Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Are you struggling to create and keep profitable customers? Columns for Sales and Marketing Management who wants to build business relationships.
Blogging is a valuable medium for one-to-one interactions, but it's not the end all solution for customer communications "the experts" preach. Most of your customers don't know or care what a weblog is-- yet alone want to read the rambling of your sales team. Common with communications tools, you must provide for the desires of your readers while offering actions desired by the publisher.
Consider these communications strategies that cultivate customer relationships:
- Personal messages don't just come from blogging. A simple note from a sales professional can be just the personal message someone needs to close a sale, but daily messages can water down the value. Keep personal notes in business relevant by using them when most appropriate.
- Customers want solutions not conversations. Regular communications with customers should provide the value you desire, not conversations about your products and service. Provide first the solutions customers desire before providing content.
- Creating a message doesn't mean someone is going to read it. Of the millions of blogs available, under 2% actually have regular readers, even more are not visited at all. Concentrate your efforts on things customers want to read, pepper it lightly with your sales message if necessary.
- Customers want information that helps them make better decisions. Give your customers tools they can use to make better decisions, this is something that requires planning and effort. Focus on educating your customers with relevant facts, not opinions.
- Corporate communications must reflect business objectives. For individual employees to blog as representatives of a particular company they must be properly trained in corporate communications. While employees can be trained to provide a message aligned with the organization, those resources are better spent elsewhere.
- Interactions over various mediums reaches the largest audience. It's naive to assume all customers will receptive to your message by electronic channels (even in the high-technology sector.) Some medium carry greater credibility or priority to different recipients, using multiple channels guarantees a higher probability of contacting the largest customer base.
- Conversations can't be tested to produce best practices. How will you test and know what is working to acquire more customers? Unrestrained business communications (personal or not) are not cost effective over the long-term.
- Staff have better things than publishing a weblog. Your employees have specific tasks they should be completing, adding the publishing of a weblog will take away resources from customer service. Let employees focus on serving specific customer needs, not publishing opinion.
- Regular publishing by employees adds additional overhead. Blogging takes time and effort, monitoring content for legal and disclosure will add another layer of management. Doesn't your company already have enough to do?
Blogging has it's place in business, but it does come with a price. Think carefully before you ask your employees to open another channel of communications with customers. After all, it's hard enough to get regular status reports, do you think it will be any better with this type of publishing.
Justin Hitt, with over 10 years of experience in business to business executive relationships and strategic business intelligence; has reduced costs and improve customer loyalty for professional services and numerous other technology companies. Call +1 (877) 207-3798 or visit his website at https://iunctura.com/
Last update: 04/08/2004; 2:36:55 PM.