When I was in grade school, one Christmas in particular stood out for me but not for the reasons you might think. My parents were not getting along at the time and for whatever reason, I received a ridiculous amount of presents from my father. Some of which I was not even interested in nor had I asked for. I found this odd and yet this one thought was not lost on me even at that young age-I thought that my dad was trying to buy my affection.
I remember thinking that why couldn’t he just spend more time with me? Why couldn’t he have just hung out with me and talked with me? That’s all I wanted to do. I didn’t need presents. Well maybe one or two but…
Now let’s think about the brand experience. Before the age of social media, we really didn’t talk about the brand experience. It didn’t really have a name. It was just marketers trying to sell something. However, once consumers found their voice-It became readily apparent that they wanted a say so in what they wanted from the products they bought.
Pay attention to that last sentence.
It’s funny but sometimes I think we have been beat down so much as consumers that we misconstrue good customer service as a warm “live” voice on the other end of a phone. Great customer service? Someone who cares. Ironically, Brand loyalty starts out with the intent of the consumer hoping to get something from the brand, but then is actually cemented by something as simple as a conversation or recognition that you actually exist.
That’s all we really want. We just want to talk.
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I agree with that, after all the usual mantra about social media, “show the human side of your brand”, has this exact objective, to make customers realize you are there as a personal voice, not just as a sales representative.
Ah yes, the Zappos effect! True story–my former boss once got a customer service rep there to order him a large pepperoni & mushroom. I think social media, while lacking the in-person, unscripted or audible effect, can also go a long way in breaking down the barrier between consumer and producer. Platforms like Twitter, which are regarded as trivial and self-aggrandizing in the personal sphere, are or can be humanizing in the corporate sphere (or so I tell myself…).
@Claire-The human element, ironically missing from a lot of online interactions.
@Gabriele, it’s a tough line to straddle, pumping up the brand and adding a human-ness to it…