Archive for August, 2011

Employee Focus – Talent and Expectations

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

In order to maintain your customers and gain new customers, you have to attract and retain quality team members. It’s not magic, retaining the right people takes hard work and dedication. Be committed to work with your administrative team and make employee retention a priority.

Recruiting The Right People

  • Plan ahead: Identify the skills, abilities or talents needed to accomplish the work.
  • Develop a recruitment strategy: Determine which recruitment efforts work for you.
  • Provide orientation and training: Give your employees the tools and information necessary to do their jobs well. Provide new employees with mentors, training videos, etc.
  • Recognize employee contributions, talents and skills: Communicate each employee’s value to him or her orally or in writing. Show appreciation in formal and informal ways.
  • Celebrate and evaluate: Celebrate success! Incorporate an on-going review process to identify how you could improve processes incorporating everyone’s feedback.

    Management Expectations

    According to Andrew Rondeau’s article, Management Expectations, “Twenty-five percent of all staff members don’t know what their boss expects of them.” As a manager, you should communicate the behaviors you expect of your employees if you want to see an improvement in your team’s work effort. Communicate your management expectations and coach/mentor employees to help them become the best employees possible.

    Great Moments to Create Word of Mouth

    Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

    Originally published by GasPedal
    August 16, 2011

    Some moments are just naturally better opportunities to create conversations than others. If you can improve your timing, you’ll get a lot more word of mouth for the same effort. Moments to focus on:

    1. After the sale
    2. After the support
    3. After the check-in

    After the sale

    The moment of purchase can be an exciting experience — and it can make for a great opportunity to get people talking. You can help them do it with simple forms or social media links to tell friends about their purchase, coupons they can share, or catalogs, stickers, and brand gear they can take with them. A new, happy customer has great talking potential, but only if you put the tools in their hands to do it.

    After the support

    Thrilling a customer with great support can be a fantastic word of mouth moment. After you’ve saved the day, ask for feedback, a referral, or try pointing them to review sites. This is also a good time to be on the lookout for incoming praise from customers and to politely ask if you can use it in your marketing materials.

    After the check-in

    Do you do regular check-ins with clients? Not only can it be a great customer service program, but it can also be a great way to reconnect and restart conversations. Smart car dealerships do this with follow-ups to make sure everything is still running well, and Zappos is famous for emailing to make sure you’re still happy with your shoes a year after your original purchase.

    Getting Employees Involved in Word of Mouth

    Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

    Originally published by GasPedal
    July 26, 2011

    The people on your payroll can be a powerful word of mouth force if you equip them with the training, the tools, and the motivation to do it right. How to get started:

    1.   Give them guidelines
     
    2.   Give them tools
     
    3.   Give them status

    Give them Guidelines

    Create simple rules and guidelines for your employees on how to engage with fans and customers. It’s not about creating restrictions, it’s about straightforward education on how they can participate in conversations about you honestly and ethically — and most employees are happy to be shown the boundaries. And when you do, start by teaching these 10 magic words: “I work for _____ and this is my personal opinion.”

    Give them Tools

    To help your talkers tell friends about you, you need to put tools in their hands — and your employees are no different. Try giving them coupons, friends and family discount codes, leaked information, beta tests, or product samples. And when you find something that really gets your employees sharing, there’s a good chance it’ll work for your external fans too.

    Give them Status

    Want your internal experts to get more involved in online forums or industry groups? Declare them your company’s subject matter experts on the topics they know best and help them get involved in blogging, online communities, events, or local groups. Or on a larger scale, try creating an ambassador program that gives employees the product expertise (and the VIP status) to go out and engage customers on behalf of your brand.

    Word of mouth is the most credible source of information about a product, aside from actual personal experience with a product.  What consumers tell each other about your product has a huge impact on your effort to recruit new customers.

    How can you control what people say about your product?  Encouraging customers to say nice things, and preventing them from slamming your product is hard – many marketers assume that doing so is impossible.  But you can influence word of mouth, and you must try to do so.  Following are some ideas for how to manage word of mouth communications about your product:

    • Make your product special.  A product that surprises people because of its unexpectedly good quality or service is special enough to talk about.
    • Do something noteworthy in the name of your product or company.  Support a not-for-profit organization in your neighborhood.  Stage a fun event for kids.  Let your employees take short sabbaticals to volunteer in community services.  All of these strategies have worked well in the past to generate positive publicity and word of mouth.  Get creative.  Think of something worthwhile — some way of helping improve your community that will make people surprised and happy about the good you’re doing in the name of your product.

    Source:  Marketing for Dummies, by Alexander Hiam, MBA