Tag Archives: customer loyalty

Of demons and customer service

Seth Godin wrote a blog post last week, titled “Demonization,” that ties in seamlessly with our Tuesday post on what can happen when terrible customer service hits the Internet.

Here’s what Seth says:

The closer you get to someone, something, some brand, some organization… the harder it is to demonize it, objectify it or hate it.

So, if you want to not be hated, open up. Let people in. Engage. Interact.

If you interact regularly with your customers in the places they like to hang out (blogs, forums, Twitter, etc.), an unhappy customer will be more likely to approach you first, before telling all of their friends about the horrible experience they had.

Be open, engage your customers and help them when they ask for it. Instead of telling everyone how terrible you are, maybe, just maybe they’ll spread the word on how absolutely wonderful your company is.

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How to set company standards for response in social media

One of the biggest fears companies have when it comes to getting started in social media is how customers will respond to your presence and how to control the communication coming from your organization.

A simple way to ease the fear of handling customer responses is to come up with a plan.

The U.S. Air Force is an organization that is taking social media very seriously. To help their Emerging Technology Division know how to handle comments, they created this detailed chart.

How to set company standards for response in social media

How to set company standards for response in social media

By answering a series of yes-or-no questions, those within the organization can determine exactly how they should approach each comment posted within their social networks.

Using a chart like this ensures that everyone involved in your organization’s social media efforts will know the correct way to respond to your audience.

If your company has been hesitant to join social media out of a fear of losing control, you can ease some of those fears by setting standards for communication, like the Air Force’s chart.

Visit Global Nerdy if you would like to download a full-size PDF version of the poster.

What do you think of this chart? Does your organization have a “standard operating procedure” for handling communication in social media?

Why Zappos sent my mom a get well card

Today I’d like to lighten the mood a bit and tell you all a warm and fuzzy little story about my mom and Zappos. Yes, my real mother (Diane) and Zappos, the customer service focused online shoe retailer.

A few weeks ago she was online looking for a new pair of shoes to wear to a wedding. She had recently broken her ankle and needed a pair of shoes with a long ankle strap to fit around an air cast.

So, she finds a pair of shoes she likes online. Being more of a traditional shopper, she wanted to call and speak to a human being about the shoes to make sure the ankle straps would fit in her situation.

During the conversation with the customer service representative, she shared her reasons for shopping for a new pair of shoes. After hearing her uncomfortable reason, they waved any shipping costs and put her name on a “Preferred Customer List.”

If that wasn’t enough, one week later she received this get well card in the mail:

Zappos' outstanding customer service

Zappos' outstanding customer service

Not only did the customer service representative she was working with write her a thoughtful message, but six other representatives signed the card as well.

It’s just another lesson on awesome customer service and an example of how Zappos is leading the way.

Fun with links: Customer service, HR marketing trends and how to stop ‘wigging out’

Once again, there’s too much in my giant list of blog post ideas to get around to one at a time. So, here’s some of the latest and greatest marketing advice on the web. Enjoy!

Cut customer service and you’ll lose customers. As straightforward as that idea may seem, some companies are testing the waters when trimming customer service and customers don’t appreciate it. Scott Anthony at Harvard Business is one of those customers dealing with more than one damaged customer relationship due to cuts in customer service.

Yesterday HR Marketer announced the release of their ninth installment of the “Trends in HR Marketing” series of research reports. The findings mirror what was found in previous reports based on surveys sent to HR suppliers. Internet marketing and online social media are playing an increasingly important role in the marketing mix of HR vendors and suppliers. Find out more and get your own copy of the report at the HR Marketer blog.

Times are tough these days and everyone seems to be feeling the effects of the economic situation we’re in. Though the news may be bad, it doesn’t mean your attitude has to be as crummy as the headlines. Use a few of these tips on how to get away from “stinking thinking” and put yourself in a better mood, courtesy of the folks at Conversation Agent.

Paul Williams at MarketingProfs Daily Fix recently asked readers for their expert marketing advice on how to help his struggling business, simplifying the task by pretending the business was a lemonade stand. Advice came pouring in, “ranging from conservative to far out.” Read all of the comments and discover some new ideas to help your business in our down economy.

Have you been worried about the recent request by Postmaster General John Potter that Congress allow the U.S. Postal Service to cut mail service to five days a week to reduce costs? While it may save the USPS money, many marketers and publishers are worried about how the cutbacks will affect business. Read more about their plans at BtoB Magazine.

Social media a major player in crisis communication

When the recent salmonella outbreak caused by tainted peanut butter started making people sick, government health agencies relied heavily on social media to get the word out. Their social media efforts helped to quickly inform the public, possibly reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by the illness, according to federal health officials.

From Nextgov:

Officials with Health and Human Services Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said social media helped them spread the word that peanut butter recall. The agencies used widgets, blogs, Twitter, podcasts, mobile alerts and online videos to warn the public that peanut butter manufactured by Peanut Corp. of America for institutional use and for additives in other products such as snacks may be tainted with salmonella. Eight people died and 500 were sickened by the infected peanut butter.

“The response has been really amazing,” said Janice Nall, director of the division of eHealth marketing at CDC, on the public’s reaction to her agency’s social media campaign. “We look at social media as additional channels to reach people where they are.”

The recent salmonella outbreak and how government agencies used every available form of media to inform the public provides all of us with a valuable real-world case study on how to use social media to help manage a crisis.

When a crisis hits your business, you don’t want customers searching for answers from sources who don’t know the true story. You want to be sure that your customers are getting all the information they need, directly from you.

Social media is playing a bigger role than ever in crisis communication, simply because it is the most direct outlet to reach customers. More than ever before, people are using sources like Twitter, blogs and Google to find the latest information.

Don’t let someone else do the talking for you and ensure that customers are getting the latest information about your company directly from you. Especially when a crisis hits, you want to be the number one source they turn to.

What is the long-term value of customer loyalty?

It’s a well-known fact that the cost of keeping an existing customer is much less than trying to attract a new one. Still, many businesses refuse to listen.

Businesses that don’t understand the long-term value of customer loyalty tend to spend incredible amounts of money on marketing and advertising to attract new customers, while neglecting their existing customer base.

Especially when your business is going through tough times, focusing your efforts on existing customers is critical to your success.

It is consistently found that 60% to 80% of a business’ lost customers are either ‘very satisfied’ or simply ‘satisfied’ right before they take their loyalty elsewhere, according to a recent Business Week Tip.

Here’s how Richard D. Hanks, Tip author and president of Mindshare Technologies, differentiates between a ‘satisfied’ and ‘loyal’ customer:

Satisfied Customers

  • Focus on price
  • Shop around for bargains
  • Run to a competitor if you mess up
  • Don’t provide critical word-of-mouth advertising
  • Buy less and test your competitor’s products and services
  • Are easily lured away by competition

Loyal Customers

  • Focus on value
  • Reward you with loyal patronage
  • Are forgiving of an occasional slip-up
  • Shout your praises and recommend you to their friends
  • Buy more and sample across product and service lines
  • Are resistant to competition

Hank’s advice on customer loyalty: “Since drivers of loyalty are different across industries, I suggest you invest the resources to determine which parts of your product service mix are the key drivers of loyalty for your business.”

How does your company work to improve customer loyalty? What advice do you have for businesses looking to attract new customers while trying to still focus on existing customer loyalty?

A vitamin a day does a business good

We’re all tired of hearing about how bad business is, how bad it’s going to be and how we all wish it could be how it used to, because none of those conversations work to get anything accomplished. My Creative Team agrees:

Don’t just sit there in a funk. The media news may be gloomy but you don’t have to succumb. Be proactive.

They recently put together a new iPaper full of 50 One-A-Day Marketing Vitamins your business can start implementing today.

These are just a few of our favorite marketing ideas:

  • Send handwritten notes to your best customers, thanking them for the part they have played in your success.
  • Solicit customer feedback. Call a customer at random just to thank him for the business he has given you, and ask how his business is going. Then, listen.
  • Gather competitors’ ads and literature to see what they are promoting, and how they are approaching their target market.
  • Find an example of where you knocked it out of the park for a client and then write a case study about it.
  • Conduct a free seminar for your target audience on your area of expertise.

For more great marketing ideas, take a look for yourself: