What are your customers saying about you?  Are you involved in the conversation?  They’re talking about you and telling others about you and your products and services.  Take social media serious in the power it has folks.  I spoke with a small business owner just the other day that said, “I don’t need that Facebook and Twitter crap, that’s a waste of my time!”  Really?  This particular business is a local provider of a popular product and they’re located in a busy strip mall right off one of the busiest roads in Denver.  They are actively trying to grow their client base, and are making great strides to expose the business in the most positive way – but no social media, no active voice – choosing to NOT be in the conversation.  Bad Call!

Let’s catch up with Scott Stratten and UNMarketing again, to learn how simple social interaction can lead to something pretty magical, and evoke the true power of being part of the conversation. . .

UNMarketing –  Page 79:

Chapter 20 – Dominos – Word of Mouth

Mouths Are Moving…..

During a bad storm in April 2009, Amy Ravit Korin decided to order a few pizzas because cooking wasn’t on her evening agenda.  She decided to place an order online with Dominos, getting through the entire process without talking to a single human being.  You might then assume that this would make the order seemless and error-free—because she typed in exactly what she wanted.  This was not the case.  The order was not only wrong, but it was late, taking more than an hour to arrive.  So, being the social media lover and consultant that she is, she hopped onto Twitter and let her feelings about this experience be known.

Much to her surprise, a little while later, she received a tweet back from Roman De Leon who owns multiple locations of Dominos in the Chicago area.  He acknowledged her tweet and promised to make it right.  She was already waiting for a new pizza to replace the wrong one, so she figured short of a coupon that this would be the end of it.  Little did she know what was about to happen. 

She woke up the next day to a video that was made for her by Ramon as well as “Junior” the store manager of the specific location she had ordered from.  This is perhaps the best 2 ½ minute video any business owner could see.  It has both of Domino’s reps apologizing for what happened, not making up any excuses, and you can truly see the passion behind their words—that they really do want to make it right.  Amy was quite taken aback when she saw the video.  She doesn’t have a million followers, she isn’t Ashton Kutcher, she was simply on dissatisfied customer.  Key word here is “was.”  After seeing the video she forwarded it to others and it caught on like wildfire.  The video to date has been viewed by more than 100,000 times around the world.  Sadly one of the reasons it has been viewed so many times is that it is so rare for companies to own the mistakes.  When people complain to you, they are first looking for validation, not compensation.  They want to know that they have been heard, they want to know that they matter, and they want to know that you care. 

Roman acknowledged her as quickly as possible on Twitter, which never would have happened in the first place if he hadn’t understood that word of mouth happens with or without him.  He took a negative and turned it into an exponential positive.  If I told you that I had a room full of potential customers all talking about your products and services and your competitors, would you not show up?  Not listening and then acting on social media chatter is like not showing up at all.  The only thing worse is to have a presence in social media and only talk and not listen.  It would be like showing up in the room with earplugs on. 

For you to hear what people are saying about your company is simple.  Run a search on Twitter by using your company name.  There are also tools you can use to make this search easier, such as setting up custom columns on TweetDeck.  From a free Google alert set up for your keywords to using a service like Radian6, which is a tool to listen to, measure and engage with your market across all social media sites.  On top of that you can use these same tools to keep on top of what your competition is doing and what people are saying about them. 

Roman ended up making things right by showing up to an event that Amy was part of, not only because he happened to be catering it, but so that he and Junior could drop off a personal pizza for her along with a dozen roses. 

Pretty cool huh?  Just for being involved and engaged in the conversation.  Yeah.

Here’s another quick story that is pizza related and rolls into the next chapter of Scott’s great book –

I attended a local networking event this week held at small pizzeria.  Great turnout in their new location, savvy business people pouring out the front door enjoying beverages, sampling good foods and engaged in good after business hours conversation.  I noticed when I drove up, having never been to this restaurant, that there was a lack of signage.  Nothing above the windows or doors, nothing in the window, really nothing to speak of except for cars in the parking lot – that was my clue.  I assumed since it was a new location, signage was in transition or on-order.  I mentioned it to a friend I recognized as I approached.  He quickly nodded and introduced me to the owner.  She was a bit harried, but smiled and gave me her card and I gave mine to her.  Since I’m in the business of helping business owners brand their business and develop an effective strategy for marketing their wares, visual messaging is a hot button for me.  I thanked her for her card, asked her about signage and she said she’d hit a snag and would like to talk to me about her needs.

Cut to the chase – I spent that evening talking with new and old friends, meeting new business owners and enjoying some light networking.  The next day I emailed the business owner and thanked her for her hospitality and offered to speak with her about her visual messaging & signage needs.  I followed that up by a phone call the next day.  Still no response.  No worries, folks are busy, particularly retail business owners!  But understand this – that room full of new customers that night can easily be turned into new customers, and multiplied by how they converse with others, can also easily be turned off by a lack of communication or response, particularly in this type of setting.  Still say Social Media is not important to your business?  Really – may want to give that a second thought folks – the conversation starts, happens & continues with you or without you.  Where’s your voice?

For another great pizza story that’s benefitted greatly and measurably by social media, get Scott’s book and read on – Chapter 21, Naked Pizza