I don’t know about you, but before I purchase something, from a TV to a book to shoes, I always check to see what other people think about them. I think amazon.com may have been one of the first big online sites to gather customer reviews and it has really changed the way I shop. Now I can go read what other people think about a book before I invest my time and money (you certainly can’t trust the blurbs publishers put on the back.) And how many times have you read an article about a great new iPhone app only to go to the App Store and find that 90% of reviewers think the app is crap?
Now most, if not all, online sites let users post reviews. And if you’re like me, you trust these reviews far more than any party line put out by a company. So while Marketing is very important, word-of-mouth advertising has the power to destroy with just a few key strokes. As Mark Nicholson points out in this article,
“Rather than talk about how great your brand is; show your customer how important they are, and how significant it is that they be a part of it.”
Which means it’s vitally important that you treat every single customer as a potential walking billboard. Each and every staff member who comes in contact with the public needs to think: What would this person say about our CU after our interaction?
After that, there are three things you can do to insure your reputation stays smudge-free:
- Monitor your brand by keeping a close eye on everything that’s being said about you, good and bad. Facebook and Twitter are good places to start.
- Respond quickly to disgruntled members or potential members. Your swift response and actions to correct a problem can be very effective in turning a negative into a positive even if the problem can’t actually be solved.
- Offer a personal touch by picking up the phone and calling, or at the very least by reaching out through cyberspace. Don’t make the mistake of sending upset members through automated phone hell.
As a CU marketer, you need to build equity with both current and potential members by building your brand’s good name. Don’t want until there’s a problem and then have to scramble to repair it. And remember that while bad news travels faster than wildfire online, good news also carries a lot of weight.