This story has a little bit of a twist on using the social channels to buy a washer and dryer. There are several elements of interacting online that brought me to Warners’ Stellian’s for purchasing our new washing and dryer. This example of social media ROI is based purely only conversing with and observing Julie Warner online. Julie is the Marketing Assistant at Warners’ Stellian Appliance Co. Inc. The reason I say “online” is I have never met Julie face to face, which is weird because we have many of the same connections here in Minneapolis. I started following Julie about two years ago, based on her and I being connected to several of the same people in Minneapolis. One person I would like to thank for introducing us is Katie Schutrop.
So I observed very great interactions Julie was having for Warners’ Stellian, colleagues, and friends. I even saw her steal a sale from a competitor because the competitor’s customer was extremely frustrated with them and Julie was there in the same channel to help! Personally using the social channels to actually steal a customer and close the deal is quite impressive. Much should be written about how she did this! This observation sealed the deal for me that when we were in the market for their products and services Warners’ Stellian was going to be on that list.
In full disclosure, I did no researching of prices, models, or customer reviews for these products. I had a pretty good idea of prices ranges of what we should spend, but that is it! I just knew where we should buy based on researching and knowing a company based on one of it’s employees. My wife Tara did a lot of the research on price comparisons, customer reviews and model reviews. So she was the educated consumer on the product being purchased, I was not. I do believe she had some ideas on where she wanted to go and buy too, but since I was driving (“he who drives takes you in a direction”, yeah I just made that up), I suggested we swing by Warners’ Stellian to see if they could compete based on Tara’s research. I also explained Warners’ Stellian was local and we should try this route.
This was my first ever visit to Warners’ Stellian. Upon walking in you are greeted by a Warners’ Stellian employee that takes your name down so they know you are there and let’s you know if you have any questions or want to speak to a sales person to just let her know and she can find someone for you. This allows you to walk around the store and not get bombarded by sales folks asking if you need help. As we looked at the washers and dryers, I asked Tara “So are the prices in line with your research?” Tara said yes and they have the exact models I was looking for. So right off the bat my research and her research were lining up.
The next step was to talk through the models we were looking at with a sales person. She answered all of our questions about price, feature differences, and product history. We then sat down with the sales person to discuss purchasing and she was awesome! Very personable, helpful, and informative. She helped us make the right decision about warrenty choices without being “salesy” about it. She even made a call to the delivery drivers to move up the delivery day by 3 days because when she indicated the date for delivery. Tara and I must’ve had the “Oh really? The laundry is really piling up” look on our faces and without hesitation she picked up the phone and got the delivery date moved up. You can’t teach that customer service, you can hire for it though!
Taking it the extra mile is a sure sign of empowered employee! They value every customer that walks through the door. The Delivery Technicians were friendly, helpful and returned to the house no questions asked when there was a slight problem with the install. This was a another sign of the overall commitment to the customer. See it is not just your marketing, twitter feed, facebook fan page updates, or billboards you need to worry about making an “impression” that turns into ROI!
Overall I was extremely happy with the choice I made to take a chance on observing a social media channel, then base a purchase on it. Believe me this was not a cheap purchase to take a leap of faith on, but I figured the worse thing that could happen was being disappointed. So this is an example that businesses have to be aware there are probably a lot more customers watching and observing your business more through the people accounts than the logo’d ones.
Get these people out there and just as prominent as your logo! Now this adds an element of responsibility by your employees being aware of situations like this, but with some good old fashion media training, you will be pleasantly surprised how much this type of awareness adds to the element of success.
I probably would not have done the same purchase path with a logo’d account. So think about this in your strategy, planning, and execution when deciding company accounts vs real people accounts in your social accounts landscape. You may want to measure and quite possibly incent them differently. Just a thought!
ps. Sorry about the miss spelling in my Gowalla checkin, it won’t happen again!