As many people know, it is far easier to keep existing customers then try to gain new ones. With the emergence of social media sensations such as Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and many others, everyone is capable of being a company‘s public relations, advertising, or marketing specialists. For this reason, keeping your existing customers is now more important than ever.

In my social media class at San Jose State University, we discussed the six types of customers:

  • The Venting Customer
  • The Passive Customer
  • the Used-To-Be Customer
  • The Collaborative customer
  • The Customer Advocate
  • The Future Customer

Each type of customer needs to be addressed differently with some needing nothing at all (such as the customer advocate). However, they all have one major thing in common. They are trusted by the community. Research and polls show that people will believe something they hear by word of mouth, 94 percent of the time. That’s an astonishing number and if you take that into perspective, it is cheaper to have your existing customers advertise and advocate your product for free, rather than spend millions on campaign to attract new customers.

The reasons a company should respond to these customers if a problem surfaces through social media, is because with the emergence of social media, word can spread quickly. Instead of having to wait a day or two to read about an incident in the newspaper or hear it on the radio or television, these customers can now post reviews about a company and third-parties will be able to read it on the same day within seconds of it being up. However, if you provide excellent customer services and products by reading and reacting to their problems when it surfaces, you can turn these customers from your worst enemy to your best friend.

If handle correctly, these customers will become loyal to your brand and become an advocate that refers your brand to others. These customers lifetime value to your brand/company is more important than the itself. Without customers, there will be no businesses. Businesses needs to realize this concept, and come up with a plan to monitor and react to customers’ problems that arise through social media. If the problem isn’t caught in time for the company to react to, it will spread from customers to the social web and that tiny problem, will explode into a bigger problem in a matter of hours.

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