I'd like to share a personal story of how
recently came to my rescue, highlighting an important opportunity for all you small businesses out there.
This Friday was really stressful. I was up at 5:30 a.m. to prepare for the movers to come, followed by my cleaning service, all to turn my condo into a state fit for my new tenant in 24 hours! That stress only increased when the cleaning service, slated to arrive between 3 and 5 p.m., still wasn't there at 4:50 p.m. Their office couldn't get in touch with the ladies scheduled to clean my home and could give me no real assurance that it would even get done.
Friday, 6:30 p.m. Once I had the movers trollying my stuff into storage, I called the cleaning service to get an update. I was dismayed to reach their voicemail. Knowing this particular service didn't work Saturdays, I was in a bind. First I Googled while shuttling furniture with the movers, but then I thought better of it and posted this update to my Facebook feed. Surely, someone in Austin had an idea for me?
Jackpot! 3 minutes later ...
Friday, 6:57 p.m My friend Theresa posted a note about her favorite cleaning service, Austin Maids .
Perfect! I checked out their site, and it seems fine. I called their number, and naturally, on a Friday night nearing 7 p.m., I got their voicemail. I left an informative, if distraught message, not expecting any return call until Monday, then headed out to a dinner party. So much for research.
Friday, 8:35 p.m. My phone rang. Michael from Austin Maids got my message and said he could have a team available on Saturday afternoon -- I can call to confirm on his cell as late as I want. Now that's service.
Saturday, 12:00 a.m. We went to my condo after dinner and, it turns out, my original cleaning service did show, despite total lack of information and communication. All ended well, but you can rest assured that next time I need a cleaning service in Austin, I am getting in touch with Austin Maids. Why? Because my friends told me to -- via Facebook -- and they were right.
A lesson for SMBs:
This weekend reinforced the idea that all types of small businesses can benefit from monitoring social media sites , like Facebook , to be at the ready during a potential customer's moment of need. While my friends were the true heroes of the situation, had another maid service in Austin been monitoring the conversation, they could've jumped in and offered their services as well.
What else? The power of word of mouth in social media was extremely evident. Social media facilitates referrals (as well as negative opinions), so make sure you're paying attention to what others are saying about your business on these sites.
So, SMBs, if you aren't already, consider monitoring the conversations surrounding your brand. There are tons of free social media monitoring tools out there you can take advantage of, so what's your excuse?
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Originally published Feb 8, 2010 8:14:00 AM, updated October 01 2013