the time… but if you don’t… just take the points above and find ways to apply them to your business today.