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Business & Consumer Communication in the Digital Age

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  • 0:02 Communication in Business
  • 0:41 Digital Media Channels
  • 2:05 Communicating with Customers
  • 4:32 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sunil Hazari

Sunil teaches in the Business School at a state university in Georgia. He is also a Digital Marketing Consultant in Atlanta.

Today, social media has made it easy to comment about a product or a brand using digital channels. In this lesson, we'll learn the importance of business and consumer communication in the digital age.

Communication in Business

Jill, the marketing intern, was concerned because she was monitoring the company's Facebook page and saw a customer was really upset about the quality of a product that was being sold by the company. Jill's first response was to defend the company's product since it was one of the best-selling products in the industry, but she was not sure what type of communication would be best in reaching out to the customer. Jill noticed that other people had also posted replies to the customer, and the situation had the potential of getting out of hand. Let us help Jill understand digital media communication channels and why it is important to communicate with customers who are using digital media.

Digital Media Channels

There are websites, such as Yelp, that invite and encourage users to write comments about businesses. In these types of websites, customers can post reviews for a business based on satisfaction ratings. Other visitors to the website can read posted comments and share similar (or different) opinions. Over time, these comments provide a big picture about the quality of product or service offered by the company. For a business that receives positive ratings on such websites, word-of-mouth marketing provides an opportunity to retain satisfied customers and attract new customers. This is one type of digital media communication channel that companies should constantly monitor. Similarly, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can also be used by customers to provide information on their experience with a brand.

What makes information on these channels more damaging to businesses is that brief information and short messages posted on these sites rarely provide details of the situation, so the problem appears worse than it actually is. It is, therefore, important for companies to monitor these new digital channels and reach out to customers who may have had a bad experience with the business. In the past, companies used to reach out to customers using printed letters and formal communication. Today, companies are increasingly using social networking and digital community channels to reach out to customers.

Communicating with Customers

When a customer faces a problem, in today's digital world where communication can spread fast and far, it is not uncommon to see messages posted to social media sites about how terrible the company or product is. Companies are paying attention to social media channels because any negative comment can affect the brand image, or impression of the product, which can cause the company to lose market share, or the portion of the market a certain company controls with their product.

As a result of such consequence, it becomes important to deal with a consumer complaint or concern sooner rather than later. One strategy that companies often use when communicating with disappointed customers, is to reach out over the phone or through the mail and apologize for the problem faced by the customer. The company then assures the customer that they will investigate the problem and also offers a gesture of goodwill, such as a free sample or a coupon for the product.

When immediacy of response is important, companies are active in participating in social media channels. For example, a company may have a Facebook page where important information, such as safety information, can be posted. The digital channels are also monitored by companies who are proactive in communicating with customers. The information posted on digital channels helps companies use research, such as sentiment analysis, in which the company can get an idea of how consumers feel about the brand or product.

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