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Eavesdropping on Your Clients (and Potential Clients) - A Couple of Tools to Help

It seems that just about every decent restaurant these days has a “receipt survey” in place. You know the kind I’m talking about, right? When I’m trying to pay for my meal, I get a long receipt with a code highlighted near the bottom.


It’s always a little awkward when the server says, “Visit our site and use this code and you will be entered into a drawing to win something useless to you.”


Okay. I know they don’t really say that, but that’s what I hear.


What are the exceptions for me, if any? What would cause me to actually visit the site and use the super-long encrypted code?


That’s easy. There are exactly two occasions when I would bother to follow through:


1. The service was phenomenally good.
2. The service was horrendous.


Everything else falls into the lukewarm spectrum in between.  Is this really candid or valuable in any way?


With that in mind, how can restaurants (and other businesses, for that matter) get a handle on how they’re actually doing? Unlike the title of this post, I wouldn’t advocate actual, in-person eavesdropping.


 


I have another idea for them (and for you, too, if you're in the real estate industry), and it can be done free of charge. You can easily use some simple online tools to get a feel for what people are saying about you. Believe me, if you do much business at all, someone is having a conversation about you and your company.


If nothing else, you probably have a handful of terms that you're interested in tracking when they are mentioned, correct?  If not, we need to talk.  :-)


Here are a couple of places to get you started:


1. Set up Google Alerts (http://google.com/alerts) for your company name or the names of your competitors. If people are writing blog posts that mention how terrible your service is, you might be interested in knowing this.  Conversely, if someone is a raving fan, figure out a way to reward them somehow, both publicly (thank them on your blog) and privately (take them to lunch!).  QUICK TIP: Make sure you put your name or company name in quotes (e.g. "Jason Crouch" rather than Jason Crouch) or you will get every result for each individual word.


2. Use Facebook’s “deep search” function. Many people don’t even know this exists. Use the “SEARCH” box on Facebook and put in your company name (or your personal name).  A dropdown menu may appear there automatically.  If so, make sure you click on the “See More Results for ______ Here”, which will be the bottom result on that list.  The results could surprise you.  Try out your town and "moving" as an initial search.


3. Utilize http://search.twitter.com - the “advanced search” gives you a lot of options. Again, you could be surprised by what you see, and how easy it is to join the conversation with a prospect.


Of course, there are plenty of others, some of which are professional (read: paid) in nature.


If you need help understanding how to leverage social media tools to help you improve your company’s online presence and make more sales, let me know how I can help.  I love this stuff!


Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/neilt/2517652/

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