As with many of you, we have a presence on Facebook for the First Friday Book Synopsis. Many of you are members of the group that we established. It is fun to interact with you through that group every day.
It is important to remember that Social Media has limits as to what it can produce. It is what it is – it is “social,” and its intent is to share information, reactions, opinions, and presence. Many have tried to use Social Media for other purposes, and in fact, seminars are plentiful that purport to show you how to build business by maximizing and tweaking your presence with the various tools.
Click here for access to a full article published on February 21 in the Dallas Morning News about business results from Facebook. They are not impressive, and the trends below may surprise you, as they run counter to common-sense publicity about social media. Here is an excerpt from the article:
“Last April, Gamestop Corp. opened a store on Facebookto generate sales among the 3.5 million-plus customers who’d declared themselves “fans” of the video game retailer. Six months later, the store was quietly shuttered. Grapevine-based Gamestop has company. Over the past year, Gap Inc. , Plano-based J.C. Penney Co. and Nordstrom Inc. have all opened and closed storefronts on Facebook Inc.’s social networking site. Facebook, which this month filed for an initial public offering, has sought to be a top shopping destination for its 845 million members. The stores’ quick failure shows that the Menlo Park, Calif.-based social network doesn’t drive commerce and casts doubt on its value for retailers, said Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass. “There was a lot of anticipation that Facebook would turn into a new destination, a store, a place where people would shop,” Mulpuru said. “But it was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.”
These results do not surprise me. If you count on Social Media to build sales, that is neither its intent, nor a probable outcome.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Social Media. I access Facebook and Twitter several times a day. In fact, my MBA class on research methods at the University of Dallas is studying it during this term.
But, I am aware of what it is supposed to do, and what it can do. It is what it is. It raises awareness, but it doesn’t make the cash register ring. Don’t be disappointed when it doesn’t do something it is not.
What do you think? Let’s talk about this really soon.
I don’t remember which book I read this in. It was quite a few years ago. And, I suspect that I have a detail or two off, or missing. But I know I’ve got the overall story right. Here it is.
A woman called her regular salesperson (her personal shopper) at a Nordstrom location in Southern California. She said that she needed the little black dress that was in the corner window inside the mall (she described it in detail), and she needed it for a party by the next day. And she did not have time to come get it. Could the salesperson overnight it to her?
The next day, she received the dress, the very one she had had described. Inside the box was a note from the salesperson that went something like this:
“Here is your dress. I knew exactly which dress it was from your description. It was actually in the Saks window. So, I went to buy it on my break. I paid for it with my own credit card, so if you don’t mind, could you please send me a personal check directly? I hope you have fun at your party.”
Needless to say, this cemented this person’s loyalty to that personal shopper, and it added to the legend of Nordstrom’s customer service reputation.
Here are the customer service lessons:
1) Know your customers. Do whatever it takes to please your customer. The extra effort builds your relationships, your reputation, your future.
2) Know your competitors. This salesperson knew not only the offerings from her own store, but she also knew what her competitors had to offer. That knowledge sent her to the right store to purchase this particular dress for her customer.
3) Be willing to think outside of the norm. This salesperson was willing to obtain the dress from a competitor to keep her customer happy.
4) Do exactly what is best for the customer – don’t try to do what is better for you. In this case, many salespeople would have said, “you’re thinking of a dress from another store – but we have a dress that is similar, that I think you would like just as much.” No, the customer had her mind made up – she just did not remember which window she saw the dress in. And this salesperson set out to please the customer, not please herself.
All jobs demand some combination of sales and customer service. This story reminds us what excellence looks like.