Yearly Archives: 2011

Is Customer Service Building or Destroying Your Brand?

Singapore Airlines First Class (747) by Richard MorossAfter losing his own seat to an irate fellow passenger, Barry Kirk was pleased to be bumped up to first class. That is, until he overheard a flight attendant complain to a colleague about just how much he detested serving first class fliers . . . When so much of customer loyalty depends upon the service experience, can any business afford to overlook the critical role of customer service on brand value?

Kirk is solution vice president of consumer loyalty with Maritz Research, a marketing research company whose data on customer behavior shapes the business strategies of market leaders worldwide.

Among the key findings of the company’s research on the impact of consumer experience, says Kirk:

  • 43% of customers who defect from a brand do it because of a service interaction.
  • Of those defectors, 77% blame employee attitude for the poor experience.
  • More importantly, the large majority, 83%, of customers who defect because of poor service tell someone else about it.

“A company can do many things right with a customer, only to have it all unravel in one bad experience with a brand ambassador,” wrote Kirk for Promo Magazine.

Whether you’re the owner of a local hardware store or the director of a national electronics chain, these are numbers and insights to take to heart.

Read more from Kirk in “First Class to no Class: Learning Loyalty from a Flight Attendant” — Promo Magazine, May 17, 2011. Image credit: Richard Moross (Flickr).

By | June 6, 2011|Blog, Customer Service|0 Comments

Customer Reviews & Client Testimonials – Love ’em or Leave ’em?

Mouth. Flickr CC image by emmettgrrrlA fellow member of Small Biz Nation asks, “How critical are reviews and testimonials to a small business and how do you manage and share those reviews within your organization?” My answer: so critical that it’s like throwing away money not to ask for them.

When seeking applicants for a job, the smart boss knows there are several ways to evaluate a candidate. The CV or résumé offers a snapshot of the person’s capabilities in presenting him- or herself in written form. The interview is about the in-person presentation and “the vibe.” Finally, the references provide 3rd party support for the conclusions reached in the use of the first two.

So too the client testimonial. Take these examples:

You’ve found great pictures of a bed-and-breakfast online and the rates look great. But many former guests have placed reviews on Qype that state the place smells, is farther from the city center than advertised, and its bathrooms are poorly cleaned. Will you still book your lodging there?

Or what about the new Indian restaurant. Your friends have just tried it and they’re RAVING about how good the food is. How more likely are you to give it a try than if you’d only seen their “grand opening” sign?

For any business, word of mouth advertising is how one stands out on a field crowded with competitors. Customer reviews/testimonials play a large part in that, especially as more buyers take to the ‘net to research before they buy. The efforts you can undertake to convince buyers to choose YOU and your products or services  should include asking your current clients/customers to speak up on your behalf. (If they’re happy, they will do it for you GLADLY.)

How to make it work for your business:

  • Make the ask: Place a call or send a personal email to your current and former clients asking them to be a reference for your business. If the person is also on LinkedIn, use the Ask for a Recommendation tool. Easy!
  • Drop it into your marketing materials: Use snippets or even full text in your sales and marketing materials. If your current client says “I would recommend ArcherTC to anybody!” your prospective client may be persuaded by reading just that alone. Websites, brochures, sales letters — use it!
  • Encourage your colleagues to do the same: Sometimes, the recommendation is for one of your colleagues. But if each member of the whole team is getting great feedback, that speaks wonders about the team as a whole.
  • Help your clients talk about you: You know those “tell a friend” calls to action? They work. So don’t hesitate to ask current clients to pass on the news about what you’ve done. Better yet, make it easy for them by making suggestions: If they have a newsletter, ask them if they’d be willing to include a small statement about the work you did for them. If they’re in a business club, tell them you’ll offer a great price to any members they personally refer.

I’m sure others have more to share about their own experiences, so I’d love to hear them. What’s your take?

By | April 20, 2011|Blog, Small Business|0 Comments

How Nonprofits Use Search Engines for Good

Flickr cc image from a Search Engine Land article, marketing consultant Byrne Hobart uncovers the use of search engine optimization and marketing tactics in driving issue-based campaigns. While written for those already aware of SEO and SEM (e.g. term ranks, keyword research, organic results), the article is also a primer for those non-profits that wish to add these tools to their toolbox.

  • How do citizens, journalists, political leaders, and donors already gain awareness of political campaigns?
  • How can SEO and SEM help non-profits raise the visibility of their initiatives in an ever-crowded playing field?
  • How can advocacy groups with more time- or media-sensitive targets use SEO and SEM to place their concerns in the very same spaces as those they are challenging?

Great tips. Worth the read. SEO For A Good Cause: Supporting Advocacy & Non-Profit Campaigns – Search Engine Land, January 14, 2011

By | February 16, 2011|Blog, Nonprofits, Search Engine Optimization|0 Comments