Social values – from the inside out

Sometimes, I get a little crotchety on this blog and call businesses out for not completing the social cycle. Sometimes its because they haven’t implemented social values internally. Sometimes its a rookie mistake. Sometimes its just human error.

But today, I’ve got a great example of implementing social values. And guess what? It doesn’t even come with an example from social media. Another great example of how social media isn’t about the platforms, but about the way companies embrace social values of transparency, two-way communication and engagement.

Here’s the story:

Recently, I needed to have  my carpets cleaned. I’ve been using the same small business to clean my carpets for over 4 years. They were easy to work with, reliable and did a great job and honestly, I loved that the owner himself came to my house to clean the carpets. What more could I ask for? When I called them recently, I found that they must have been purchased by a larger company. I sighed with disappointment. As a repeat customer, I hadn’t even been alerted to the change, but I anticipated that this new, larger company would come with the usual hassles of dealing with a larger company.

When I called to make the appointment, I was pleasantly surprised. I spoke to a friendly human who worked with me to be flexible with the time (not the normal “4 hour window” craziness). When the appointment time came, the work done exceeded expectations. I’d been wrong to assume that this experience would be anything but great. How great to be wrong.

But here’s where it gets really great. After my appointment, I was asked to complete a survey online. I generally DO complete surveys when asked. I think its important to honor a company’s genuine request for feedback and as a customer, I’m pleased that they’ve asked. It also gives me no greater pleasure than to respond by saying “Great Job.” Seriously.

Usually, that’s the end of the story. I typically forget about the survey and move on with my business.

But this time, I got a response to my survey, and it wasn’t because I was complaining. The response itself was a pleasant surprise, but that they acknowledged my comments and said they would share my comments with the guy who cleaned my carpet really impressed me. Nice follow-through and thanks for letting me know you actually read the survey and my comments. WOW. When was the last time you got a “thank you” for giving a company a compliment? Normally you have to complain, loudly to get a response…and sometimes you don’t get one then either.

How is this social? Its a genuine two-way conversation. Its implementation of customer feedback. It’s genuine. It’s completing the cycle of social. And it was all through email. Not a single tweet or Facebook post. Just social values from a small business.

So the next time you think you don’t have time to implement social media – consider how you’ll implement social values first. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how it impacts business.