Today’s management tip-of-the-day from Harvard Business publishing was titled: Ready to Use Social Media? Proceed, with Caution, which was distilled from a full article on the same topic. Naturally, I wondered… what are they cautioning me against? Here’s the synopsis:
"In 2006, McDonald’s launched its first blog, Open For Discussion, signaling a desire to engage with customers. Less than a year later, the blog was flooded with customer complaints about the company’s decision to include toy Hummers in Happy Meals — and McDonald’s was slow to respond. When your company decides to venture into social media — by starting a group on Facebook, launching a blog, or Twittering — be prepared to truly hear what your customers have to say, and act on it. Providing a forum for people to share opinions about your products and services is a great way to build customer relationships, but only if you’re ready to engage. If your customers are Tweeting that your products aren’t durable, maybe they have a point. Demonstrate that you hear them and take their feedback to heart."
It turns out that their caution is just like that of any other voice of the customer program: We need to be ready to listen and ready to take action!
Gathering and distributing customer insights is one part of the job, but truly listening and evolving our companies based on the good, the bad and the ugly experiences of our customers is what it’s really all about – no matter what type of forum we’re using.