I came across this quote from Peter Shankman, which I think is quite apropos to the way customers are behaving and how businesses need to shift their thinking. He says, “The last ten years were about social media. The next 20 years will be about customer service.”
Customers won’t be ignored. They have tools at their disposal that give them immediate access to brands and businesses. But who is listening to this empowered consumer?
Is your practice prepared to handle what Brian Solis calls “Generation C” (the connected consumer) for whom sharing experiences with others is key? Relationship marketing – what we feel is the next iteration of social media – requires more than a mere presence by your practice.
Throwing up a fan page on Facebook and Google+ and hooking up your blog to auto-post some impersonal message is not enough (and we contend it never was, but that’s just us). This kind of automation of content is not personal, it is not engaging, and the viewer can’t even tell if it’s relevant to her, so why should she bother clicking to read more?
Signing people up for your newsletter is not enough either. Look at what Peter does when you sign up for his newsletter:
By inviting you to connect with him personally over a cup of coffee, Peter is setting the bar much higher than most – and with good reason. Relationship marketing is where it’s at. Savvy businesses who understand that expectations are higher than ever are busy building deeper connections to their consumers that are next to impossible to break.
Social platforms have become a key means by which consumers (and patients) communicate with brands and each other. Rather than thinking about your social media expenditure as “marketing”, think of it as an patient retention tool.
Remember when nobody thought the fax machine would ever take off? “Why would I EVER need to get a piece of paper to someone immediately?!” But they became the norm instead of a “nice to have”. Think of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the rest as your new norm.