What's the most important thing to your business? Its customers, because without them, your "business" is likely just an expensive hobby. (This is equally true for non-profit organizations, but they serve two groups of "customers," the ultimate consumers of the services the non-profit provides and the people and organizations that fund those services.)
So what's the most important business resource your organization is probably under-leveraging or not measuring, tracking or paying attention to at all? Generally, it's what your customers think and feel about your organization and its offerings. More specifically, it's the engagement and passion of your best and happiest customers.
Those qualities are probably the most effective tools you have for recruiting and acquiring new happy customers. But you absolutely need the best available information about your customers – who's happy and why, who's unhappy and why and everything related to those questions. That information is crucial to your efforts to identify your most positively engaged customers and to leverage and amplify their engagement and passion.
Of course, your organization should already be tracking what customers think and feel, using everything from social media monitoring to periodic proactive outreach NOT intended to sell anything. But how best to go one step beyond, closer to the encouragement and leverage of actual customer communities?
I recommend a close, careful look at Get Satisfaction. Get Satisfaction helps companies to leverage and monetize pervasive, passionate engagement of those companies' customers. (I've run this admitted mouthful past a few Get Satisfaction executives, and they say it captures what they do pretty well, so I'm sticking with it.) It does this via a combination of really cool software and effective, field-proven processes and practices that it makes available to its customers.
Pricing starts at $19 per month for all the tools you need to build and manage a basic community. For $49 per month you can add support for a team of community managers and Facebook integration. At $99 per month you get additional community customization, analytics and Web site integration features. And at $289 per month you can add integration with customer relationship management (CRM), help desk and other systems as well as enhanced support from Get Satisfaction. Free trials and options for full customization and rich branding are available as well.
There are other customer community management and feedback collection solutions out there, to be sure. (Three of them are discussed briefly along with Get Satisfaction in a November 2010 article at Inc.com.) However, none that I've seen offers the combination of flexibility, functionality and economy available with Get Satisfaction.
Also, Get Satisfaction's founders, management and corporate culture are, to put it mildly, intently focused on empowering customer-led communities that deliver real, measurable business value. This is reflected in everything I've seen them do, say and deliver so far, and strongly complements the strengths of the company's core offerings.
Your customers are your market. The more you can empower your customers to ask questions, share ideas, provide feedback and form communities, the more you know about what your customers really think and feel. The more such information you have, the better your marketing, sales and customer care efforts can become. If these things matter to you, you should explore Get Satisfaction. Now.
Free Webinar: Synchronicity abounds – Lane Becker, a co-founder of Get Satisfaction, will be the featured speaker in a Focus.com Webinar entitled "Think Like an Entrepreneur: Lessons for Businesses of All Sizes." It's sponsored by GoToMeeting, another tool you should be using if you're not. I'll be moderating. Should be an interesting and valuable conversation. I hope it will include you.
The live event takes place on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010 at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET. It will also be available on demand later, if you can't make the live version. For more information or to register, please go to http://dortchon.it/f32uR8.
Some cynics describe "marketing" as "sales without a budget." I prefer to see marketing as what makes sales possible -- whether you're selling widgets, services or your colleagues on adopting some new technology. And since new technologies are enabling and forcing new thinking and actions by marketers, of new technologies and of everything else...
Friday, December 10, 2010
Get Satisfaction: Turning Customer Communities into Bigger Business Benefits
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