Archive for category customer experience

foursquare Social Media Ignorance


Image representing Foursquare as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

So tell me what’s wrong with this picture.  I got this email today:

Hi Tim,

If you’ve opened up foursquare in the last couple weeks you’ve probably noticed that we made a ton of changes. We re-imagined the entire app, Extreme Makeover style, to make it even easier for you and your friends to share and save your experiences and find new places to go. We also gave it plenty of design love and under-the-hood tweaks, so it’s not only prettier but faster than ever – hurrah!

Usage Ignorance

Anyone who has me as a friend in foursquare or see’s my Facebook stream knows I use foursquare a lot.  The question is, why doesn’t foursquare know this?  How can I get an email making it seem like I need to be reminded that the screens have changed, the navigation is different, more map features added, and more?  So why is a social media company incapable of using their own data to enhance my relationship?  Why not make me feel special rather then a member of their junk mail list?

Lessons for  Small Business

Even the big boys don’t get it right.  So don’t ever think that you should not try because some major player in your space can always do it better and faster then you.  Often, small business has more chances to beat the larger players at their own game because small business can be more nimble.

So my advice, don’t count out social media in your marketing plan!

Advertisements

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Make it Easy for Customers


The other day I was helping a new client plan out marketing materials for an upcoming event and asked if he was using QR Codes on all of his materials.  I explained that many people are now scanning them and then using them to do research or deal with retention issues associated with information overload.

The items in your QR Code should be:

  1. Direct link to the landing page for the event or product promoted at that event so the visitor doesn’t have to hunt down what they were interested in.
  2. Your phone number
  3. Your Email Address
  4. other pertinent information that you wanted stored in their contact list
    1. hours of operation
    2. Your name
    3. Your Address
    4. Other web sites you want them to know about (blogs, product micro sites, etc.)

Oh, and if the back of your business card isn’t already in use, put a QR Code there.  It shows you respect their time by having them avoid manually typing the data into their contact database.

Is It Important?

Well if  you don’t think this is important enough to add to your marketing material, maybe this article might change your mind:

Half of U.S. shoppers rely on phones for in-store research

Good Hunting!

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Facebook’s Unfriendly Competition Subscriptions


We all, deep down in our souls,  know that Facebook has destroyed the concept of friendship.   Facebook has cheapened the meaning of the word friend, and yet, unwittingly …  somehow, elevated the concept of  “BFF” (best friend foreveeeeer!!!!)

Just the other day, a long time friend came to me apologizing that she had just recently accepted a long forgotten sent Facebook friend request.  She took five minutes explaining how and why she accepts friends in Facebook and said that my friends invitation was simply an oversight and begged for my forgiveness.  My response: “Oh OK, so how you been this week?”

New Competition: Google+ Circles

Not even out of BETA, Google+ has caused some irritation to Facebook.  You can’t help but seeing reviews on the concept of “Google+ Circles” and your ability to project your information to specific circle of people rather then having it pasted to your entire ‘friend list’ in Facebook.  After all, we segment our lives differently then all or nothing.

Google+ calls them “People”, Facebook calls them “Friends”   I can subscribe to people’s feeds in Google+, and yes even narrow that down by creating a sub-set call Circles.  Now in Facebook I can subscribe to ‘someone’ without being a being a friend.

Facebook has introduced a new look to ‘Lists’.  You could always create friend lists, but most people never used them because they were not the easiest to create or maintain.  Now they are more predominant on the screen and they include showing the number of new updates since last time on.  I will post more on this later.

Facebook’s Unfriendly Subscribe Option

Finally, I can follow a person without giving them the false hope that we have somehow become anything other then an non-friend acquaintance, if that.  My casual hook-up with them is simply a matter of convenience to satisfy my natural curiosity of what they have to offer.    Our relationship simply lasts as long as they provide me what I need, and I can drop them as quickly as I met them.  No emotional strings attached!  How nice of Facebook for finally allow such unfriendly relationships.

Subscription Button Info

Here are some things to remember about this new Facebook capability:

  • a person must turn this feather on to allow someone to subscribe to them.
  • you get to decide how much you want to see from your subscriptions, photo’s only, or how about ‘no more game messages!’ – that’s actually a good thing.
  • If you can’t subscribe to someone, just remember “It’s not you, it’s them” and you don’t have to feel left out, no one can then subscribe to that person.
  • Facebook Pages have gone through a lot of changes expect more changes to come that way as well.
Good Hunting

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Empty Carts Go Here


Prior to reading the sign below, posted in the parking lot of a local super-store, I could only image how many fully loaded carts were left standing at the cart return areas by the patrons of this establishment.  In fact,  if I had not looked up and read the sign I might have done just that.    Thank goodness this company went out of their way to educate me, their slow and stupid customer,  on this critical step in the process … empty the cart first before returning the cart.

IMAG0065

Imagine the full carts left in the lot before this sign was put up!

Doubly perplexed were the gas station operators of this establishment.   Having their customers show up with full gas tanks, only to top off the tank with a few pennies worth of gas, caused them to jump into action and ask for some verbiage on these educational signs for their dimwitted customers.  Obviously, the educational campaign of letting people know that you go to a gas station to fill your car when the tank is near empty was a great public service to the community.

Maybe I’m being to hard on the gas station operators.  Possibly, this was simply a kind paternal attempt to avoid seeing their idiot customers in long lines of vehicles, with bone dry gas tanks, waiting to be filled at the empty cart return areas.  I guess we’ll never really know.

Words Matter – Silly Signs

OK, I’m having some fun with a poorly worded sign.  I had to get it out of me.  After all, we are not talking about a street sign with missing punctuation for brevity being let loose on a unsuspecting neighborhood.  The sign that comes to mind is “Slow Children Playing”.  What a difference a little comma makes.  This sign has often created an instant and deep sensation of pity towards the parents of these slow children, in which the city went out of their way to let everyone know that retarded children can found playing in the upcoming neighborhood.

The words we use matter to some.   I think we don’t spend enough time evaluating how our  statements shape the  opinions of others and assume that everyone has the same point of view or intention as we do.

Sending Messages

So what messages are we sending to our customers?    Does your company have any phrases, tag lines, signs, etc., that could cause a customer to think they are ignorant and  ill-informed persons,  and would remain so if it weren’t for your existence on this planet?

If you have any other examples, please share these examples with me in a comment below.  These (word) pictures make for great presentation fodder when speaking in public engagements.  I would love to hear from you.

Good Hunting!

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Customer Experience Investment Opportunities (Revisited)


[Note: this is an older post but the “Ill Advised Investments” example came up in a recent meeting and brought a smile back to my face so I’m recycling the post.  I’ve also added another great quote from Godin as well]

I love the way Seth Godin’s mind works. In a resent post, “How much extra for nice?” brings up the critical point of how much we are willing to pay for better service but reminds companies that creating this environment costs a fraction of what people are willing to pay. The benefits can last longer.

I also read another great thought from Seth Godin as well:

No matter what your job is, no matter where you work, there’s a way to create a project (on your own, on weekends if necessary), where the excitement is palpable, where something that might make a difference is right around the corner.

Hurry, go do that.

Godin in “What are you working on?

Beneficial Investments

In a recent post, I identified three example of customer service excellence. How much money was budgeted to create this customer service environment? These types of examples have a lasting benefit that far outweighs the cost of implementing them. If companies can recognize this before dismissing these opportunities, the rewards have an exponential effect.

Some examples:

  • Hiring the right people
  • Having the right people perform jobs they love to do best.
  • Continuous improvement of the customer experience at all levels of the company
  • Reward excellence and avoid promoting people out of their natural strengths.

Ill Advised Investments

Although I agree with Seth’s premise, as consumers, here are some examples in which we should avoid paying extra to have someone be nice to us!

  • $100 to the Police Officer at a traffic stop – will only produce untold number of stories for your grandchildren around the campfire, sometime in the distant future.
  • $100 to $10,000 to the triage attendant at the local Emergency Room – will get you absolutely nothing at all except a lighter wallet.
  • $100 turned in with your exam – results may vary, but don’t expect them to be positive.

So do you have any beneficial or ill advised investments to share?

Good Hunting!

See also:

Great Customer Service and Peer Recognition

Customer Service Excellence Examples

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Great Customer Service and Peer Recognition


I guess I’m stuck on a customer service theme in my head. I seem to be attracted to articles and work that focus on the subject. It could simply be a residual affinity based on my recent experiences with customer service excellence. Nonetheless, recently I read a very interesting article in the Incentives Magazine (digital version at incentivemag.com). In the article MetLife uses peer recognition to promote better customer service.

Peer Review Critical

The article goes into the multi-year process of creating a culture to use recognition as a means to increase customer service. The “Best of the Best” program mentioned is a key to their success. There is an organizational role assigned to these types of programs.

“We really wanted it to be peer recognition in local offices, let local recognition champions create the program. It can’t be top-down.” says Marge Rody, the vice president of customer service operations

The article breaks down the tiers of the “Best of the Best” program:

The first is On the Spot, which Hayes-Brown describes as “your immediate recognition, your pat on the back, thank-you” from a manager or supervisor on a day-to-day basis.

Next is the more structured middle tier, known (perhaps somewhat confusingly) as “informal.” This is a Web-based system with a nomination process based around four corporate objectives. Nominations are vetted by each office’s committee of two to five volunteer recognition champions, generally on a monthly basis, and winners can choose a gift from an online catalog.

Finally, there’s the “formal” level, an annual selection of a few names from every business unit (up to five from the largest office) will be sent to Brennan’s corporate recognition committee, which will choose 33 winners—one percent of the 3,300 employees—to be recognized at the corporate level and travel to a ceremony hosted by the company’s president. This award is handed out by the recognition champions committee, overseen by the recognition chairperson. All of those nominated by their local recognition champions are honored, whether they are selected or not, Hayes-Brown says.

Your Action Plan

Let’s face it, it’s easy to find fault. You can search for customer service examples on the internet and you will find the majority are people venting on their recent bad experiences. With the exception of helping the PR and HR departments of these companies ‘locate opportunities for improvement’, nothing really comes of it.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Create an ‘instant recognition’ program – doesn’t have to be elaborate, maybe simply creating a goal that you hand out a ‘At-a-Boy’ each day to someone
  • Plan recognition into events – set aside time in your schedule or project plan to actually think about or review the past few days and determine who could be recognized.
  • Formal Incentive Goal: Create a budget that would include a gift/prize/incentive for someone who reaches a level of customer service. Maye incorporating the above two mentioned items as milestones to quantify the person’s level.

This is something that could easily be implemented in your family, work, church, or team. I hope this post has helped you. If you have any other ideas or comments, I would love to hear them.

Good Hunting.

See Also:

Customer Service Excellence Examples

Customer Experience Investment Opportunities

Reference:

Leo Jakobson (September 2008). MetLife Rethinks Recognition. Incentive, 20-24

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