The conversations are out there

Many companies still hold a deep-seated fear of two-way conversations with their customers. The idea of enabling direction interaction with individuals seems like a massive can of worms. How can we trust our employees to speak on behalf of the company? Aren’t we inviting trouble? Couldn’t it damage our reputation? How can we control the conversations? How can we eradicate the negatives? Do we really need to be taking this risk anyway? Is it worth it?

The answer is yes. It is worth it. In fact you don’t have a choice, unless you want to drift progressively further from your customers. What’s more, the conversations are already happening and there’s nothing you can do about it. 90% of consumers online trust recommendations from people they know and 70% trust opinions of unknown users, so either stick your fingers in your ears shouting ‘la la la’ while your revenues dwindle; or join in and embrace the chatter as an unprecedented opportunity for growth – a platform for gaining revelatory insight and feedback in real time and for amplifying the voice of an army of promoters… your most effective and cost-efficient salesforce.

At the end of the day, it’s basic common sense that any business needs to be where its customers are. In the UK, a 2008 Nielsen survey showed 97% of the UK’s population were shopping online (Japan 97%, Germany 97%, USA 94%, South Korea 99%). As for mobile… well, eBay just did $500m through their mobile app.

Protecting reputation and retaining control isn’t what’s important. What’s important is driving profitability through innovation. Success is achievable by relinquishing control in the confidence that you have the infrastructure, strategy and toolkit in place to listen and respond to the conversation. None of those things are hard to come by [email me if you'd like to discuss: jane@resonanceblog.com].

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