SocialClimb recently met up with a digital marketer who used to work for an organization that had a billion dollars in assets and marketing budgets that reflected it. The sad part is, this company’s reputation was horrible. We were curious how a company with so much accumulated value and sales, was perceived so poorly. He revealed some very interesting insights that we had to share with you.
- The focus was on sales, not relationships.
- No attention was given to the end customer.
- Feedback was given by selected customers, not all customers.
- The board was slow to approve innovative ideas.
Over the course of ten years, this company grew and it grew fast. It had two customers. Home improvement contractors, and the contractors customers. It did a great job of selling to contractors, but was very weak on paying attention to the end customer. Tens of thousands of end customers later, less than 20 had gone online and voiced anywhere from mild dissatisfaction to complete hatred for this brand. Because this brand had done nothing outside of its contractor network – these 20 unhappy end-customers had created a completely distorted and unfair brand reputation for this company.
The end result was:
- Contractors no longer wanted to work with them.
- End customers did not want to buy the products being pitched by the contractors.
- Employees were leaving and this company could not find replacements.
The marketer we talked with was hired to clean up this mess. It took 9-months to remove all the negative results found on search engines result pages.
In his words, “It wasn’t one magic bullet that cleaned up our brand reputation. It required a lot of hard work and commitment from everyone in the company. But the tactic that was most valuable was soliciting feedback from ALL of our customers, and then inviting those with a positive experience to leave online reviews. This helped us neutralize negative reviews and create balance. But more importantly, it gave a voice to everyone, even those with unkind things to say. This feedback transformed how we prioritized innovation. Projects that were alway being pushed to the back of the line suddenly took priority. Everyone became customer focused and egos were checked at the door.”
“Soliciting customer feedback and encouraging positive online reviews from happy customers has been to date the only marketing activity that has united the entire company around a single initiative, and brought true collaboration among all departments.”
At SocialClimb we are experiencing the same with our clients. Those with a lot of traffic and high touch, like medical practices and those in the service industry, see the greatest results. Not just because SEO is making incredible gains and social proof is skyrocketing, but also because the culture is transforming in favor of the customer.