With the advent of the internet age, this form of personal social interaction seems to have been pushed to the sidelines in favour of a more generic virtual engagement: ‘personalised’ newsletters, mentions and retweets, etc. as much as we believe that these are the modern day equivalent to the more traditional “How’s the family?” the simple truth is that it’s just not. Why? Because, each of these so called personal interactions occurs across a virtual world, they are intangible and emotionless compared to real life engagements. So the question we have to ask ourselves is how we can marry what the online world can offer us in terms of unprecedented access to data on our customers with the offline charm of a personal interaction, in essence converting the virtual one-to-many engagement into a one-to-one relationship.
One great example of this can be achieved is Gary Vaynerchuk co-owner and director of operations of a wine retail store in the USA. His company gets hundreds of transactions a day through their site which means that there is a great possibility that the engagement between the consumer and company is one that goes no further than making the sale. However what makes his company stand out is that for every customer they get, they use online methods to try and find out as much about them as possible either through more traditional methods i.e. an after sales online questionnaire, or by embracing more modern portals such as social media platforms; following them and liking them etc. In doing this he was able to start to building up a more personal profile of his customer base, similar to that which our grandparents would have had shared with their customers, With this information gathered online, he was then able translate it into an offline medium creating a personal relationship with his customers. Gary noticed through this method, that one of his regulars was a massive fan of one particular player in an American football team, so as a personal thank you for ordering from them throughout the year they sourced a signed jersey and sent it to the guy.
The result, as well as a massive thank you letter directly to the company, was that the customer took to the social media-sphere and spread the news of what the company did for him to all his friends, family and even strangers. A big gesture right? Well it doesn’t have to be, something as small as a phone call to the customer immediately after a purchase simply to say thank you for choosing you with no sales spin on it can generate a similarly profound effect.
What this shows is how we can use information that could easily have been converted into an online social engagement and took it offline in order to create that one-to-one relationship that our grandparents used to create their own little empires. In return your company can be rewarded with the best type of advertising you can get, word of mouth recommendations.