Monday, October 29, 2012

Why Copier Manufacturers Need to More Involved w/ Social Media

So you think just because you're using the likes of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace that this is your social media campaign?  Most copier manufacturers seem to tout the latest press releases, product releases, green issues, contests or some off the wall little no facts.    If this is your benchmark for a social media presence then you need to take a step back and understand that most manufacturers are missing the boat with web forums.

There are tens of thousands of forums, maybe more.  We run a web forum titled the Print4Pay Hotel, site is dedicated to those of us in the imaging industry. It is a secure forum and you need to register in order to view and post messages.  There are also many non secure forums, these are forums that allows end users to read the messages (threads, posts, replies) but in order to post a message you may need to become a member.  In these forums members/users will ask questions or carry on conversations through the forum, the web forum is an easy way to find out what a product can do or can't do. Many users feel more comfortable talking about a product or service in a third party secure forum.

Let's look at this hypothetical situation, some company bought a XYZ color production system and to date they are not happy with with the system due to print quality not being what they expected.  They've had numerous service calls and still the same result.  As an end user what else can you do?  A lot of end users are turning to web forums where they can find additional information, in the color print production this would be Print Planet (there are others, however I follow this one). Once on the forums the end user can read what others have posted in reference to the same unit, and they may be able to get a workaround or help from another user that has the same system.

BAD news travels quicker than GOOD news, we all remember that right? More and more, especially with a businesses looking to invest around $100k into a new color production system they are turning to these types of forums to either share their good or bad experience.  Now, here's where you're missing the boat, end users are asking for help, looking for a fix if they are having a bad experience.  You can read dozens of end users complaining about the same issue. The silence from the manufacturers is deafening!  Some may state they maybe don't know about the forums and I claiming that BS!  What you don't realize is that the silence from the manufacturer is killing future product sales.  If you don't think you have potential buyers visiting and reading this site, then you're not a social media expert and you should be flogged!

Buyers for these types of color products are making decisions of what systems they will consider and not consider from reading the statements that are posted on the forums. In some cases they may even call the end user for the good, the bad and the ugly.

I'm appalled that there is very little involvement from the manufacturers, and yes you may get trashed a few times on the forums but isn't buying or leasing a system all about the customer experience to keep them coming back for more?  If the darn system has a problem, then either fix it, provide a workaround or upgrade the customer to better system @ no cost. Keep the customer happy, the cost of installing a system with more values and features will allow GOOD news to travel. Doing nothing will SPEED the BAD news and the decline of your reputation in the industry.

-=Good Selling=-

1 comment:

recentgrad23 said...

Selling MFP systems was and will continue to be the hardest thing I've done in my professional career/life. I commend those who have taken the step (and dive) in doing so. I am ever so grateful to have done it, though I will work my tail off to ensure my children and no one else I know will enter the field. Buyers in the MFP world are on another level. You could be the best salesman in the world, representing the best product in the world, but still may not earn the sale. Interesting blog, but there is no way buyers are reaching for facebook or twitter to influence MFP purchases. Current buyers are old school and barely online. And even if they are online - they are asking, "how much per print?". God bless, and good luck. Use your experience to get your next interview.