Richard Branson: Thanks to everyone who has joined in here on LinkedIn as we share thoughts and ideas on the site. It’s incredible that more than one million of you have got involved and started following me within the past six weeks.
While it’s difficult to comprehend such a huge number as one million, the same can be said when thinking about customers in your business. When you start a small company, it may be hard to imagine getting to a few hundred customers, let alone millions. The key is to think about customers as individuals and to treat them that way, rather than just looking at a mass of statistics.
It is important to get feedback from individuals so you stay in the loop and can pick up new suggestions and nip potential problems in the bud. This week I have spoken to customers while on a Virgin Atlantic flight and in a Virgin Active gym to get first-hand feedback on how we are doing and what we can improve on. Hearing on-the-spot opinions can give you a real insight into what is going on, both positive and negative.
Also, if you are anything like yours truly then you will know the delight of meeting new people. While it is great to talk to large crowds, you can’t beat the intimacy of one-to-one conversations.
There are many similarities on social media. Although it is impossible to reply to everybody all of the time (though I try to reply to as many of you as possible!), I make sure I look at your comments and learn how we can improve. There are great ideas being shared on LinkedIn every day, so have a look at what other people are saying to pick up some fresh inspiration.
When you post your own ideas, it is worth imagining that you are speaking to one person, not broadcasting to the whole world wide web. Try to talk to the online world in the same way as you would your friends in the office or down the pub. Everyone loves a personal touch, whether it is going the extra mile to help somebody, or simply saying thank you.
by Richard Branson