Posted by: drewdice | July 5, 2011

Can Caring Fuel Sustainable Growth?

I’m almost finished reading Thank You Economy, by Gary Vaynerchuk, and have to say that this goes on the ‘must read’ list for business leaders across all industries (and ‘leaders’ doesn’t mean just for CEO’s, EVPs and SVPs – leading is in what you do, not your title).

One point that Vaynerchuk weaves throughout the book is the critical importance of caring as a catalyst for business growth. You can read the book to get all of the examples and more detail, but I agree wholeheartedly in this premise, and also believe that organizations and individuals can build meaningful and long lasting connection with customers and communities by effectively leveraging social media.

Some key points from the book that warrant sharing:

From an IBM study of online retail consumer buying patterns:

– Advocates spend about 30% more dollars with their favorite online retailers that non-advocates do
– Advocates have significantly higher lifetime value than regular customers, for not only do they spend more now, they are more likely to keep spending, and even increase their spending, as time goes on.

From Right Now, a Customer Service Impact 2010 Report:

– 85% of US consumers say they would pay 5-25% more to ensure a superior customer experience
– 66% said that great customer service was their primary driver for greater spending

Social media and social networks give businesses more ways than ever to listen, observe, and communicate with customers, potential customers, former customers, and soon-to-be former customers.

In a face to face situation, if you overheard someone praising or complaining about your organization’s product/service, I would submit that there is a high likelihood that you would introduce yourself and have a discussion with that person (find out more about what she liked or did not like, thank her for the feedback, invite her back to the store, you get the point).

So, why would it be any different online? Putting one’s business in a position to gain access to more discussions isn’t just a best practice or smart thing to do, at this point, it is a business imperative.

Business leaders have the opportunity to connect, share, care and impact relationships more than ever – and customers are already having these discussions – why wait any longer to get engaged?

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