Quality of Communication Channel – Social Media
In this blog post, guest writer Ryszard Chciuk covers the quality of our communication channel and how social media can help us with the quality of the service we provide.
When writing about the quality of the communication channel, I mean the definition of service quality worked out by Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry in 1985:
- Service quality is the degree and direction of a discrepancy between customers’ service perceptions and expectations
To improve the quality, we have to close gaps causing the discrepancy between customer expectation and his perception of service. The central gap is:
- Not Knowing What Customer Expects
This time I am writing about social media, the beneficial source of knowing what customers expect.
I am convinced that machine operators are the most influential people in the construction industry. Dealership management makes a big mistake neglecting their power. Their influence on the purchase decisions made by construction company owners is immense, however barely visible. For example, critical factors of every buying decision are fuel consumption, production volume, and the costs of repairs. The values of those factors depend mainly on the daily behavior of operators. Thereby machine operators can have the most significant impact on a machine dealer’s success.
Other significant groups of customer staff influencing purchase decisions are site supervisors, site managers, and project managers. Those groups are affected by machines’ downtime related to the quality of service.
Do you consider those influencers in your marketing actions? How do you engage them in both party (dealer and customer) success?
How do you utilize social media?
Over 24000 Polish operators are active on the Facebook Group. Mainly, they share their photos taken on construction sites. They also ask others how to operate a machine in given conditions or what is the meaning of the red or yellow lights on their dashboards. Operators share their opinions about the quality of service, spare parts availability, and parts pricing. They ask others about the best source of spare parts. There we find short stories about problems experienced with machines. As far, I have not noticed any activity of aftersales managers.
Another place on the internet is the forum Kopaczka (only in Polish), with over 51000 registered members. There you can read about the daily problems of service technicians, mechanics, operators, and owners of small fleets (in my country, plenty of operators own just one machine and operate as subcontractors). I could not find any dealership representatives active in those media. Maybe they read about troubles their partners(?) share with the public, but nobody knows if they do anything with it. Do you utilize that kind of priceless source of information and the cheapest way of communication in a better way?
What do I expect? The dedicated representative of the dealership is active for 24 hours a day in such places. He gives valuable answers to questions asked by members. He finds solutions in the most comprehensive knowledge base: the experience of service specialists and demo operators working for the manufacturer and his dealers. Somebody should collect all those answers at the dealership website. It could become a section of Q&A in the blog or the product support chapter. The massive collection of beneficial information will soon become the primary source of knowledge for all machine users. The dealer can get an additional competitive advantage if they invent intelligent filtering and structure of that information. To make their partners’ life more comfortable.
I love saying, “Hope the best, expect the worst.” If the status quo in your marketing prevails and it is billboard marketing, you as a dealer will be a victim of internal quarrels at the customer side. For example, a company owner wants more prestige by using machines from the top shelf. The CFO prefers your offer due to the financial conditions. Project managers wish to have equipment supported by the best service, and operators are most efficient working on machines they like the most. You will never know which party is more influential. However, suppose you have established communication channels with each influencer’s group. In that case, you get a chance to learn about your company’s weaknesses. And you have an opportunity to fix them instead of waiting for the divine will.
Please keep in mind: Leaders who employ social listening — analyzing what consumers say on social media — can gain a competitive advantage by getting better insights that they can act on quickly, without incurring the higher cost of traditional approaches.
NOTE: Please look at the social media sites Ryszard is mentioning and find the parallel sites in your geographical areas.