Gary Vaynerchuk has written an excellent book ‘The Thank You Economy‘ on how social media is affecting business operations. Some of his points are relevant to customer satisfaction and the psychology of gaining and keeping customers.

1. Forgiveness: Once you have a relationship with a customer, they will stay with you, even if you make a mistake, as long as you admit it, and try to fix it. He advises companies to venture into social media, despite the fact that they might make a mistake. They underestimate the customer’s willingness to forgive.

2. Integrity: Customers have what Gary calls a ‘bullshit radar’. They can tell when they are being misled. So interactions with customers need to be genuine.

3. Empathy: Most organizations cannot give in to every request from a customer. But they can show that they understand the issue, and that they are sorry they are unable to help. And perhaps find another way to satisfy the customer’s needs or some other part of the organization’s products that the customer could try.

4. Conversation: Customer survey data or comment cards are valuable but they only give you a point in time. They do not provide the means to further explore with the customer, to have a two way dialogue, to ask questions and get a better customer perspective and gather more details.

5. Responsiveness: Customers who complain on social media are actually your friends. First they alert you to a problem Second they give you the opportunity to respond. Even if you cannot give the customer everything they ask for and treat it delicately, what your responsiveness shows them and others is that your organization cares and that you are willing to go on the public record to show your willingness to respond. It is possible to save some customer relationships this way.

6. Honest, unabridged feedback: Another value of listening to social media customer comments is that it is a forthright, honest, unabridged focus group. Many times, customer survey data does not provide enough information for customer satisfaction management to understand the real customer issues. Often businesses would try to get customers into focus groups to gather more information and gain understanding. When I worked at IBM, we had to construct questionnaires and train the focus group leader on our topic, provide lists of potential customers to call (this was a challenge because we wanted both positive and negative customers) and then get them to come to a focus group meeting. Focus group meetings were held in multiple cities to try to find the right mix. Social Media provides a free focus group, with interested individuals, talking to each other about your products. You can engage with them, ask questions and gain understanding of issue like never before. This is a real benefit for organizations who take advantage of it.

7. Business to Business applies. Most Business to Business customers think social media doesn’t apply to them. But they forget that people are people. Buyers in a B2B environment are still people. They still engage with their peers and seek advice. They may form user groups. They may engage with you and each other on your Facebook Fan or Business page. B2B organizations should still research Social Media for talk about their products or services.

How is your organization engaged in Social Media conversations with your customers?

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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

One Response to “Customer Psychology tips from ‘The Thank You Economy’”

  1. Most Popular Blog Articles for 2012 | Customer Satisfaction and Reputation Management Says:

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