My family and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, over-indulging in food, touring and sun. We booked our hotel and airline package months ago after scanning the thousands of customer reviews, tips and ratings on numerous travel sites such as Trip Advisor, Expedia and Costco Vacations. While a recent Gallup poll suggests that “Americans say social media have little sway on purchases,” our experience with listening to customer stories had a large influence on the ultimate buying decision.
My personal experience mirrors my professional beliefs about optimizing your product or service through a robust and authentic customer messaging approach: Companies need to listen to customers and learn how to use their voices.
Early in my career, I worked in health care and was fortunate to meet one of the nation’s first heart transplant patients along with a number of caregivers who were fearless in caring for patients with all kinds of serious illnesses and disorders. My company was a 90-year-old non-profit that began as a charitable organization based on Florence Nightingale principles. We had limited funds for promotions and few resources for getting our story out to the public. Even though we were the largest home health care provider in the market, it was a challenge to promote our broad range of services and merits. It wasn’t until we started using the voice of the customer in our messaging and branding that people really started understanding the company’s mission.
During the time we cared for the heart transplant patient, I convinced my boss, the nursing team, the patient and his family that hosting press in his home on his birthday could be fun and help tell the story of a miraculous recovery while giving the public an inside view....
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