Solicit Feedback From Social Channels, But Avoid Acting Without Due Diligence
Social media is a dynamic tool that business owners can get much value out of, from mining new prospects, networking, and soliciting constructive feedback that they can use to shape the direction of their policies. This last activity can be particularly beneficial, giving you the benefit of direct, undiluted customer feedback that has the potential to shape the way that you grow and shift the priority of goals, but hopefully not before doing your due diligence.
Just because a customer suggests something via social, that does not mean that suggestion represents the wishes of your entire market. Business owners still need to look before they leap when it comes to the way they handle and react to customer suggestions. While a single customer may have a good idea, in another, just as likely scenario, they may have an individual preference or opinion that is not widely shared by the rest of your customers. The good news is that testing the popularity of a proposed change to your business can be accomplished by using social channels as well, potentially in conjunction with in-store polling and email surveys.
Reconcile the voices you hear on social against the size and demographic of your market. It may also be the case that your social media following does not align with the larger demographic of your customers. A scenario where this might be the case is a service provider whose primary users are in an older age range than their social media followers, meaning that as a rule, the opinions of that business’s social media followers might not be the same as their largest customer base. In this case, acting on a suggestion taken from social media could yield less than anticipated response, or even lead to a negative reaction from those who are not social media followers. Taking the opportunity to ask for customer feedback during client onboarding is one way that business owners can get a wider range of feedback with which to reconcile what they are hearing via social channels.
Social media feedback should certainly not be discounted, but it should be taken within context as a single channel that your customers can use to communicate with you. Don’t lose sight of where social media stands in relation to your business as a whole. Letting it go ignored, or conversely acting on social prompts without reconciling against a larger picture can be a big mistake for business owners with finite resources.
Photo Credit to Chase Elliott Clark on Flickr