Posts Tagged ‘Perception’

Don’t Forget Your Front Line

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Delivering exceptional customer service is necessary in today’s competitive marketplace. In addition to your customers, don’t forget to treat your employees well. Many businesses drop the ball in this area. Especially with the current rate of unemployment, many business owners think their workers should be happy to have a job. While this may partially be true, remember, while you are trying so hard to create the best experience for your customers, it only takes one contact with an unhappy, disengaged or disgruntled employee to change a customer’s perception of the service you provide.

Be sure to add employee satisfaction to your marketing plan. This does not always mean you will need to add to your budget. Very often employee morale can be improved or maintained through open communication. Incorporating employee surveys or a suggestion box are easy ways to get feedback. Opening a dialogue with employees and engaging them in the company’s strategy goes a long way. Adding these types of improvements will often help reduce staff turnover and the costs involved in recruiting, hiring and training new employees.

Your ROI – Getting Out What You Put In

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Most people have heard the quote, “You get out of it what you put into it.” This saying can easily apply to many of life’s endeavors, especially business. Although it may sound cliché, it holds pretty true that you will only get out of your business or career what you put into it. Business is not easy, quite the opposite. It’s hard. If it were easy, everyone would own or run a business. Most successful business professionals struggle to balance it all, wearing many hats, working lots of hours and trying to keep up with the latest and greatest in business and industry. However, a common thread found among the successful is attention to detail. Even with trying to keep all the balls in the air, they understand how the details ultimately will reflect the quality of their work.

Making deposits of time, money and energy now will allow for greater withdrawals in the future. This holds true whether you are an employee seeking a promotion or salary increase, a manager angling for more respect and visibility or a business owner trying to maximize profitability and increase resale potential. Remember, if you want to be able to take out big withdrawals someday, you have to put a lot into your business deposits.

Expert Advice: Visualize Marketing

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

“…You need to give careful thought to how the product is displayed and presented. You cannot play this all-important role for your product, but you can select the stage and design the set and costume.”

  • The stage is made up of the store, catalog or other meeting place,
  • The set includes the shelving, signs, display, or other point-of-purchase designs,
  • The costume is the packaging you give your product.”*

 

*Quote attributed to Alexander Hiam, The Portable MBA in Marketing

  • Building A Team: Don’t just hire an employee to fill a position. Employ a person to be part of a team to build your business.

  • Saying ‘Thank You’ – OFTEN: Let your employees, customers and vendors know how much you appreciate them. Tell them, jot a note or send an email.

  • Smiling: Customers are obviously interested in quality and price when making a purchase decision, but ultimately they are buying your optimistic attitude!

Press Releases: Follow Up!

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Distributing a press release is only half the effort — the other half is the follow up.

How do you follow up with media contacts?

Prepare for your phone call.

  • Read the press release
  • Understand the key message; what is important to the reader?
  • Formulate a five-second summary. Why should the media be interested?

Know your contact.

  • Review your media distribution list.
  • Know when and how the release was distributed.

Be sensitive to reporters’ schedules, especially when they are on a deadline.

  • Avoid calling the press after 2 p.m. Contact weekly publications on Thursdays or Fridays, when they are likely beginning new stories.
  • Avoid calling radio and TV stations an hour before their broadcast.
  • If a journalist calls you, contact them immediately – or you may lose a story.

Be polite, professional and brief.

  • Say hello, your name and why you are calling – in two sentences.
  • Ask them if they received your release.
  • Provide your five-second summary if they want to know what the release is about.
  • Ask if there is any interest in doing a story.
  • Offer to answer any questions they may have.
  • Offer to leave your contact information.

Remember that reporters are people, too.

  • They work for a living.
  • They operate under strict deadlines.
  • They receive dozens of “did-you-receive-my-press-release” calls per day.

Above all, be a resource not a pest.

  • Your media contacts will be receiving more press releases from you in the future.
  • You will want to maintain a good relationship with your media contacts.

Simple Ways to get More Testimonials

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Originally published by GasPedal
May 17, 2011

Great testimonials from happy fans are an important asset to any word of mouth program. It doesn’t matter if you’re a one-location restaurant or a billion-dollar BtoB brand — testimonials will help you make more sales. Three quick ways to get more of them:

1.  Your feedback forms
2.  Your unsolicited praise
3.  Your loyal fans

Your feedback forms

Make the most of the times you’re already asking for feedback (because you are asking for feedback, right?). After the section on your form where people can leave their comment, add a checkbox that says something along the lines of, “Yes, I give you permission to use this in your marketing materials.” Even if just a small percentage of customers check the box (though it’ll probably be much higher than that), you’ll instantly get more testimonials you can immediately put to use.

Your unsolicited praise

Keep your eyes open for all the unsolicited praise from happy customers. You’ll often find it in blog posts, in emails from customers, or in everyday conversations. When you see or hear it, simply ask if you could quote them on it.

Your loyal fans

It is absolutely OK to ask your happy customers for a testimonial. Most of them won’t think to do it on their own — they don’t realize how much it could help you. Think about it: If you’ve done all the other stuff it takes to earn great testimonials, you’ve probably got a bunch of customers who would happily do it.

The Ten Laws of Marketing

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
  1. Every aspect of your business is marketing.
  2. Marketing = Consumer Education
  3. Assurance and a plain message sell, ambiguity does not.
  4. Good marketing only works for good products.  It destroys bad ones.
  5. Perception is reality.
  6. Marketing is common sense.
  7. Know your customer.
  8. Build relationships and partnerships with your customers.
  9. The world is about customer service.
  10. Marketing is flexible, evolutionary, revolutionary and adaptive.

There is a way of “doing well by doing good” – it’s called community outreach. Community outreach efforts provide personal satisfaction, value to your community and value to your business – all while building a greater sense of unity with your customers, employees and neighbors. Consider making community outreach an important part of your marketing strategy and you will develop another competitive advantage for your
business.

It may not be easy to measure the return on investment of a community outreach program. The benefits may be intangible, but the value is there nonetheless. Community outreach should be viewed as one of the many contributing factors to your business development efforts. Not all community outreach opportunities will cost your business money, some may only require a few spare hours from volunteers.

Community outreach strengthens customer ties and improves public image. Grow your grassroots marketing efforts by participating in your local Chamber of Commerce, serving on a board for a local charity and performing volunteer work. Take your involvement a step further by supporting local events, sponsoring sports teams and participating in activities. If you are tenacious with your community outreach program,
you can generate positive buzz and free press coverage.

In today’s technological age, people communicate primarily through e-mail.  While we communicate with both our friends and business associates via e-mail, rules of professionalism and politeness still apply.  Your e-mail communications are a part of your professional image, and as such, you must pay attention when sending off even the quickest of electronic communications.

If you want to impress the recipients, you have to make sure they choose to read your e-mail.  As such, take the time to make a meaningful subject line.  Your header should be pertinent to your message, and should stand out from the volume of other e-mails in the recipient’s in-box.  Additionally, don’t forget to update your header each time you reply.

Once your recipient opens your email, make sure you have properly personalized it.  Even though e-mail is informal, it should still always have a greeting.  Your email will seem rude and unpleasant without a greeting, and you want the tone of your message to seem professional and friendly.  On that note, always choose your words carefully to make sure your email has an appropriate tone.  Sarcasm, for instance, while appropriate in oral communications often comes across differently via e-mail.

Finally, your e-mail is a representation of you.  Always check spelling and grammar.  If you don’t, people will question the quality of your work.  Additionally, say only what needs to be said.  People skim or ignore e-mails that are too long.  If your e-mail is overly long, the topic probably shouldn’t be communicated via e-mail.  Pick up the phone or schedule a meeting.  Additionally, don’t expect people to respond right away.  If the communication is urgent and requires an imminent response, use the phone.  People check their messages at their convenience, not yours.

E-mail makes everything easier and faster.  It can also quickly establish positive professional relationships and make a powerful business impression.  Poorly written e-mails can just as quickly do the opposite.  Use technology effectively and appropriately, and you will see the results of your effort.

CUSTOMER CARE IS NUMBER ONE

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Customer care is the service that you provide to your customers on a daily basis and it is extremely important to the success of your business.  In today’s economy, it is especially important to keep your current customers happy.

Customer Care and Word of Mouth

Appreciate your customers!  This is everyone’s responsibility – business owners, managers and employees.  Satisfied customers are easier to retain and your appreciation of them translates to good word-of-mouth communication.  In this technological age, word spreads faster than ever – make it positive!  Keeping customers satisfied is critical to the success of your business and your bottom line.

Communicate and Appreciate

Quality customer care is characterized by excellent communication and appreciation.  To develop long-term relationships with your customers, you should strive for optimal communication and appreciation every day!