Guest

Make Sharing Easy. Your Happy Customers Will Thank You.

By: Guest | June 7, 2011 | 
66

Samantha Collier is an artist, mother, law firm business development coordinator and social media enthusiast, and a @developsocially partner.

The Experience

I recently traveled to San Francisco for a conference. The firm I work for sponsors an upscale annual dinner for approximately 180 guests. I was co-organizing the event so it was critical that everything be perfect; particularly the food, which, we all know, can make or break an event.

The dinner was a huge hit.  I’m far from a food critic but it was hands down the best food I’ve ever tasted and the service was impeccable. They exceeded every expectation I had.  I could honestly write a separate blog post about the experience, but I’ll save that for another day!

For those of you who don’t know me,  I love to shout from the rooftops about great customer service. Most rational people would go to sleep as soon as they got back to their hotel rooms at 1:30 am, but not me.  I went straight to my computer to share my experience with the world.

The Let Down

I couldn’t find any social media links on their website.  Facebook , Twitter, and Yelp turned up empty.  I sat back in my chair dumbfounded. Does this really still happen?

Interestingly, when I typed their name into Facebook I noticed 91 people have shared their link. Ninety-one happy customers took the effort to share their experience. How many more would have done so if the caterer had made it easy for them?

It made me wonder why, in this day and age, would anyone ignore the importance of their online presence?

Could it be:

  • Marketing isn’t in the budget?
  • Misconception that it takes too much time?
  • Fear of bad reviews?
  • Fear of not controlling the message?

We hear countless stories of poor customer service like this one from Mummy in Provence. I wanted to share some good news for once.

This was reminiscent of a conversation I had with a colleague recently.  He argues that a social media absence might be a good thing.  Maybe not having a presence makes you stand out from the rest.  Perhaps it makes you more exclusive, particularly if your competition has a bad rating.

The Solution

Do we still need to have this conversation? Can you really afford not to  be online?

  • Create social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Yelp
  • Monitor the online conversation. Create Google Alerts and Twitter searches for brand mentions.
  • During events provide social media information to the patrons. Make it easy for them to share their experience online.
  • Start a blog. Share recipes, pictures, kitchen tips, etc. Bring the experience home.

The solution is simple. Let of your fear. Let go of your control issues. Focus a great product and great service. Build a social media presence. Listen to what your customers are saying online and join the conversation via the relevant platforms.

Some people might say these guys are so good that they don’t need the extra boost of social media.  But my answer to that is “I guess they just don’t want more customers”.  Can you really be so good that you don’t want any more business?

And if you ever need a caterer in San Francisco make sure you contact Paula LeDuc Fine Catering. 🙂

Samantha Collier is an artist, mother, law firm business development coordinator and social media enthusiast, and a @developsocially partner.

 

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66 Comments on "Make Sharing Easy. Your Happy Customers Will Thank You."

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TheJackB
5 years 23 days ago

I think that many people who don’t spend time online are unaware of how active and involved the conversation here is. They don’t understand how many prospective customers they miss and all of the opportunities that accompany that.

samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 23 days ago

@TheJackB I 100% agree Jack. During the event I kept telling them how great their services were and I couldn’t wait to recommend them. I just assumed they would be online! Hopefully they’ll know now 🙂

KenMueller
KenMueller
5 years 23 days ago

Great to see Sam writing on here. This is one of my pet peeves, @samtaracollier . The fact of the matter is, it is incredibly easy to make your site social, and inexpensive. Most of the tools, if not the time, are free. What I tell my clients is that if they are going to the trouble of building a website, building a social community, and blogging, why not use what is available to you to let others know!

samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 23 days ago

@KenMueller My thoughts exactly! It was actually a huge let down after the event. I wish I could find the words to describe how wonderful the food was. It was honestly the best food I have ever consumed. And I’m really not being dramatic!

I’m incredibly stoked to be writing on Spin Sucks 🙂 Lisa & Gini are awesome!!

FollowtheLawyer
FollowtheLawyer
5 years 23 days ago
Hi Samantha, I think small businesses are so busy that the thought of maintaining a social media profile is too daunting. Something as simple as putting a flag in the ground on Facebook, Yelp, Angies’s List, etc. where customers can brag on them is low-involvement and high-return. Good Yelp reviews are a gift that keeps on giving. I wrote a guest post on this hallowed blog recently (Thanks again Gini & Lisa!) about my HVAC contractor — now a client — who gets 70 percent of his business from Yelp referrals. He didn’t even know he had a string of… Read more »
johnfalchetto
5 years 23 days ago
Hi Sam, Congrats on writing for Spin Sucks. 🙂 Make it easy to share the good 🙂 Just like @KenMueller I hate not being to shout about how good a service or product is, simply because they just aren’t social. It seems a lot of the big corporations have their social media setup. This doesn’t stop them from delivering sub-par service but at least they can mitigate the damage online. On the other side there are tons of small business owners out there who do amazing stuff, like Paula LeDuc, but who have no clue what social media is all… Read more »
Lisa Gerber
5 years 23 days ago

@samtaracollier @KenMueller we are very stoked to have you. 🙂

faybiz
5 years 23 days ago

Sam, I am really starting to like Yelp so much more than any other check in service.

you mention it several times(which makes sense considering it was food related), but what are your thoughts on it? Expanding into more and more non-food and honestly reliability is good on checkins

samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 23 days ago

@johnfalchetto Hi John! Thanks for the comments and the congrats for writing on Spin Sucks. I’m sooooo happy to be here 🙂

I agree about big corporations being able to deliver sub-par service and fixing it by responding via social media. I never thought about it that way before.

Paula LeDuc’s service was phenomenal and I KNOW they would do great online if they chose to do so.

If I had known they weren’t online I would have forced them to create their first account during the the dinner!

Lisa Gerber
5 years 23 days ago

@samtaracollier @johnfalchetto I’m really curious to know if they even have a google alert set up and find this post by way of monitoring?

samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 23 days ago

@Lisa Gerber @johnfalchetto I was wondering that myself! Perhaps we’ll find them commenting on the bottom 🙂

justinthesouth
5 years 23 days ago

WOW! Love seeing you guys having samtaracollier as one of your writes! She rocks. Samantha, I agree with you and I even think its shocking that people make it so hard to connect with them. How many websites have you been too that you cant even find a phone number or email address, let a lone social medial tools.

samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 23 days ago
@FollowtheLawyer Hi Jay! It’s still shocking to me that these businesses don’t know about Yelp… especially when they are getting 5-star reviews and referrals. If I got a referral from an unknown source the first thing I’d do is check them out. Afterwards, I’d create a profile and get to know the system. You’re right about social media having the “time suck” reputation. This is the reaction I get from most professionals when I bring it up. Referrals are like gold to me and social media is just another way to amplify that! I want to join you on your… Read more »
samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 23 days ago

@justinthesouth You read my mind completely Justin! I was looking at a website yesterday that didn’t have a contact page or an about me section. I literally had to hold myself back from picking up the phone (after I found their phone number) and helping them out! Do you think they would mind? 🙂

justinthesouth
5 years 23 days ago

@samtaracollier HA! My guess is no! You have a way of making people see they need your help and not making them feel dumb! So I’m sure they would have take them time to heed your advice to them!

samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 23 days ago

@faybiz I think Yelp is great. I don’t use it too often myself but I have friends that swear by it for all their recommendations. They log all of their consumer experiences on yelp. Businesses should absolutely check to see if they have reviews and create profiles.

For example, I checked to see if my law firm was on Yelp and it was! I created a business profile and was happy to see all the analytics available.

johnfalchetto
5 years 23 days ago

@samtaracollier Why don’t you email it to her?@Lisa Gerber Google who?

samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 23 days ago

@justinthesouth I might just take you up on that. If they give me a hard time I’m directing them to you!

johnfalchetto
5 years 23 days ago

@samtaracollier Yes @Lisa Gerber and ginidietrich are awesome, I can certainly vouch for this.

samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 23 days ago

@johnfalchetto @Lisa Gerber I was thinking of letting them know but then thought I might be sticking my nose in the wrong place. 🙂

justinthesouth
5 years 23 days ago

@samtaracollier I think you have my phone number!

justinthesouth
5 years 23 days ago

@samtaracollier @johnfalchetto @Lisa Gerber I just want my name to be in the same box as you three!

faybiz
5 years 23 days ago

@samtaracollier I did the exact same thing. More businesses need to take advantage of all the listing services/checkin services. Sadly, there are many, but it is not too hard to get an arm around and at least make sure the information is correct and see how you can use them.

Yelp for checkins is awesome for ANY business.

Lisa Gerber
5 years 23 days ago

@johnfalchetto oh, it’s no one important. don’t worry about it. LOL!

Lisa Gerber
5 years 23 days ago

@faybiz @samtaracollier its true. there are many, but if you look at the top three or four that apply to your specific business, you can capture the bulk of potential traffic and it doesn’t take a huge investment of time to set up a profile and monitor the comments.

I swear by Yelp. I don’t know how I got along without it. I don’t use it for checkins and I very rarely write reviews, but I use it to find businesses! (I really should pay it forward and take the time to write reviews).

Lisa Gerber
5 years 23 days ago

@justinthesouth @samtaracollier @johnfalchetto well, it’s kind of fun to have you in the sandbox too.!! 🙂

samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 23 days ago

@faybiz Do you like yelp checkins better than Foursqare or Facebook?

samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 23 days ago

@Lisa Gerber @faybiz I need to start using Yelp more. It’s great when you travel too! It’s so hard to know where to eat, shop, etc.

samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 23 days ago

@Lisa Gerber @justinthesouth @johnfalchetto I like being in this sandbox!

janbeery
5 years 23 days ago
Samantha, From your lips to God’s ears! Some days, cocktail hour is a must start shortly after noon! I went to a recent prospects website only to discover a picture boldly placed on the site with an elderly man I guess sleeping. My initial reaction was AHHHHH!!!!! It looked like a dead body at a crime scene! (Yes kfas , I am going to blog about it!) No presence to speak of. Entire investment is committed to one person traveling around like a chicken with his head lobbed off to gain new business. HUh?!? Why why why? and WHY the… Read more »
samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 23 days ago
@janbeery kfas That’s the idea! Cocktail hour at 12:54 pm PDT! I like the sound of this. An elderly man sleeping? I wonder what kind of message they are trying to get across or who their target audience is? These are the questions I ask myself often. For example, my hair stylist works at a salon and their website has a picture of their salon closed at night with nobody in it on their home page. Seriously, the lights are off and you can hardly see the salon. Really? These are the times I want to give them a shake!… Read more »
MadebyMeg
MadebyMeg
5 years 23 days ago
A very interesting article on the subject. Any caterers out there that you feel have great web/social media presence? I own and operate Made by Meg LLC catering in Manhattan Beach, CA. I facebook, tweet (@madebymeg) and am on yelp. Yelp is a huge help for my business, facebook provides me a place where people can vist and see pictures and my twitter account connects me to other food professionals and sometimes clients. I rarely find a client who tweets me/is on twitter – but I’m always thrilled when I do find that out! Anyway, love the catering business profile… Read more »
samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 23 days ago

@MadebyMeg Your website rocks!! I don’t think it could be any better. It’s so nice to hear from a business that really “gets” it. I love the video and blog… it’s such a nice way to get to know you. How has social media worked for you in general?

RicardoBueno
5 years 23 days ago

I think the biggest hesitation is fear. Fear of bad reviews, fear of taking/accepting the responsibility that it takes to manage and respond to reviews both good and bad.

Yes, I think it’s unfortunate when a good company, who offers a great service, isn’t online or social in any way. But then, I love it when I run into that small mom-and-pop shop who really gets in, they’re trying and their growing.

RicardoBueno
5 years 23 days ago

@MadebyMeg I used to wonder how many local businesses are seeing success with services like Yelp and Foursquare. Then one day, at my favorite cafe (they serve the best armenian coffee evar!), I saw a customer come in mentioning Yelp and their 10% special. Then another, then another and another.

I have friends who visit the cafe to this day because of my constant Foursquare check-ins and my shout-outs to the cafe.

Does it work? Definitely!

samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 23 days ago

@RicardoBueno I can totally relate. I remember the first time I hit publish when I started my blog. I was incredibly scared of a bad review (or someone pointing out my bad spelling). It took time to get comfortable.

samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 23 days ago

@RicardoBueno @MadebyMeg It works!

RicardoBueno
5 years 23 days ago

@samtaracollier @MadebyMeg Indeed!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 23 days ago

This stuff makes me so angry. @RicardoBueno is right – it’s fear. Fear of the loss of control. Fear someone might say something bad. Fear that they’re letting people dictate their brand. Problem is, all of this stuff happens without social media. Wouldn’t you rather know what people are saying about you??

samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 23 days ago

@ginidietrich @RicardoBueno Exactly! People are going to talk about you regardless! Using these tools helps monitor mentions and respond/take action. I was so shocked to see their name 91 times in Facebook! And I’m 100% sure it was positive… hopefully they’ll see this post and get online 🙂

KenMueller
KenMueller
5 years 23 days ago

@samtaracollier @ginidietrich @RicardoBueno well…you know my motto: People are dumb.

samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 23 days ago

@KenMueller @ginidietrich @RicardoBueno Ha! Or they don’t know us!

MummyinProvence
MummyinProvence
5 years 23 days ago
Thanks for linking me up @samtaracollier ! I feel that there are too many businesses who don’t take social media seriously – perhaps it’s better to lurk on Twitter, facebook, blogs, forums etc … then have a “presence” which, in reality, for some, is just admitting that they created an account. IF a company is on social media they have to be equipped to respond in a timely fashion – in my case Lufthansa received a tweet from me early Friday (27th) morning, I heard NOTHING so I over the weekend I became more incensed. Why have a twitter account… Read more »
UnlockTheDoor
UnlockTheDoor
5 years 22 days ago

Hey Samantha, I’ve heard stories about companies not utilising social media before. It could be a number of reasons; fear, as you said, ignorance, deliberate avoidance, etc.

The reason that intrigues me the most is the ignorance; some companies avoid using social media because they have no idea where the world is right now. They’re still dealing business like they did 15 years ago.

Well, to those companies I’d say; this is 2011, this isn’t the mid-90’s. Social media is here. Wake up 🙂

lauraclick
lauraclick
5 years 22 days ago
This happens all the time. I know it’s happened it me. Isn’t it sad when you want to deliver praise and have no where to send it? Crazy. You highlighted two of the key reasons this happens – fear and time. There’s definitely the loss of control that prevents a lot of people to use social media. But, I also think time is a HUGE factor. I have this conversation with clients all the time. For instance, I have one right now who never checks Twitter as she just auto-posts everything from Facebook. I’ve explained why this is a bad… Read more »
Sean McGinnis
5 years 22 days ago
I feel compelled to jump in here and knock down one of the walls of this echo chamber – in other words, I’ll be playing the role of the contrarian during this part of today’s program…. 😉 Nobody believes more emphatically in the power of social media to help small businesses than I do, but the reality is that none of us know the business fundamentals associated with this catering company. Perhaps they are running at full steam and have no interest in growing beyond there current volume. Or perhaps they just don’t believe the ROI is there, because when… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 22 days ago

@KenMueller That’s my motto too.

samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 22 days ago

@MummyinProvence So nice to meet you here! I’m a single mom who traveled often with two kids under three years old so i can totally relate. I can’t even imagine what that experience must have been like for you!!! Those flight attendants need a refresher course in basic customer service. And then for them not to respond? Have they responded in a more sincere way since your blog post?

samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 22 days ago

@UnlockTheDoor Exactly! I’m really interested to know in this case because they were so phenomenal in regards to customer service, innovative ideas and food. I assumed they’d be online and was honestly shocked when they weren’t!

samtaracollier
samtaracollier
5 years 22 days ago

@lauraclick I like the social media ghost towns term! I’m going to use that from now on. I find a lot of these in the legal world. Law firms grab their Twitter handle name online to make sure nobody else gets it and then they don’t do anything with it. They’ll even have hundreds of followers with no content. People are waiting for them to start! This is when I want to pick up the phone and call them! 🙂

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