Thursday, August 28, 2008

Make Your Customer Buy From You More Often

Two similar stores have the same products for the same price, yet customers seem to buy again and again from only one. What makes customers go back to purchase more? The answer is good customer service. I came across this list of 5 keys to customer service to keep your customers happy on the RightToLead blog.

1. Be courteous. This is something that is largely dismissed nowadays. A little act of politeness will make customers feel more valued and important. Make them feel that you are sincere in extending a helping hand. A frown can drive people away, while a smile can draw more people in. Address your customer with “Ma’am” or “Sir”. Deal with one customer at a time to make him feel that he has your complete attention.

2. Be resourceful. Customers become angry when you tell them that you cannot grant their request because “It’s the company’s standard policy.” Customers do not want to hear such an excuse.

If you want more happy customers, think creatively. There are legal ways to go around your company’s ironclad policies. Make it a policy to extend service beyond the standard procedures in order to satisfy a customer’s needs.

3. Be prompt. Never put any of your customer’s requests on hold, especially when it is obviously urgent. Prompt and accurate service may lead to referrals. Hence, empower your staff members so they can make quick decisions and attend promptly to the needs of your customers.

4. Under promise and over deliver. Refrain from giving false promises. Never promise what you cannot deliver. It is still best to under promise and over deliver. This is the best way to wow your customers!

5. Extend your service. Even if it is not part of your standard service procedures, do something for the customer that shows genuine interest to their needs.

Create a desirable reputation for your company by providing quality customer service. After all happy customers are repeat customers.

The Power of Asking Questions

I read this article today that I thought was a good reminder to always ask questions. As the author writes, many people are familiar with PEST analysis (Politics, Economics, Society, and Technology), but are unsure how to utilize it. Rather than always turning to the Internet for answers, the author goes on to state that maybe it is better to use the Internet as an intermediary tool. First focus on what you want to find, and narrow down keywords, then try to find the experts online. If possible contact them. The author gives an example of how she knew that electricity costs for her country were going to rise and she knew that would translate into higher operating costs for her business. To find an answer she said:

use the Internet to find an expert. I can learn more in five minutes on the phone with the guy who has just spent 10 years thinking about how to cut electricity costs than in an hour on the Internet.

While the Internet has proven to be a very useful tool, it is still important to remember that other sources may have a better answer.

HoffSpace: Setting Examples for your social network

The conference producer of Community 2.0, Kristin Paulick, recently shared with me a new social network out there in the internet world. After pointing me in the direction of this post at Invstiledysfunction, I learned about the new social network created by David Hasselhoff. It is called HoffSpace and was created by Hasselhoff so his fans throughout the world would have a place to communicate. According to Anand Sanwal at Investiledysfunction, there were 14,217 members at HoffSpace when he wrote his blog post on August 21st.


From a business point of view, we can take a lot from HoffSpace. This social community has 14,217 members who are passionate about something (in this case David Hasselhoff). If you have something worth gathering around, you’re social network can have the same success. So when you set out to create a social network, give your supporters something to care about.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Social Media Cure for Marketing Blues

In this post on socialmediatoday, the author raises a potentially controversial argument that “marketers cause unhappiness”. They go onto further state, that social media may “Open the door for ‘Happiness Marketing’”. These are the reasons the author feels that social media is the cure for unhappy marketing:


-Social media allows you to treat your customers as individual people whose problems and complaints merit at least a vaguely human response, if not a resolution.

-It allows you to speak honestly and imperfectly to people, instead of treating them like lab rats whose responses to your stimuli have been predicted, tracked, and already reported on the balance sheet.

-It allows you to hear their delight in your product and service more clearly, and it allows them to share that delight with their family and friends in a (mostly) non-Big Brother-y way.

-It allows you to tell the story of your company without it becoming “the Hollywood adaptation” where the soul has been sucked out in pursuit of demographically-targeted, homogenized perfection.


What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you agree with the first point that marketers cause unhappiness?

Do Emotions Help or Hurt Decision Making? Pt. 2

Yesterday we posted an excerpt from The Market Research Event keynote speaker Dr. Kathleen’s Vohs’s book ‘Do Emotions Help or Hurt Decision Making? A Hedgefoxian Perspective.’ As promised, here’s the 2nd portion of the excerpt from the book. Enjoy!

Of course the foxes are right; each of these polar positions is simplistic in its extremity. But that observation doesn't take us far. In the waning hours of the emotion research party, we have arrived at the point where debates between extreme and obviously untenable positions are not as productive as they once were. In short, we need answers to the when question. When do emotions or cognitions predominate? When are moral judgments driven by reflexive emotional reactions and when by logical thought? And, when are emotions helpful or harmful? The chapters of this book provide nuanced, synthetic, answers to these types of questions.

Decision making is the other half of our topic. It too has seen explosive growth in research interest in recent years. As with emotion, its few early hedgehogs (e.g., groupthink, rational choice, framing) have had to withstand a stampede of foxes. Some decision-making researchers are starting to think that their field’s destiny is merely to develop lists of departures from rationality, without much prospect of integrative theory. Yet others are confident that new grand theories will emerge. The time is ripening for hedgefoxes to impose limited order on decision theory also.

Are hedgefoxes born or made? Most likely, the latter. What emerges from reading this book is common language, a shared understanding of a number of issues, and most characteristically of hedgefoxism, a nuanced theoretical perspective that makes sense of, what had previously appeared to be contradictions.

So what is the answer to the question of whether affect helps or hurts decision making? The hedgehog would argue either that it helps or that it hurts decision making. The fox would argue that both are true, or that the question doesn't make sense. The hedgefoxes who make up the authors of the chapters in this book will tell you, however, that the correct answer is "it depends." If you want to know what it depends on, read on.

Team Bonding: How Building Internal Relationships will Lead to Big Wins with Your Customers

We’d like to invite you to attend Team Bonding: How Building Internal Relationships will Lead to Big Wins with Your Customers webinar. Keith Ferrazzi, the CEO of Ferrazzi Green Light and keynote speaker at the 2008 NACCM Customers 1st event will be our featured speaker. Register to view the webinar on Wednesday, September 17th from 2:00 to 3:00 pm eastern standard time.

Register for this web seminar here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/251030954
Please mention priority code: G1M2100W1Blog

About the presentation:
This presentation will be in a special format: live chat. This web seminar will be shared in a unique “interview/live chat” format. As you register for the seminar, you will be prompted a line where you can pose your question about internal relationships to Keith. Those questions will be address to Keith over the phone live as he shared his views. We will get to as many questions as possible in the allotted time and attendees will be encouraged to ask their own questions during the seminar.

Customer-focused executives are hard at work trying to create new initiatives that deepen their company’s relationships with their customers. In these trying times, customer strategists are in a loyalty budding war in hopes that their customers continue to spend with them. Building an enterprise-wide customer experience that evokes an emotional and consistent message with the customer is more challenging than ever before. Those companies that do have incredible customer experiences, what’s the secret to their success?

In this session, relationship guru and internationally best-selling author, Keith Ferrazzi, will examine where the foundation of building relationships with your customers should start- internally. Ferrazzi will discuss his expertise on how to align internal teams and will share how getting connected with your colleagues will lead to profits and engagement with your external customer relationships.

A group’s success fundamentally depends upon how its individual members work together. Individuals work more effectively and enjoy their work more when they have genuine personal relationships with their colleagues.


The core message with starting relationships both internally and externally are the same. Those core strategies in relationship development will be revealed by Keith during his keynote session at NACCM.


About the speaker:

Keith Ferrazzi
CEO
Ferrazzi Green Light

Keith Ferrazzi is one of the rare individuals who discovered the essential formula for making his way to the top -- a powerful and balanced combination of marketing acumen and networking savvy. Both Forbes and Inc. magazines have designated him one of the world's most "connected" individuals.

As Founder and CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, he provides market leaders with advanced strategic consulting and training services to increase company sales and enhance personal careers. Ferrazzi Greenlight strategically leverages the insight of its executives, whose careers span the highest echelons of corporate America, along with principles from Ferrazzi's best-selling book, Never Eat Alone. Never Eat Alone has been recognized as one of the best business books of 2005, 2006, and 2007 (three year’s in a row since its publication in 2005).

What you will learn:

- Building relationships internally for group success sparks a culture of generosity and accountability that helps participants do the following:
- Help each other succeed in both professional and personal pursuits,
- Have more fun in the workplace
- Facilitate direct, honest communication for resolving conflict, and
contribute to the firm’s success by proactively building relationships with
people inside and outside the organization,
- And more that will lead to increasing employee retention and shareholder
value.

This is a
NACCM: Customers 1st sponsored webinar. NACCM: Customers 1st will be November 16th through the 19th in Anaheim, California.

Register for this web seminar here:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/251030954
Please mention priority code: G1M2100W1Blog

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Do Emotions Help or Hurt Decision Making?

Last Friday, we profiled The Market Research Event keynote speaker Dr. Kathleen Vohs. Now we have the opportunity to bring you an excerpt from her book Do Emotions Help or Hurt Decision Making? A Hedgefoxian Perspective.

Here is Part One of the excerpt from her book. Look for part two later this week.

In a perhaps overused metaphor, academics are sometimes classified as hedgehogs and foxes. Playing on a famous, albeit somewhat mysterious, statement by 7th century B.C. philosopher Archilochus that "the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing," the prototypical hedgehog is a "system addict" on a quest for a unified theory of everything. Foxes, in contrast, have an appreciation of the complexities of reality that prevents them from even entertaining the possibility of any grand unifying scheme.

Belying their physical image, hedgehogs are the life of the party. They take outrageous positions and push their arguments to the limit, generating heated debate. Foxes, despite their slyness, are party duds; they stand on the sidelines shaking their heads and rolling their eyes at the naivety of the hedgehogs' wild speculations. One more strike against foxes.

As the party extends into the waning hours, however, the frantic repartee of the hedgehogs can wear thin, even to the hedgehogs themselves. That's when the host begins to long for the arrival of a third species of party animal: the hedgefox. Hedgefoxes combine the best properties of their two mammalian relatives. Like the hedgehog, the hedgefox is a synthesizer, but like the fox the hedgefox cares about, and advances theories that take account of, and make sense of, the complexities of reality.

If research on emotions is a party (and the explosive growth of the topic over the past few decades has lent the topic something of a party atmosphere), the time is ripe for the entry of the hedgefox. Research on emotions has made enormous strides, stimulated by debates between researchers who have taking extreme stands on a variety of central issues. There are hedgehog emotion researchers who argue for the primacy of emotions over cognition, and others who argue, instead, that all emotions are derivative of cognition. There are advocates of the idea that moral judgments are the product of emotion, perhaps justified ex post by reasons, and those who argue that morality is a matter of logic. And, most central to the basic theme of this book, there are hedgehogs whose research focuses almost exclusively on the destructive effects of emotions and others who focus as selectively as the first group on the vitally beneficial functions that emotions serve.

Speaker Profile: Frank Capek

With the North American Conference On Customer Service approaching, we would like to introduce you to the speakers we will have at our event. This year, NACCM will take place from November 16 – 19, 2008 in Anaheim, California at the Disneyland Hotel. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Frank Capek. Frank Capek is the Senior Vice President nGenera’s, nGen Customer Business division.

To fulfil his role at nGenera, Capek pulls insight from his 25 plus years of experience working with over 50 major corporations in a variety of industries. Some of the assets that he provides, as listed on his blog, are helping organizations: understand how their customers think, feel, and act; designing products, services, processes, and technology that enable more effective customer experiences; and aligning leadership, employee experiences, and organizational behaviour to deliver.

To hear more of Frank Capek’s thoughts check out his blog here. We invite you to come see Frank Capek at NACCM November 16-19, 2008 in Anaheim California at the Disneyland Hotel. Be sure to look for another speaker’s profile next week.

Pick and Choose Tweets That Appear on your Blog

I came across this post on Mashable today which reveals a new way to give bloggers more control over which tweets get published on their blogs. Tweet Remote recognizes hashtags like #text, #link, and #image, puts them in a separate RSS-style feed, and then formats them accordingly. The end result is a more aesthetically pleasing blog.


The only downside is the “tweet stream pollution” you might experience by sending nicely formatted hyperlinks to you blog via twitter. Many users on twitter do not like hashtags, and so you can potentially lose some followers.


Tweet Remote seems like a great application to clean up a lot of clutter in blogs but the question you might find yourself asking is what’s more important to you, your blog or who’s following you on twitter?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tools for Market Research and Analysis

I came across this helpful blog post today that gave a list of 25 top market research and analysis tools as evaluated by Tino Triste in Internet Marketing. The author also provides a short description for each tool, and why it is useful. Here are a few of them. I hope you find them helpful!

43 Things
About.com: Sites A to Z
Amazon's Hot New Releases
AOL Hot Searches
eBay Pulse
eHow
Google Trends
HowStuffWorks.com
adCenter Labs: Demographic Prediction
SEOmoz Popular Searches
Yahoo! Answers
trendwatching.com
Shopping.com Consumer Demand Index

After checking out the complete list at the i-com blog, are there any others that you would add? What have proven to be the most helpful market research tools that you have used?

Negative Feedback can be positive

A recent article by Jacob Morgan at Social Media Today looked at the positive effects of negative feedback through social media. As opposed to cringing every time he receives it, Morgan looks at it as a good thing. He gave two main reasons why.


You can listen to what your users are saying, and make changes to improve your product as a result. It can be looked at as constructive criticism because you’re hearing how the consumers truly feel about your product and make your changes from there.


It’s also a lot like a giant focus group. These people are taking the time to tell you what they think of your product.

If negative feedback is what’s keeping your company from fully harnessing the power of social media, take a step back and see what it actually does. Jacob is right, negative feedback only makes you strive to improve your product.


Do you agree?

Banks Still Need a Lot of Work in Customer Service

Aaron Baar mentions in this latest post on Marketing Daily that although retail banks have spent a lot of time and energy investing in the look of its retail locations, it is still lacking when it comes to customer service according to new research from J.D. Power and Associates.

In some examples where mystery shoppers visited different branches, many representatives lacked basic customer service skills like smiling, shaking hands, and cleanliness. According to the survey, half of 475 customer service respresentatives shopped did not smile when greeting a prospective customer and 1/3 of those reps did not shake hands.

Rockwell Clancy, executive director of financial services at J.D. Power mentions:

"Overlooking these simple gestures conveys a lack of respect for the customer or disinterest in their business, and can destroy the foundation of a relationship before it's even started. Where is the retail in retail banking?"

Are banks too focused on the appearance of its branches and neglecting the simple customer service essentials that improve the overall customer experience?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Business Models for Social Networking Sites

As blogged about in this post, Hitwise, stated in June that “MySpace and Facebook comprised almost 90% of the US visits to social networks”. This led the author to make the interesting point maybe this is the case not only because social networks are relatively new, but maybe because this genre of sites are still learning how to generate revenue. As the author states, “I blame it on not thinking of a better way to monetize social networks in general.” He goes on to mention that in his opinion LinkedIn is on the right path, especially since their average user age is 40, and they have a higher purchasing power. Since the age is younger for both MySpace and Facebook, and people are still unsure how to leverage them from a marketing standpoint, the author argues that “we're stuck with the traffic=advertising=revenue business model”

What are your thoughts on this? What do you think is the next step in the evolution of the business model for social networking sites?

Make connections faster

In a recent blog post by NACCM keynote speaker Keith Ferrazzi, he gives four tips on how to make connections with people faster. He’s collected them from a few of the books he has been reading lately.

- Talk in color. When speaking with them, engage their imagination. Find some way to involved their senses in your conversation.
- Look people in the eye. He points out this is an old trick, but start by noticing the colors of actors eyes on TV. Then start doing this in real life too.
- Put something interesting on your business card. Make yourself stand out, a good place to do this is on your business card.
- Host a weekly “know how” series. Hosting a weekly series will begin to foster creativity and innovation throughout your organization. This will also help you stand out, because you are the person organizing the events.

We’re excited to have Keith Ferrazzi on one of our upcoming NACCM Customers 1st web seminars. Check out his speaker profile here. Look for news next week on this web seminar session where Keith will be answering questions on building relationships from the audience. Do you have anything you’d like to ask Keith?

Speaker Profile: Kathleen Vohs

With the The Market Research Event quickly approaching, we would like to begin to introduce you to the keynote speakers we will have this year at our event. This year, The Market Research Event will take place from October 13 - 16, 2008 in Anaheim, California at the Disneyland Hotel. This week, we would like to introduce you to Kathleen Vohs, PH.D. Vohs is a McKnight Land-Grant Professor at the University of Minnesota in the Carlson School of Management.

Kathleen Vohs specialties include: self regulation, self process, effects of making choices on self regulatory ability, the mere presence of money, heterosexual relations as predicted by the economy. She has published over 70 scholarly publications including: : Do Emotions Help or Hurt Decision Making? A Hedgefoxian Perspective, Self and Relationships: Connecting Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Processes ,and Making Choices Impairs Subsequent Self-Control: A Limited-Resource Account of Decision Making, Self-Regulation, and Active Initiative.


Find the results of some of Voh’s studies here.

Humans and ability to make decisions

The Purpose of Pranks

Behavior: An Absence of Free Will, a Tendency to Cheat

On A Diet? Don't Go Shopping.

We invite you to come see Kathleen Vohs at The Market Research Event as she presents his keynote speech on Thursday, October 16th, Money Talks: Even Small Reminders of Money Change People.

(Source: Carlson School of Management)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The People of The Market Research Event

With the The Market Research Event quickly approaching, we’re taking time to get to know some of the people who are involved in the The Market Research Event. Today, I’d like to share with you the podcast recently conducted with TMRE’s conference producer, Krista Vazquez. She talks about what she’s done to make this year great and what she’s looking forward to this year.

Listen to the podcast here, and check back soon to hear more from our speakers at this year’s The Market Research Event! The Market Research Event will be in Anaheim, California, at the Disneyland Hotel from October 13th through 16th.

What Would Happen if Social Networking was Banned?

Looking through my Google Reader today I came across this post U.S. Bans Social Networking from Ari Herzog on socialmediatoday. The title alone caught my attention and I had to read more. In this post, Ari lists three reasons why the US wants to ban social networking. Here’s the list:


1. Social networking enables sexual predators to stalk children

2. Social networking strains server bandwidth and presents operational risks.

3. Social networking on the job decreases workplace productivity


Online social interaction is an extremely important method of communication between business to business and business to consumers. What would happen though to communities if legislation passed banning the use of social media?

Erosion

This is posted on behalf of JoAnna Brandi. It is co-posted on the Customers 1st Blog and JoAnna Brandi blogs.

As soon as the rain from Tropical Storm Fay passed yesterday I rushed down to the beach. I had been away for over two weeks and I missed my favorite spot. Breathing in the sea air renews me, so even when windy or cloudy, I take my walks at the beach.

And windy it was. I tucked my ipod deep in my pocket and put my sunglasses on to keep the sand out of my eyes. It’s my habit to walk against the wind on the walk out, so the walk back is a little easier.

It didn’t take long to notice that a lot of beach was gone. The storm had done some damage, and perhaps eighty feet or more of beach washed out to sea.

I drank in the fresh air after two days of being stuck indoors during the storm, at first all I was feeling was gratitude for being able to have nature so close to home.

But shortly I started thinking about a client. Their customer base in one sector of their business is eroding, and has been for a while. I know my training and my message is powerful, but I wondered. Would it begin to turn the tide?

When over time you cut cost by cutting service it begins eroding the trust your clients had. Growing by acquisition builds the customer base up again (just like the beach did over the past few months following terrible storms a few months prior to that.) But when scrupulous attention is not paid to the culture and how to deal with customers of the “former” company, over time, we see erosion.

The world is changing. The customer is changing. They have the power. When they start talking out loud and on the internet, the jig’s up.

All organizations need to take a closer look at what they are doing to stem erosion. If you didn’t have a good relationship with the customer when they left (because like everyone else, they’re cutting back a bit) you certainly won’t be able to win them back when the financial weather changes again. Marketing and advertising dollars don’t buy trust, they buy interest. You can’t buy trust, you have to earn and build it. What builds trust is consistently doing the things that make the employees and customers feel valued, special and important.

It happens easily. Even to me. We all tend to take our customers for granted. Erosion. It’s a sign.

Time to build up the dunes.

If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi will be a keynote speaker at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Market Research Tool for eBay

As announced in this article, eBay has decided to “retire” their market research tool in favor of Terapeak’s tool. The official launch date of the new tool, and end of the current is September 15. Terapeak will be increasing the number of reports and features available to better serve the requirement of users of their tools. They already provide information to sellers on eBay listings that have been completed

Fred Speckeen, CEO of Terapeak/AERS, released this statement:

"The transfer of research responsibilities to Terapeak reflects our longstanding business relationship with eBay, and our company's commitment to providing the best market research product possible. Although most eBay sellers know us for our Terapeak product, AERS was the first licensee of eBay data, and also provides e-commerce analytics based on eBay data to the larger Fortune 1000 community. We are proud and excited to be invited to offer Terapeak as an alternative to eBay Marketplace Research."

How to Drive Traffic to your blog

Jacob Morgan at Social Media Today recently wrote a list of how he thinks people can best drive traffic to their blog. What do you think? Would you add anything else?


1. Comment on other posts related to your industry
2. Try to get syndicated
3. Put your URL in email signatures and profiles
4. Use Digg and StumbleUpon
5. Share your posts around the web, for example: Facebook and Twitter
6. Write guest posts
7. Write quality and engaging content
8. Network on and offline
9. Write often
10. Respond to comments
11 .Make RSS feeds easily accessible to your site


Gaining Loyalty Through Customer Service in an Uncertain Economy

Even through troubling times and economies, the strength of the customer relationship that a company builds should endure. Researching the net, I came across this great list of 10 customer service tips posted by Joe Brown, general manager of EMEA at RightNow Technologies, on MYCUSTOMER.com.

  1. Don’t discontinue an existing customer initiative in an uncertain economy — if necessary, reduce the scope of (or postpone pending improvements to) the initiative until the economy improves.
  2. Don’t wait for customer relationships to weaken or break — you can’t afford the loss of revenue or of goodwill in an uncertain economy, so proactively take steps to manage those relationships well.
  3. Customers make purchase decisions more deliberately in an uncertain economy, so give them the service and the information they need to choose your company over the competition.
  4. Customers take longer to make purchase decisions when times are tough, so bridge the gap with a sequence of individually customised communications that provide concrete information on the specific product features and benefits that fulfil their needs.
  5. Spend your budget wisely, by shifting dollars to individualised service initiatives and communications targeted to those customers who are most valuable or who are most likely to grow in value.
  6. Clearly communicate value in each customer message— empathetically explaining how and why your product is aligned with the customer’s concerns in a trying economic environment.
  7. Don’t overwhelm customers with surveys, and when a customer does respond, let them know that their feedback has been received—and, most importantly, that it is sincerely appreciated.
  8. Invest in innovation—fuelled in part by customer listening—during challenging economic times, because it can pay handsome dividends.
  9. The memories of customers will extend well beyond the end of an uncertain economy — they won’t forget (or forgive) opportunistic actions or other violations of trust, but they will remember excellent customer service.
  10. Focus upon cost savings rather than revenue generation when implementing a customer initiative — and then use those savings to fund future enhancements.

Retaining customer loyalty through turbulent times really shows the worth of your company. Follow these steps listed by Joe Brown to ensure that loyalty is not lost no matter how tough times might get.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Speaker Profile: Mark Morgan

With the North American Conference On Customer Service approaching, we would like to introduce you to the speakers we will have at our event. This year, NACCM will take place from November 16 – 19, 2008 in Anaheim, California at the Disneyland Hotel. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Mark Morgan. Mark Morgan is the Chief Executive Advisor for StratEx Advisors.

As the founder of StratEx Advisors, he pulls his insight from over 30 years experience in “engineering, management, project management, facilitation, consulting and leadership”.

The latest organizations that have benefitted from his expertise include IPSolutions, IBM and Stanford University. Mark Morgan is also the author of Executing Your Strategy: How to Break It Down and Get It Done, and Get It Done!: A Blueprint for Business Execution. A book review posted on this blog regarding Executing Your Strategy: How to Break It Down and Get It Done, had this to say:

Morgan, Malek and Levitt put forth a systematic approach for companies to decide "who they are, where they want to go and how to get there" and illustrate the means to implement those ideas. They also cover the key elements linking vision, strategy and operations--and how to connect them together into a coherent operating model for a company.

We invite you to come see Mark Morgan at NACCM as he presents on Wednesday, November 19th, Turning great ideas into great results: Cracking the code on getting stuff done. Be sure to look for another speaker’s profile next week.

Podcasting Relationship to Social Media

This blog post from Social Media Today, brought up an interesting topic: Is podcasting considered a part of social media? The authors response was no, and that the distinction for podcasting was that it is a form of new media and not social media. He cited his reasons as that this medium is considered to be a one way dialog and to qualify as social media there needs to be more than one person engaging in conversation. This then begs the question of what is social media then. According to Wikipedia the definition is:


the use of electronic and Internet tools for the purpose of sharing and discussing information and experiences with other human beings.”


What do you consider to be social media? Do you disagree with the author on his stance on podcasting and its relationship to social media vs. new media?

Monday, August 18, 2008

B2B Advertising in Social Networks are Increasing

This article in eMarketer details that businesses will spend $40 million this year in advertising on online social networks this year alone, and according to projections the amount spent will increase to $210 million by 2012. The chart bellows highlights the expected growth over the next couple of years.


The need for B2B marketing has increased online because of the growing popularity of professional social networking sites like LinkedIn. Ms. Williamson mentions:


"Even Facebook has become a de facto B2B social network, simply because so many business executives have joined it in the past year."


Visa has already taken advantage of this growing business demographic on Facebook by launching the Visa Business Network for small business. It will be interesting to see the barrage of applications being built around the Facebook platform within the next couple of months.

Detecting and Rejecting Duplicate Responses in Online Surveys

We’d like to invite you to attend Detecting and Rejecting Duplicate Responses in Online Surveys webinar. Dr. William MacElroy, President, of Socratic Technologies, Inc. will be our featured speaker. He is also speaking at the 2008 Market Research Event. Register to view the webinar on Wednesday, August 27, 2008 -- 2PM - 3PM eastern standard time. Mention priority code: M2028Blog

About the presentation:

Over the past two years, a great deal of concern has been raised about the quality of online sample. A key issue has been the reported levels of duplication within major online sample providers. This session will focus on specific techniques and technologies for detecting duplicate respondents that are freely available to all firms hosting their own online survey applications.

The aim of this session is to acquaint participants with server technology and will discuss best practices for maintaining a duplicate-free online research environment. A straight-forward discussion style will explain technology --making the session accessible to those attendees who may not be familiar with the underlying infrastructure of the Internet.

What you will learn:

- An overview of historical levels of duplicates detected in normal survey procedures and the degree to which data quality is being compromise

- A list of basic requirements for any system being used for detecting and rejecting duplicate survey attempts;

- Advice for purchasers of survey output as to the questions that should be asked of survey data collectors;

- An overview of IMRO privacy guidelines and how certain technological "shortcuts" can violate code-of-ethics restrictions on spyware;

- Specific types of technical solutions, (most available for little or no cost), that can be used by those tasked with hosting surveys; and

- How de-duplicating efforts can be coupled with other cheating control protocols to drive data quality.


About the speaker:

Dr. William MacElroy
President
Socratic Technologies, Inc.

Bill MacElroy brings more than 25 years of marketing management and research experience to Socratic Technologies. His career has included both agency and client-side managerial positions with Corning Glass Works, Memorex/Unisys Corp., Cheskin+Masten, MACRO, Autodesk and Modalis Research.

Bill holds a doctorate in Management Technology & Business Administration from Golden Gate University, San Francisco; an M.B.A. with a concentration in Marketing from Pennsylvania State University and a B.A. in Economics from the State University of New York.

This is a Market Research Event sponsored webinar. The Market Research Event will be October 13 – 16, 2008 in Anaheim, California.

Register for this web seminar here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/655715869

GREAT Recovery

This is posted on behalf of JoAnna Brandi. It is co-posted on the Customers 1st Blog and JoAnna Brandi blogs.

I got a call today from Lori Pappasino at Lord & Taylors. Was she upset!

She read the blog entry about my experience there and I’ve got to say took it real personally. She apologized. She listened. She apologized again. She felt badly and I could feel it. She told me about her efforts at L&T to create positive customer experiences. She expressed regret that they had failed Mom and I.

I explained (how could I not) that perhaps if this had been another store, perhaps if this had been one of the discount chains, or even one of the other department stores, that I wouldn’t have felt nearly so bad. But after all this was Lord & Taylors – the “special” store of my youth. The Lord & Taylors of special dresses and first suits and ladies’ lunches – I had a higher expectation. And so the gap appeared to be so huge because this venerable old institution owed me (and Mom) more. It compounded my insult and made it feel even worse. After all, it’s all about the feelings.

She got it.

In fact – she got it all. She understood my point of view as a customer and as a professional in her field. She even went through (she didn’t know this) most all the steps I teach to deal with and upset or angry customer. She listened, she let me vent, she empathized ( so well, I think I want to take her to lunch) she restated the problem to make sure she really understood, she told me what she was going to do to make sure it would never happen to another customer, she offered a letter of apology to my mother with a small “atonement” (my word, not hers) she thanked me for my business and told me how valuable I was and that she wanted to earn our trust once again.

She really got it. Congratulations Lori – you “Wowed” me with your recovery skills.

She explained how the whole company is now going through retraining in customer service behaviors. I’ll bet I make it to the “Here’s how not to do it” section of that training. Good. Stories are memorable.

They are asking the question in their company, “What are we going to do differently?” I couldn’t help myself, I offered a few suggestions. It’s a great question and one that everyone should be asking!

One thing is for sure – if she teaches everyone in the company what she knows about “recovery” skills, they’ll be well trained.

In case you want a little poster for your wall to remind you of those steps – we’ve posted it here LINK for you or anyone you think might need it. Enjoy. Practice. Prosper.

If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi will be a keynote speaker at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Community 2.0 has a New Customer this Year

Much has been said in the media lately, about the impact that online communities are having in every part of our lives. Of late special emphasis has been placed on the political aspect with candidates having blogs, YouTube videos, and using other web 2.0 tools. In a latest update from the NY Times, Katie Couric announced that during the national political conventions, after her primetime broadcast has concluded, she will move to web casts. Is there any aspect of today that has not seen the impact of online social media?

Speaker Profile: Billy Beane

Today, we would like to introduce you to our next keynote speaker, Billy Beane. The Market Research Event will take place from October 13 - 16, 2008 in Anaheim, California at the Disneyland Hotel. Billy Beane is the general manager of the Oakland A’s baseball team.



Billie Beane is the current vice president and general manager of the Oakland A’s. Over the past ten years, he’s had the third best record in the American League and fourth best record in baseball with results of 901-718. He’s made five post season appearances since 2000, the A’s being one of six teams that can claim that. In 1999, he was chosen as the Sporting News Executive of the Year. Following 2002, he was chosen as the MLB Executive of the Year by Baseball America. It is believe that Beane has found the perfect combination for winning in baseball, both economically and on the field. His way of management proves to chalk up wins even though the payroll of the Oakland A’s is significantly smaller than other teams. In 2008, his team has the third lowest payroll in MLB at $47,967,126.


Beane authored Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. He’s seen as a very talented manager, and business managers often look to him as a guide to using assets that are undervalued to create and maintain a competitive advantage. He also serves on the boards of Bell-Easton Sports, ProTrade, and NetSuites, Inc.


We invite you to come see Billy Beane at The Market Research Event as he presents his keynote speech on Wednesday, October 15th, The Numbers Game: Understanding How Mathematics is Transforming America’s Pastime – and What You Can Learn From It.


For more on Billy Beane read this article How to play Beane Ball by the Fast Company.


(Sources: Executive Profile, CBS Sports)

Customer Experience and Your Organization

The customer experience remains an important component of how consumers view your brand and it could make your break your business. This post on BusinessCast discusses a recent Forrester study which highlights that many firms are beginning to create positions like Chief Customer Officer and SVP of Customer Experience to oversee the overall customer experience.

Andrew posts the five main insights from executives that were interviewed by Forrester that currently have these positions. Here they are:

  1. Make sure that you’ve got the right environment;
  2. Prepare to take on a broad change agenda;
  3. Establish a strong operating structure;
  4. Kick off high-priority activities; and
  5. Look ahead to the future.

What are some ways that your company ensures that customers are having strong positive experiences? Make sure to download the full Forrester report here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Olympics and Social Media

Have you noticed anything different about the Olympics this time around? Many are commenting on the abundance of social media being interjected into the games this summer, as this blog post mentions. On the NBC Olympics page, they have a section for mobile web, alerts, TV, and video. In addition they have a section for live video. When doing a search on YouTube, I came across thousands of Videos relating to the topic. Several companies have joined the fray as well, with McDonalds creating the viral game called “The Lost Ring” and Lenovo maintaining the blog titled “Voices of the Olympic Games” with posts from athletes at the games this year. It is interesting to see that organizations are recognizing the impact of online communities, and utilizing community 2.0 tools to interact. What are your experiences with this, and do you think that in the aftermath of the Olympic games, more organizations are going to realize the importance of utilizing social media?

Customer service winners

I recently came across BusinessWeek’s Customer Service Standouts slideshow. I took some time to look through the top ten to find out what made them so special when it came to their customer service. An overlying theme was treating your employees with respect. If employees love who they’re working for, love the products they’re selling, and are educated on them, odds are your customer service will be great. Here’s Business Week’s top 10 and why they made the list.

1. USAA – With their service team of 12,400 receiving 250,000 hours of reinforcement training a year to service military personnel with they know their product.

2. LL Bean – In the 2007 holiday season, they took time to store up their inventory, leaving less customers calling the call center to complain about items being in stock, even with the extra goods they had left over.

3. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts – All employees get the luxury service when they start the job so they know what it’s suppose to be like for the customers.

4. Lexus – They set up an online chatroom to converse with customers online who are thinking about buying Lexus vehicles.

5. Trader Joe’s – They make an effort to pay their employees the average income in their community, and pride themselves on customer interaction in the store.

6. Starbucks – January started, and they made customer service their number one priority, making changes to their current rocky business.

7. Jet Blue – Their new terminal at JFK Airport in New York City will bring more security outlets, as well as more eticket kiosks. They’ve also added a Customer’s Bill of Rights.

8. Edward Jones – In 2007, they implemented a system to recognize branch managers who excelled at customer service.

9. Lands End – In Sears stores, their current owner, they’ve added in-store monogramming, and also computer kiosks so in store customers can browse online.

10. Ace Hardware – The employees focus on being knowledgeable about their tools. This year, they’re having every employee carry around a skill matrix card, so if they’re not the expert on certain tools, they can quickly connect customers with the right person.

Google Insights for Market Research

An important step in online marketing research includes understanding search patterns and visitor behavior. Tino Triste’s latest post on I-com details how you can use Google Insights to help do just that.

Google Insights helps marketers in several ways by finding popular key phrases for your market as well as generating geographical heat maps which shows where there is greater demand for products and services. Tino gives the example of searching for the term “gardening supplies” for a fictitious company called Gardening Outlet Ltd. By searching in the United States, Tino was about to figure out that there was a greater demand for “gardening supplies” in states like Oregon and Colorado. This step in preliminary market research is crucial and it can help companies analyze results before moving forward with a new business venture.

Tino describes how Google Insights can be used for marketing research, but what are some other applications and methods that your company uses to conduct preliminary research?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Market Research still important in time of economic downturn

Carol Ann Morgan recently wrote a post at the Thursday Night Insight blog citing the importance market research still has during this time of economic downturn. When she was out to dinner with one of her friends in the construction industry, they began discussing his current efforts, and she realized he was investing in marketing and market research. He saw it as a way to keep his business going in the future, not just a temporary fix.

Morgan brought up a very valid point. Marketing and market research are vital in this time of downturn. Not only can it increase your presence in the customers mind, but keeping up market research allows you to better understand the current state of your customer. You can then take their new needs and try to fulfill them, it’s also a way to increase customer loyalty and keep customers satisfied. These little things can be found by doing the research to find out what your customers need.

Is market research still progressing in your company? What effects have you seen the current economic state take on the state of the market research industry?

Facebook: A Global Community

Even though MySpace remains the leading US social network, BusinessWeek reports that Facebook is now the top global social network with over 132 million users: 63% of these users are from outside of North America.


Facebook has become an even greater way to build communities and reach out to consumers since the site is now translated in major languages like French, Spanish, Mandarin, and 69 more languages. There is a lot of growth in international countries for Facebook, and this is an exciting time for marketers looking to reach a global audience.


What’s your experience on using social networks to reach a global audience?

Please Inform Your Face

This is posted on behalf of JoAnna Brandi. It is co-posted on the Customers 1st Blog and JoAnna Brandi blogs.

I’ve just left the Estee Lauder counter in Lord & Taylor’s. I’m shaking my head.

Lauder is having one of their special offers – buy $39.50 worth of product and get a free gift. My Mom uses their products and like most people loves the free gift. This time (very clever) you get to customize the gift. You get to pick from two color palettes (warm or cool) and a choice of daytime or nighttime creams.

We walked over to the relatively small counter where there three (count them – three) sales people. Not one of them noticed us nosing around. I had to ask “Are you having a special offer today?”

“Yes.”

“Uh – can you tell us a little about it?”

She gave us a brief description, nothing exciting at all in her voice, and void of some important details. My Mom, recovering from a broken hip, and leaning on a cane said great – I need some powder. The young later brought out the powder and stated that the powder cost $29.50.

“Okay,”

A moment of silence and then I got it – it was probably not enough to qualify for the gift. So I needed to move the conversation along to the next level I guessed. “And what do we need to spend to get a gift?”

$39.50 More silence and one of those glances that suggested that perhaps we were interrupting something very important that she needed to do. It was momentary, but my body picked it up.

Now my Mom picked up the ball. She looked at me and said, “Need anything?”

“I really could use a lipstick.”

“Okay.” And then, nothing.

“Where ARE your lipsticks?” I asked, really wanting to bolt out of the store screaming.

“Over there.”

And so I climbed over a cart that was blocking the way, and then moved it out of the way so my Mom might make her way around the road block too.

I quickly picked a lipstick. Now it’s time for Mom to pick the components of her gift – the young lady asked my not-hearing-too-well Mom. “Do you want warm or cool colors?” Not knowing what she was getting into, or what the young lady meant she picked one. When I brought to her attention after seeing the colors that she wasn’t going to like the beige lipstick we asked the young lady to switch it. What resulted was a deep sigh and look of distain.

Had I been there alone, it would have been the moment of truth, where I either told the truth about what I was seeing or left the store, but I stayed for the rest of the transaction.

To my utter amazement, after we paid, the woman looks up and says in a somewhat convincing voice, “Thank you so very much. I really appreciate your business, thanks for coming in today.” The amazing part – she said it all while maintaining a scowl on her face. It made me feel quite ill, it was that strange.

Next time you express appreciation – please remember to inform your face.

If you want to learn more about inspiring the kind of culture that would NEVER (I repeat NEVER) produce this kind of behavior join the experts at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management where we’ll be teaching you how to make the customer really FEEL like #1.

If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi will be a keynote speaker at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!