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Long before there was Google+, the concept of +1 was used to address the topic of extraordinary customer service. In 1993, Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles wrote Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service. In Raving Fans, Blanchard and Bowles cover three areas: Deciding what you as a business want; Discovering what the customer wants; and delivering plus one.
So what did they mean by delivering plus one. Here are some of the key points they articulate:
Being consistent in your performance to create credibility with your customers
Limiting the number of areas in which you want to make a difference so that you have a chance of doing them well
Promote more service and deliver more (as opposed to under-promise and over-deliver)
Meet expectations first, exceed them second
Since one of the primary reasons to have an externally facing online community is to deepen relationships with your customers, it seems that the +1 concept from Blanchard and Bowles fits well for online communities. Here are 10 suggestions for ways you could +1 your community this year. Continue reading →
A Best Practice of World Class Communities is to Encourage Ownership of the Community by Members
One of the strategies Telligent encourages for building World Class Communities is to encourage a level of ownership of the community by its members. There are several benefits associated with this:
People tend to support the things they feel they have ownership of
The cost of managing the community can be lowered with community volunteers
Community members can often be more ardent supporters of the community rules and also more effective evangelists of your products than employees
This usually works well because the interest of the community members is in alignment with those of the company sponsoring the community. The following chart is an example of the typical types of things both a set of customers and a company would be focused on:
The key is ensuring that the community’s interest stays aligned with the interest of the company that is funding the community, otherwise there is a problem.
Sometimes, Community Ownership can Turn into a Community Hijacking
Steve Pavlina had this happen to him with his forums that had been successful for five years.
Click here to read the entire post on Telligent.com and find out the five things you can do to avoid having your community hijacked.
In the recent newsletter that Association Trends™ published, there was an article titled “Social media and how it’s changing associations.” This article focused on the theme of the recent ASAE 2012 Technology Conference, which was how to integrate a social media strategy into an association’s corporate culture. Social continues to be a growing trend, and it is starting to pick up in popularity among associations.
This trend should not come as a surprise since associations are perfect candidates for online communities built via social media. A group of people with a common interest, that come together regularly to achieve a purpose and to establish relationships. That is the definition of a community – and probably a pretty good definition of an association as well.
Over the past year I have been adding some of the classics to my reading list. The book I finished most recently is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. One of the things most striking about the book is the extreme focus on the level of civility when engaging with others. The book is full of conflict, between families, neighbors, and would be lovers. It is set during a time period that has a major concern over how things were communicated. There was a real concern for how the message would be taken – what impact it would have on the feelings and reputation of the person to whom it was directed, and what impact it would have on the perception of the character of the person doing the speaking.
While there were a few too weak in character to express their opinions, most, instead, took the time to think through the most appropriate manner of communication. Given this, I wonder what social media would have looked like in 18th century. Continue reading →
Someone on LinkedIn recently posted a question on whether “our strategic models (such as McKinsey, BCG, standardized indicators, . . .)” are outdated. The person wanted to know if there were some keys to give new meaning to strategic thinking that are better adapted to the current environment?
Before even attempting to answer that question, some serious clarification needs to happen. First, McKinsey and BCG are not strategic models. They are consulting firms that have, for the past 50 years, helped shaped the way the business world thinks about the entire subject of strategy. In fact, they, and most notably the early pioneers of BCG, introduced the concept of strategy into the business lexicon.
Telligent held it’s large user conference, The Big Social, at the end of September. It was a great event – good turn out, good content, and lots of being social. I conducted a half-day workshop that focused on putting into action the theory discussed in the first two white papers in the World Class Communities series I am working on with Rob Howard.
I covered all nine of the characteristics of World Class communities from the first paper Rob and I wrote and all seven of the strategies from the second paper I authored. Participants walked away with a workbook that allowed them to assess where their community stands on each element and a list of actionable items they could address. (As a side note, I am working on a similar type of assessment for companies that do not yet have an online community.)
CMSWire.com sent staff reporter Josette Rigsby to participate in the three day event in Dallas and she recently published an article about the session’s content. Read the full article here.
While the advent of the internet led to the democratization of information, social platforms are leading to the democratization of influence.
Information asymmetry is when one party in a transaction has more and/or better information than the other. Think of purchasing a home or a used car. The seller usually has more and better information about the condition of the home or car – how the previous owners cared for it, and whether or not there are any hidden issues. In days past, the seller also had more information on what the market thought the actual value of the home or car being sold was than a buyer did.
Information asymmetry creates an imbalance of power during the transaction and the party with the more information generally does better. Taking advantage of the asymmetry of information has long been a business model for large businesses to compete – that is, until the internet came along.
Every good business or marketing strategy book will tell you that one of the most essential pieces of analysis to perform for your company is a SWOT analysis. This method, attributed to Albert Humphrey, a management consultant from the Stanford Research Institute, has been around for more than half a century, is often one of the first things strategic planners will have you perform.
Strengths: Look at the characteristics, skills sets, experience, or assets that give you an advantage in the market place
Weaknesses: Determine the elements about your business that put you at a disadvantage to others in your industry
Opportunities: Identify things that you may see in the business environment that you may be able to take advantage of for increased sales or profitability
Threats: Point out those things in your environment that could lead to decreased sales and profitability
This seems to be a very reasonable and beneficial analysis to perform for any business – review both your internal and external situation and make decisions from there. Right? What could be the harm?
There was a time when only people in professional services – the consultants, lawyers, doctors, accountants, etc. – needed to excel at being a trusted advisor to their clients in order to be successful. Now, that requirement has spread far wider than it has before – the market is demanding that everyone, even those who sell products, become a trusted advisor.
This new demand stems from the fact that consumers have just too many choices today to make an educated decision about everything that is required in their personal and professional lives. There are so many choices and just not enough time to research all of the aspects required to make good decisions. So what is the alternative? What do people do? They made decision on who they can trust and then allow the influence of the trusted advisor to drive their decisions.
Well, that’s a great start; however you are not at the finish line yet. After the preliminary push to launch the community is complete, you must then shift your focus to a continuous effort to drive adoption. This is a three-step process, which includes:
• Driving traffic to the site
• Encouraging engagement
• Enabling members to become evangelists for the community