User Influence: Speak up! They're Actually Listening
Today's website user is very different from a user as little as 3 years ago. Throughout the evolution of the Internet, users have taken control. They have forums to voice their opinions and in doing so have created expectations for businesses to uphold. Users require a relationship with companies and have found it through online interaction and personalization.
Social media tools have provided users a voice. Tools such as Yelp, Twitter, and Facebook give them a platform to review, voice grievances, promote, encourage, and gain support. The power that these tools can have was dramatically shown in the early 2010 campaign for Betty White to host Saturday Night Live on NBC. One Facebook user, a fan of White's, started a group entitled 'Betty White to Host SNL (please?)!' By May, the group had over 500,000 subscribers and the network announced that White would host the season finale. The show became the highest-rated episode since 2008 and White received an Emmy for her appearance.
Users are being heard and have started to influence the way companies do business online and offline. In order to differentiate and gain consumer loyalty, there has been a resurgence in customer service. Businesses are truly starting to value what is being said in online reviews, feedback forums, and surveys and implementing a change in their business practices. Comcast received constant negative feedback from online reviews and forums about their customer service. After listening to what their customers were saying, they are now combating that perception with TV advertisements showcasing their newly implemented philosophy on customer care.
There has always been power in numbers and now, with the tools that are available today, users have gained a significant voice and influence over even the largest company.