Useful tools for collective intelligence to help grow your business
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Asking and gathering actionable feedback are the engagement keys.
This article is about providing you actionable and ready-to-go advice by utilizing the wealth of intelligence available to you online, and creating and maintaining a communication channel between you and your customer.
Fed up with non-operable resources hanging around the web?
Our team at Conexie decided to bring together some of the best tips they have experienced not only as marketers but as citizens of Sydney.
Boring, complicated, and endless communication processes can’t be applied to SME (Small and Medium sized enterprises) — Why?
1_ No time (obviously)
2_ Too much information is lost — Customers want the things to be easy. (obviously)
You might think that you could just get away with thinking that if someone wants to communicate with you, they will find a way → this is not good, in fact, terrible. However, there are a staggering 90 billion ideas just waiting for you over there.
That’s the collective intelligence!
At Conexie we love to eat, so we’ll be using restaurant examples to explain our point!
[I can assure you that all these “actionable tips” are coming in less than 20 lines but first let’s understand what I mean by “collective intelligence” and “transactional communication”.]
What is collective intelligence?
You can read a lot of articles and white papers dealing with the collective intelligence issue aimed to manage teams and take advantage of a wide personality mix. This is all about listening to each other, and combining small (sometimes seemingly insignificant ideas) to create something bigger, something meaningful.
However, the use of collective intelligence should not stop behind the office door. These ideas can be applied to associations, families, and even communities.
In their everyday lives, individuals gather an immense amount of information, such as a broken park bench, a flat tire, a lost wallet, what time the queues are especially long at their local cafe… the list goes on! They also want to be able to easily connect to their environment, by providing feedback for their favourite restaurant, or get in touch with their property manager easily. Unfortunately, there is no single way to share all these valued thoughts.
Businesses are already impacted by the “collective intelligence”’ effect. In fact, through collaborative apps/websites such as TripAdvisor, and even twitter, people are enabled to share their opinions with the entire community. Unfortunately, these thoughts are, in some cases, neither actionable for businesses nor customers — What identifiers can a restaurant owner use to improve his business by a generic one-star comment on Trip Advisor?
A business’ goal should be to find a way to use this intelligence to improve their customer’s experience and relationship.
This is what this article is about!
[Ok maybe 10 more lines, that’s the last time]
Communication specialists are familiar with the term: transactional communication. It just means that “the sender and the receiver each take turns to send or receive messages”. The idea is that both sides of the communication funnel exchange information, in the same way, you would pay for your groceries at Woolworths.
A waiter/waitress IS asking the customer if they’re enjoying the meal. The customer does not like the meal but to avoid potential conflict, they say the meal is good but will never come back to the restaurant.
There was potential to improve the food, but you missed the opportunity…
It is clear that having a real “transactional communication channel” is a must have to take advantage of collective intelligence.
Our solution — How to use collective intelligence?
Regarding your business standpoint, what makes your customers happy? What does your average customer enjoy? These are the main questions you need to ask yourself before you start to create a communication funnel.
We have listed some solutions, that are TOTALLY FREE!!
✓ Streamlined way to communicate
Let people easily know reliable contact details
✓ Make your customer feel important
Take care of your customer
Engage your customer — People always have something to ask
There are multiple ways to take advantage of collective intelligence.
A. Providing before asking — transactional communication basics
What would you want to check out before eating at an establishment? To take advantage of your customer’s valued thoughts, a reliable relationship is needed.
✓ Share some knowledge
o Do your customers barely engage in your website? You could provide them with compelling content, even before they understand what your product really is. Matthew Barby, a prominent growth/SEO consultant is a good example to follow.
o The first time you get in touch with your customers (Website, office, newspaper, … provide them with some of your valued content, they can give you their e-mail address in return.
o Once the relationship has started, you could e-mail them back, asking for feedback, reminding them that you are available.
o There are multiple ways to do so. Below are some tools to create/broadcast content:
▪ Email: MailChimp.
✓ Build a community
You may already have some steady/regular customers. Why don’t you use them to gather feedback? They know you, but you don’t know them. — What can you do?
o Don’t assume you know your customer
o Identify your steady customers
▪ Facebook is a very powerful search tool. Use the Facebook Search Graph to find people. Here is a tutorial you can use
▪ Old fashioned techniques are still the best. You order a book, the e-mail list provides good advice
o Notice the little things
▪ Know your customers name
▪ Learn from their behaviours
o Give them the first look at a new product/dish/service/… Again, you are gathering information and making your customer happy
B. Communicate on issues you are facing
Your fryer is not working well today. Is it better to kindly advise customers to order a salad, or serve disgusting fries? It depends on your business nature for sure. In some cases, bad news is better than bad surprises:
Solution — If you decide to communicate
✓ Spend time to explain the situation and be truly sorry
✓ Invent, or find a funny story to tell people
C. Brush up your Website
We have all experienced websites with no seamless way to get what you want. It gets on a customer’s nerves and consequently, they would rather use a market place website instead of your own website.
A customer is looking for booking a restaurant in TripAdvisor, he chooses yours and is redirected to your website.
✓ Ask yourself — What do you want? Are you a booking/ordering/ buying/downloading service? What does your customer want? Is it quick information, and a clear/secure way to book/download/order/buy? Your website must respond to this desire.
✓ Have a look at Slack.com. In two steps (< 30 seconds) you can understand the product and are ready to download.
✓ A versatile website!! Meaning that your website should look good on a mobile device. Check your website versatility here
D. Centralise your information
What could be worse than a customer coming in your restaurant when you’re closed? What could be worse than the wrong contact details on google?
You need to streamline your communication process, and display accurate information in every search engine.
✓ Make sure that your business details are correct on Google. Use this link — It’s easy and free!
✓ The details you display for your business on the internet needs to be consistent. For instance, a phone number is more appropriate than an e-mail address for a restaurant.
E. Survey — Basic tools
Simple ideas are often the best. Surveys are the most effective tool to gather these ideas
✓ Idea box
People write their feedback/improvement idea on paper and put it in a box
✓ Web survey
Use free tools to ask whatever you want to your customer
Typeform is one of the best free tools on the market
How to let people know about your survey?
✓ Read the “Be quirky and funny” section below.
✓ Discount certain products in exchange of survey’s answers
✓ QR Code
Though Code Generator
F. Be quirky and funny!
Games are a good way to get people’s attention.
✓ Print your survey link on napkin (Link, QR code, or direct)
✓ Our favourite game: Business card game. Customers put their business cards in a jar to participate in a random draw. You also get an e-mail list on the side!
✓ Celebrate the good times! This is your business’s birthday, don’t miss this opportunity to bond with your customers!
✓ Every day we come across some fun ideas to engage your customer, for instance:
✓ Our best inspiration sources are: (One more time you use the collective intelligence)
✓ Feel free to share ideas with us!! (Twitter is a good way) 😉
G. Telephone frustration
✓ Both speakers can’t convey all the relevant information (Picture, location, ….
✓ Information is lost because of internal communication process
✓ Invite them to send you an email (only if needed, because it is a real pain point)
✓ Always ask for more information
✓ Conexie à app to upload feedback along with pictures and location
✓ We have not worked out this pain point yet… If you have any ideas -> (Tweet!!)
H. Fed up with answering the same question multiple times
✓ Build a FAQ and let people know about it.
There are multiple free-tools that enable you to build an understandable FAQ quickly:
o SlimFAQ — to add an FAQ page to your existing website
✓ Chatbots — People can connect to your chatbot in only one click
o ChatFuel — Launch a full-featured chatbot in 7 minutes — FREE
✓ Newsletter — Keep your customer, investor, executive up to date thanks to a streamlined process
Indirect methods — people have done the work for you, use it!
A. Be inspired by SEO methods
Don’t know anything about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) It’s okay! You don’t need to.
Most famous SEO experts spent ages focusing on the keywords people are typing in the Google search bar for their specific needs. They all find inspiring ideas on people’s collective intelligence. By navigating through websites like Quora.com, reddit.com, wikipedia.com, they find out the current trends.
There are three ways to search on these sites:
✓ Google your question
✓ Use the website’s internal search toolbar
✓ To search with google, but only in the website of your choice, type on google search toolbar:
For example: Site: quora.com “Communication”
You can almost find everything you need on these websites and any feedback that could be applied to similar businesses.
B. Social media, social media, ….
No! I will not tell you to post a cute jumping puppy video every day.
I just came across a Facebook group that gave me some ideas:
Ok, you can laugh about this weird community. But not for too long.
This dummy group has 180K followers!!! That’s an impressive information source. In only 10 minutes traveling through the group, you can identify what customers are expecting, use your competitors ideas, and so on.
How can I find these groups? -> Use Facebook Search Graph
For instance, group liked by people who like spaceX
You tried Twitter and got lost in all the non-compelling content that bots are tweeting? We are in the same position. MyTweetAlert is a totally new tool aimed to automatically sort the tweets important to you.
That’s the perfect illustration of collective intelligence.
We have been rental tenants, employees and everyday citizens and all agreed that when it comes to communicating with the right people, it was often harder than handling whatever the initial request was in the first place.
Businesses are losing customers and a tremendous amount of information because they can’t effectively communicate all together.
Make sure to use some of these tips to get the best juice from your customers — Engagement is all about communication!!
Conexie is an App that creates efficient communication channels for your brand.
Find more on Conexie.com
Originally published at Conexie.