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Book:  The Thank You Economy

Author:  Gary Vaynerchuk

Purchase:  PrinteBook | Audiobook

Citation:  Vaynerchuk, G. (2011). The thank you economy. New York: Harper Business.

Three Big Takeaways:
  1. What is the return on investment for any kind of customer caring? Is there a formula that calculates how many positive interactions it takes to pay off in a sale? No, but until now good managers and sales people have killed their customers with kindness anyway. Because even without hard numbers to quantify the ROI, they instinctively know that learning a customer's trust is key. Almost 70% of people turn to family and friends for advice when making purchasing decisions. Where have people been talking to their family and friends recently? Facebook. If there is ROI in friendship and family, there has to be ROI in social media. (pg. 53)

  2. You can catch the leader in your space only if you get in the pool. So what if some people notice your numbers are a little low? I believe we're living in an era when more people will recognize the value of quality over quantity. Get in, and then start swimming better and faster than anyone else. You do this by being more genuine and more caring, by creating better content, by keeping your thumb on the pulse of the space, and by being more engaged. (pg. 64)

  3. Brands have to realize that it's not all about them. When they do nothing but push product, there's no reason for the consumer to say anything back. It's like that friend you have who always talks about herself and never asks how you're doing. Eventually, she gets tiresome, and you lose interest in keeping up their friendship. (pg. 212)


Other Key Ideas:

Before, it made some financial sense for big business to simply ignore people they considered whiners and complainers. Now, the satisfied, disappointed customers have the power to make companies feel the pinch. What a shame that that's what it's going to take to make some executives take social media seriously! It means that they're using it only to react to the potential harm it can do to their business. There's so much unbelievable good it can do, though, especially when companies use it proactively. Social media is a great tool for putting out fires, but it's an even better tool for building brand equity and relationships with your customers. (pg. 24)

Social media requires that business leaders start thinking like small town shop owners. They're going to have to take the long view and stop using short-term benchmarks to gauge their process. They're going to have to allow the personality, heart, and soul of the people who run all levels of the business to show. And they're going to have to do their darndest to shape the word of mouth that circulates about them by treating each customer as though he or she were the most important customer in the world. (pg. 24)

We don't just pull out the charm when a big spender walks in, or when someone is unhappy, and we don't reply to inquiries with carefully worded legalese. We try not to calculate that one customer is worth more than another, and therefore worth more time and more effort, even as we recognize that a big customer can bring a lot to the table. How can you ever know who is potentially a big customer anyways? What if you were able to build up a relationship and capture 30, 60, or even 100% of what he or she spends? Your small customer would become a lot bigger. That's why you have to take every customer seriously. (pg. 26)​

A lot of companies resist starting a Facebook, Twitter or YouTube account because an irate customer might post negative comments. So what? Would you prefer that the customer post them somewhere else where you have absolutely no way to reply? Or somewhere you can't even find? If you're that afraid of your customer, you might want to take a closer look at how you're doing business. (pg. 67)

Controlling their message and their image explains why so many – too many – companies still refuse to allow their employees to publicly blog and tweet about their work. I understand their fear, but it's unwarranted. In fact, there might be no better way to know for sure that you're making smart hiring decisions. Allow your place to talk freely, let them say what they want, because then you will have a much clearer picture of who your employees are and how they feel about your company. If you discover that they're vulgar, rude, or just plain stupid, and you take a closer look and realize that their work isn't as good as it should be, you don't want them to be working for you. (pg. 73)

There are only two things that will convince consumers to pay more for something when they could pay less. One is convenient, and the other is an outstanding customer experience. (pg. 88)

The first thing that makes an employee happy is being treated like an adult. That means that until people prove that they can't be trusted, they should be allowed to manage their job as they see fit. The second is feeling that his or her individual needs are being met. For example, we recently established a new vacation policy: there is none. The policy is, take as much or as little vacation as you want. At first it threw everyone off a little. What would be considered too much vacation? Then my staff figured out that I was serious, and that they would not be judged by how much vacation they took. Some have taken us out amount; some have taken none. What matters is that they all get to decide for themselves how much time off they need in order to perform their job at the highest level when they are working. (pg. 90)

When one company first launched their Twitter stream they used it to reach out to their community and attract newcomers to their site, but their one-way feed made it look as though all they cared about was pushing their product. How was that going to bring anyone to the emotional center? Then, the business started posting content intended to pull people in, not push their message out. The difference was amazing. Now, they're not letting any tweet go untreated back. (pg. 135)

The complaining customer who uses social media is a better customer to have than a silent one. You can talk to a customer who bothers to complain. If you think it's warranted, you can apologize. If you wish, you can explain yourself or ask for a second chance. At the very least, you can make it public record that you do not take anyone's dissatisfaction lightly. (pg. 180)

You can never lose by going out on a creative limb. Even if your campaign doesn't result in the sales you might have hoped for, your company culture will benefit from having tried. Talent wants to follow talent. Any creative team who sees that you tried something innovative will keep you and mind when they're ready to job hunt. (pg. 223)

Put the best people in charge of social media, not the people you don't know what else to do with. Teams don't pick the chubby, out of shape guy first if they want to win; you shouldn't pick the second-rate player to do something that requires smarts, empathy, and flexibility. (pg. 223)

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