This week's blog has been penned by Liz Barclay, broadcaster and writer specialising in consumer business issues and personal finance.  She is a communications trainer and coach and works with a variety of businesses in finance, health and public sector as well as other charities.  Liz is also a special advisor on consumer issues to CCA. 

Were you surprised by the election result? Apart from in Scotland where the polls were on the button, there’s still a degree of shock elsewhere and the analysis goes on. My take is that voters behaved predictably.

Unless we’re clear about what to expect we’ll abandon plans to vote for something new and simply opt for the devil we know.

In times of uncertainty, we go back to the organisations, products and services we’re used to. We may not be delighted by the price, quality or customer care but at least we know what to expect. Trying something new, just to discover it’s no better than the old, can be the ultimate disappointment.  Unfortunately for many politicians, voters felt they didn’t know what to expect and stuck with the status quo.

People don’t change unless they’re convinced it will be ‘worth the effort’. Customers who stick with their bank accounts or utility providers, and don’t switch, say: ‘.. they’re all as bad as each other..’ or ‘.. prices will soon go up to the same as all the others.. ’ 

We may not always get ideal price and service from our existing providers but we don’t change unless we’re convinced it will be worth the effort.  Price is only ever part of the equation. The whole experience – every step along the way, every interaction - counts. Voters simply didn’t think changing would be worth the effort.

Social media played a big part in this election. Facebook and Twitter buzzed. They’re useful tools for any business, political parties included, if they’re used well.

But there’s no point telling other party members that your party is doing really well on the doorsteps and in the polls. You have to reach out to new people – voters or customers - and tell them what they can expect from you. You have to focus on convincing those who haven’t already made up their minds that your party/firm will benefit them in a way that the others can’t.

Social media is a tool for listening to customers and voters, reaching out to new people and convincing them you can offer them something better, interacting with them and building ongoing relationships of understanding, loyalty and trust.  Expecting social media to deliver that in two weeks before an election is political folly.