B2B? How about C2C?

Matt Morgan
Apr 25, 2013

 

Business-to-business has been a buzzword for a while as a way to promote efficiency and cost savings. Plus, hey, it sounds trendy doesn't it? It is vital for a business to deal directly with other businesses (bartering is an art that may be considered lost but is immensely useful!), but what may not be seen as catchy is customer-to-customer relations.

There is an increasing amount of input that customers can provide on third-party sites and forums. Some even ask for customer reviews of products to help other customers make an informed decision. Of course in reading this you know that this newspaper offers such a "C2C" medium. If you didn't, well, just scroll down a bit and leave a comment!

Why is conversation among your customers important? It keeps your good or service in front of them and it helps prove that you are providing something compelling enough to make conversation about even casually on a computer or at a dinner table. It also allows you to follow what works, what doesn't, and even offers more clues as to just who visits your business. We'll take a small quote from 1993's Jurassic Park as an example. Imagine the characters were customers in your store or on a forum and the product in this case is a Tyrannosaurus Rex about ready to feed.

Lex: He's gonna eat the goat?
Tim: Excellent!
Donald Gennaro: What's the matter, kid? You never had lamb chops?
Lex: I happen to be a vegetarian.

We learned A LOT from just four lines! Think if this kind of feedback happened more often. Social networking sites are made for just this, but you can just as easily get similar areas for conversation going through a website maker or a forum such as ProBoards.

Most importantly, strike up conversation in your shop if you can. But let your customers do the talking. Listen to them, be humble, and let them speak their minds and confide in each other as entities on the other side of the counter. Take criticism and recommendations well and in good spirit else you may sound foolish or worse, like this:

[Offering a response on a complaint regarding his park.]
John Hammond: All major theme parks have delays. When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked!
Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, but, John, if The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists.

Make sure that as you practice and encourage C2C in business you also use it in other ways. C2C can just as well mean "child to custodian" or "constituent to committee" (or the other way around). It is especially meaningful to try and understand the interests of everyone across a counter, desk, and dinner table alike. Movies, sports, shopping trips, games, books, news, and the happenings of work or school all make excellent and impromptu forums to share your ideas.

Just as goods and services must flow between businesses to foster success, so too must the energy and emotion created by each other to support the success of the various things we enjoy in our C2C lives.

Dr. Alan Grant: Hammond, after some consideration, I've decided, not to endorse your park.
John Hammond: So have I.

Comments

J. Hartman

Matt, you tricked me! I seen C2C and thought it was about time he talked about Coast to Coast! hehe Seriously, very well done piece and it provokes some thought for those who like to think outside of the box! I'll catch you again for next weeks article!! S.M.I.L.E.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Coast to Coast will take a lot more than one blog entry to discuss, haha. But for those who enjoy discussions of history, fantasy, sci-fi, science, and a slew of other topics that straddle the lines of truth or tale it is worth the listen. WTAM 1100 carries it late nights.

MrSandusky

Here is the problem, if you talk to most small business owners (or newspaper editors) about their product and small improvements that could be made to improve it, 80% of them get defensive and shoot you down without hearing you out. There are more than a few businesses in the area that have failed in the last few years because the owner listened to him or herself and not the custumer.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

It can be a tough line to walk that takes some discipline and humility. One one side you have the business owner who supposes s/he knows all about the product and how to sell it. On the other you have the consumer who supposes s/he knows better what to offer since they are the ones who buy it.

The best compliment a business can receive is a recommendation by one of its customers to another customer. It is also the most effective and least expensive form of advertising. Earning those tends to keep a businessperson honest, creative, and open to ideas about his/her field from within or without.