Keeping Customers In a Short Attention Economy

Facebook, addiction, Internet Addiction Disorder, attention span, case study
“Attention span of a goldfish” just became a compliment…

Customer attention spans are becoming shorter and and more thinly spread as each new gadget, network and mobile device hits the market. You cannot simply hope that a customer will get over a bad experience and continue doing business with you because it’s too much hassle to search out other options. It’s so easy now for people to find your competitors’ presence online and seek them out, quickly forgetting that you ever existed. Let’s be honest, they can and will do it from their mobile device, while they’re still inside your business. If you’re especially unlucky, they’ll leave you with the parting gift of an awful online review. I’ve discussed tips on diffusing that kind of situation here.

The answer is moderately simple, but is never easy. There’s an age-old remedy to keeping your customers’ attention, maintaining their loyalty, and adding value to your product or service. Two words: Customer Service.

As social media ROI is becoming more evident (thus getting more SMBs to begrudgingly establish an online presence) it’s even MORE important to maintain focus on face-to-face customer service. As potential customers find you online and give your business a try, you’ll need to make sure their experiences keep them coming back. If the service isn’t there, all your digital efforts are for naught. So very often, in the reviews that I work on for clients, I’ve seen people say something to the effect of “the food/product/work wasn’t that great, but the service was fantastic. That’s the only reason I’d give this place another try.” I also often see, “The food/product/work was great, but I can find that somewhere else. It’s not worth putting up with the awful service I received.” Rarely do I see people state that they’d come back because the product is so good, even though they felt mistreated or received poor service. We intrinsically hold high value on how we’re treated at a business, even though the product is likely what brought us there in the first place.

If your business is providing fantastic customer service, this gives you a bartering tool with an unhappy customer, and may help you keep them from never returning. You can try to fix the product that they didn’t like. You can ensure them that it will be better next time, and they may take your word for it. It will likely be a lot tougher to convince someone that they’ll receive better service next time. Poor service really sticks with people.

A great product can bring people through your front door, but great service is what’s going to keep them there and create loyalty. It even adds an intangible value to your product. It’s important. If you can’t provide great service to your customers, hire someone to do it for you. It’s worth every bit you invest into it.

Do you have any customer service success stories, on either side of the experience? Have you experienced a missed opportunity by a business that led to you seek out their competitor(s)?

Let me know below with your comments.

Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on!

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The Social Gnome’s Hoard

Welcome to the Social Gnome’s Hoard, a collection of this week’s most interesting finds from the Social Gnome’s internet travels.

Week of May 7, 2012:

Social Gnome hoard image

Clip of grabbed using

  • If you’re not already aware, there are two excellent tools for sharing great content: and allows you to clip an article or webpage and share the image in a blog, email, etc. (like what you see to the right here.) allows you to embed an entire article, like you would a video, into an email or blog. These are fantastic tools, especially if you know a bit about HTML. Another special thanks to Jay Baer for using this tool in his daily One Social Thing emails newsletter, which is how I found out about these tools.
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  • An interesting article from’s blog talking about the use of crowd funding to finance video games. Those seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in backing are finding that they’re getting well into the millions in some cases. The article warns that this should still be considered the exception, rather than the rule. I’m interested in seeing how well these games do financially once they actually hit the market and they’ve promised copies to all the backers – the very ones who would have been their market in the first place. Will solely realizing the game be enough, or will the meager profits steer creators away from promising free merchandise for backing?
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  • TechCrunch featured an article spotlighting recent investment into Chicago startup Belly, who is trying reinvent the customer loyalty aspect of social business “through gamification, digital check-ins and a <sic> iPad setup for businesses.” It sounds like it would at least get rid of those pesky customer loyalty keychain cards everyone hates. Although, “scanning” or “swiping your Belly” just doesn’t have a great ring to it. It sounds kinda weird, actually. Nonetheless, this is a start up to keep an eye on.
  • I have a guest post on The Social Penguin Blog this week discussing 4 Important Aspects of Handling Online Reviews. If you have customers that review you online, this is something you really need to take a look at.
  • If you haven’t read my previous post this week on Google Currents vs. Flipboard, check it out. I’ve made myself a Producer on Google Currents as well. You can go here ( to subscribe via Currents if you have the app. I do recommend downloading and using it if you read articles and publications on your mobile device (iOS or Android). It’s pretty slick. Also…I need to get to 200 subscribers so that I can actually be found via search. When you first submit your content, people can only subscribe with the link provided. Help mmeeeeeeeee. 😀
  • And finally, I leave you with a laugh. As usual, The Oatmeal gets it right, and makes it hilarious, with their State of the Web, Spring 2012. This captures some of the highlights of what we’ve seen in recent internet and social media news. Things such as Facebook’s purchase of Instagram, a jab at Google+, and constant gamification.
If we haven’t already, let’s connect on Facebook and LinkedIn. I’m always looking to grow my network. If anything, I share interesting and funny things.

So there you are. Another weeks’ worth of noteworthy, interesting or just funny content to keep you in the know.

Now go get your social on!

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