We are here at SugarCon 2011 (#scon11) learning more about how to build a social business with SugarCRM. The social business is the next step in how we as globally interconnected society do business together. A vibrant, energized social business is one that interacts with its customers everyday across every possible channel of communication. From store fronts to telephones to Twitter, your customers want to know what you can do for them and they will engage in that dialogue in ways we couldn’t even envision just two years ago.
But why should your customers and prospects look to you instead of your competitor who is just one Google search away? It’s simple. Your customers need/want/demand to have a relationship with you. They will collaborate with you (or about you) in every way possible. And once they identify with your solutions to their business problems, your vision for making them successful, you will gain their loyalty.
But how do you build that loyalty? By building a relationship with your customers based on communication and trust. The first step in creating a social business is to engage in a completely interconnected, actively engaged, “always on” dialogue around your business. But once you connect, how do you build loyalty? By building trust. You must become an open business by embracing transparency in how you interact with your customers, how you build your products, how you create an ecosystem around your business.
Customers want to know why you make the pricing decisions you make, how you are going to educate them on new products, what process you are using for creating and delivering your products and services. Today’s “always on” customer has a world of data at their fingertips, but what they truly want is to buy from somebody truly knows their needs and gives them maximum value for the investment.
Here is a simple formula for creating a loyal customer base in this new age of the social business. (Hint: it’s nothing you didn’t already know.)
Openness drives accountability. Accountability builds trust. Trust is the foundation of a relationship.
An open, accountable and trusting relationship creates loyalty.
Because you are now communicating with your customers on a global stage with every word recorded, blogged, posted and retweeted around the world, you must approach your customers with openness and transparency. By embracing openness and transparency in this “always on” dialogue between your customers and your employees, you will create a successful social business. Because never doubt with Twitter one mouse-click away, your prospects, your customers and even your employees will drive force that openness whether you are prepared or not.