"The Thank You Economy"
A book I recently read, “The Thank You Economy” by Gary Vaynerchuk, shed light on my perspective of customer relationships and word of mouth. “The Thank you Economy” is about genuinely treating each customer as the most valued customer in the world. It’s about taking every opportunity to show that you care about your customers and how they experience your brand in a way that’s memorably and uniquely you.
Have you ever thought about what it was like when businesses actually knew and interacted with their customers? It is likely that any elderly person will reminisce about how retailers and local businesses knew their name and made them feel like family when they walked in. It was possible for the business owner to know them their whole life, and there was no need to encourage people to “buy local” because local is all there was. Unfortunately, massive corporations squashed any attempt at customer interaction, but with the onset of social media, building customer relationships is possible again.
Social media allows for word of mouth and brings power back to the people. A key difference between the spread of information and opinion then and now is that recipients more often care about the individual sending it to them; we talk more passionately about things we care about and listen more closely to people we care about.
While it’s obvious that social media allows greater opportunity for larger corporations to interact with their customers, it’s also key for small business owners. Social media provides the opportunity to listen, participate in conversation, ask questions, solicit feedback, and most importantly, gain HONEST feedback (something that is not possible with traditional customer relationship management methods).
My favorite chapter in this book features a local restaurant that leverages social media to communicate with their customers and the community. AJ Bombers is not afraid to try something new and has certainly created a buzz with their bomber airplane peanut delivery system, peanut butter burger, or cheeseburger infused Bloody Mary’s. The endless conversions of scrolling tweets on the company website allow the customers to have input on almost every aspect of the restaurant, and online customers get as much attention as anyone sitting in the restaurant.
AJ Bombers took a chance on social media by spending their money rewarding customers with free food (for those who checked in or posted a tip on FourSquare), and actually ignored advertising and traditional marketing. Of course this is not something the author recommends for all companies! But they have succeeded by speaking their customers’ language, rewarding the right people, and have created a community made possible by FourSquare and Twitter.
And, one last inspiring takeway from this book: “The Thank You Economy is now, it’s here, it’s relevant, and I believe its scale may be bigger than any of us can even fathom. And it’s still very early…The day you recognize that the Thank You Economy exists, and you begin to take the steps necessary to execute properly within it, will be the day you ensure your business or brand a place in the future.”