In The Year of the Customer: Check Your Emotional Intelligence

Wendy Glavin - featuredBy Wendy Glavin

A friend once asked, “How are you able to get people to do things for you?”

When I’m compelled by the story or problem, and passionate about the person, I find a solution. I make an emotional connection.

Harper Lee wrote, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” – To Kill A Mockingbird.

People will choose to do something when they can connect with an underlying reason to do so. How and what you communicate are equally important.

The goal of persuasion is to convince the target audience to adopt and agree with the argument. By consciously applying the right questions, you can gain the response, outcome or information you need.

Lawyers and salespeople use leading questions that imply the answers they want to obtain. Other persuasive techniques include open-ended questions, like, “How did your meeting go?” as opposed to closed-ended questions that elicit yes or no responses.

An open-ended question might be used while shopping, during the holidays: “I know how busy you are, but may I ask a quick question about a gift for my son?” Acknowledging the salesperson’s situation shows empathy.

“Five concerns stimulate, for better or worse, a great many emotions that arise in a negotiation. The core concerns are appreciation, affiliation, autonomy, status, and role. Together these concerns more fully describe the emotional context of a negotiation than could any core concern,” says authors Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro in “Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as Your Negotiate.”

The same strategies hold true for marketers and brands that want to improve customer experience (CX). With 2016 coming to a close, the age of the customer is only beginning.

Check Your Emotional IntelligenceBuyers demand consistent, value-added products and services in-person and through online and mobile experiences. If businesses cannot provide what’s needed in the moment, they will go elsewhere.

Today, big data and analytics provide a tremendous amount of information about customers, but companies are still not measuring up.

According to McKinsey, although most executives, 84% agree innovation is important to growth strategy, 80% of business models are at risk. “B2B companies significantly underperform B2C customer experience index ratings, averaging less than 50%.” March 2016.

One problem is that data offers solutions if there’s transparency across disparate sources and its insights are understood. More commonly, data is siloed, complex and misinterpreted.

Instead of obsessing about customers and data, create products, services and experiences that customers want. “Customer experience leaders grow revenue faster than CX laggards, drive higher brand preference, and can charge more for their products,” says Rick Parish in Forrester’s “U.S. Customer Experience Index, 2016.”

Creating an emotional connection with a customer drives high CX rankings. “Some of the industry leaders include JetBlue in the airline industry, USAA in financial services, Apple in PC manufacturers and Lexus in automotive. A ‘happy customer’ does not correlate with brand loyalty. The top three drivers for loyalty are making customers feel valued, appreciated and confident.” Forbes, July 2016.

Harvard Business Review hosted a roundtable about, “What CEOs Really Worry About” with three executives on their 2016 list of the world’s best CEOs.  Number three on the list, Inditex CEO Pablo Isla said, “In managing a company, you of course need to be rational. I lead a company with more than 150,000 employees and millions of customers. But I’m gradually learning to be less rational and more emotional.

Motivating people and generating a sense of spirit inside a company are essential parts of a CEO’s role. We need to appeal to our employees’ emotions to help create an environment where they can innovate.”–  Harvard Business Review, November 2016.

About the Author: Wendy Glavin is Founder and CEO of Wendy Glavin, a NYC full-service agency. Wendy is a 20-year veteran of corporate, agency, consulting and small business ownership. She specializes in B2B marketing communications, PR, social and digital media. Her website is: https://wendyglavin.com/. Contact her at: wendy@wendyglavin.com

 

 

 

 

 




New Research: The Customer Journey in a Post-Trump World

guy-marion-featuredBy Guy Marion, CMO, Autopilot

It’s a post-Trump world and we know that a few well-placed tweets can catalyze an entire online movement…or leave a permanent scar.

Of course, Trump’s secret isn’t that he is the world’s wittiest tweeter or most original thinker – it’s that he knows his audience cold and never misses a chance to needle their pains and stir them into a frenzy. He’s a master brand builder.

For marketers, the winds of opportunity are blowing. While the relationship between brand and customer experience has always been mutually reinforcing, never has the latter been so publicly visible and instantly impactful. Succeed in creating an authentic and memorable online customer experience and brands can reap the benefits of instant shares, shout outs, and no-cost growth.

Fail to do so and miss quick chances to Trump your competition. Or risk falling victim to the unrelenting millennial consumer: a thrifty, inquisitive, and self-service generation who Googles instantly and expects a 1 to 1 response 24 x 7 (bots can be ok).

It turns out that a lot of people (in fact, 71% of “high performers”) have mastered how to use the customer journey to acquire leads faster, earn repeat buyers, and create successful customers. This new report offers an aggregated view of their tricks of the trade, while summarizing their results and offering practical takeaways. So who are these high-performing marketers?

High performers are attaining 80% or more of their goals this year and grow revenue by 58% faster on average. This is consistent regardless of their company size or business focus, with high performers outperforming peers by as much as 122% in enterprise and by 74% amongst B2C marketers.

customer-journey-marketing

New Research: Customer journey marketers are winning

We recently released our latest research report, the “2016 State of Customer Journey Marketing,” with a foreword from Adrienne Weissman, CMO of G2 Crowd.

This 39-page report draws from 505 US-based marketing decision makers to discover where they are investing, the strategies they are adopting to achieve high growth, and which marketing tactics and channels get results in a post-Trump world.

As 2017 approaches, marketers are investing first in online ads (30%), and customer events (also 30%), followed by email marketing, social media ads, and content (download the report for the complete 2017 investment priorities list).

customer-journey-working

 

High performers are focusing more on the customer experience than ads, by investing in customer events and marketing (35%), and referral and loyalty programs (29%), to get ROI from creativity, proof points, and buyer incentives to drive referrals and repeat purchases.

High performers are also investing in analytics and attribution (19%), meaning that as budget allocation shifts from advertising to customer-focused marketing, marketing leaders need to hire math men over mad men to analyze behavioral and purchasing data to accurately attribute what content and campaigns generate ROI.

Marketing automation adoption has taken off

Until recently, many companies have yet to implement marketing automation software (MAS), with research completed as recently as mid-2014 suggesting that MAS adoption hovers around only 3% for non-technology companies. The complexity, high costs and arduous implementation of traditional MAS vendors have warded off most companies, particularly SMBs, from adopting the technology.

But in 2016 adoption of MAS has taken off. 53% of marketers surveyed here say they use marketing automation to nurture leads and personalize their customer’s experience. Cost, not lack of awareness, is now the main impediment of use.

Which automation journeys are working?

top-performing-marketing-automation

 

 

High performers say marketing automation’s biggest impact is on lead generation (32%). For example, the Corporate Mobility Solutions (B2B) unit of ride-sharing service Lyft reported a 600%+ increase in leads in 2016 by using Autopilot connected to Salesforce to automate the follow up, qualification, and routing of new web and content leads.

The second most valuable use of marketing automation is for enticing satisfied one-time buyers to purchase again (23%). For example, popular B2C services like the flower delivery service BloomThat tailors their new user experience based on the number of times their customers have purchased.
Other successful nurturing approaches to acquire and on-board new users include:

•Triggering helpful messages that help users reach “Aha!” moments in your app
•Personalizing content based on past behavior (in-app, web-based, or purchase)
•Crafting a compelling multi-channel experience (email, in-app, SMS, web) and focusing on vertical or functional use cases (industry, need, department)

Nearly everyone is personalizing

81% of marketers in this study are using data to personalize their marketing, and are 54% more likely to say it’s resulting in a better customer experience. Most are using basic contact details or firmographic data, like name, company, or industry, to segment and personalize their newsletters or promotions for better results

common-data-sources-marketers-use

Rich personalization is still in its infancy, with only a third of marketers using online behavior, integrated CRM data like lead status’ or sales-entered data (19%, or in-app usage (13%), to deliver more granular, relevant experiences and content. So what are the benefits of this more personalized marketing?

Not surprisingly, the more personalized the marketing, the better the customer experience they deliver: 83% of those using in-app data and 79% of those using online behavior believe that personalization is improving the experience, compared to only 54 percent of those who do not use personalization.

Wrapping it all up

Top marketers’ focus on mapping the customer journey, investing in brand, and utilizing marketing automation to stay in touch more regularly and across multiple channels is paving the way to Trump-like results in 2017.

About The Author: Guy is the CMO of Autopilot, where he spearheads the company’s go-to-market strategy and operations. Prior to Autopilot, Guy was Head of Online Sales at Zendesk, VP/GM of CollabNet Cloud, and CEO of Codesion.




Customer Experience: The Secret Weapon in The B2B Sales Process

david-richardsonBy David Richardson, Director of Marketing Strategy, Spire Agency

B2B is complicated. Industries like technology, manufacturing and professional services are highly complex, jargon-filled beasts with deals costing millions and taking months to close.

And B2B products aren’t marketed; no sir, they’re sold by rainmakers working their network. Understandably, a cool logo, clever tagline or glossy print ad isn’t going to move the needle in the same way it does for a soda, smartphone or new car, right?

Of course, that’s the perspective we hear time and again from sales departments. We don’t blame them for thinking this way – B2B sales is a very different process compared to selling a B2C product, requiring a hands-on element to nurture and guide the customer through the entire sales process. But instead of relying on marketing as an equal partner, often times sales views marketing as merely a vendor to create support materials.

However, there’s one thing the marketing department can do to make the sales department’s life infinitely easier: focus on the customer experience.

The customer experience begins long before a potential customer even realizes they have a problem or that your product is the solution. This is where branding is key: clear positioning of what your company provides, creatively and consistently articulated, creates the awareness needed to make sure your product is on the shortlist when it comes time to research solutions. It also ensures that when your salespeople call, the first question on the other line isn’t “Who?”

B2B companies want to do business with a leader, but leadership isn’t a product attribute. Leadership is something that must be demonstrated, over and over again. To become a leader in the product marketplace, you must become a leader in the mental marketplace of your customers. And just as no one follows the quiet guy in the corner, you need to make some noise to let people know who you are, what you believe in and why others should believe in you.

Once a potential client enters the sales funnel, the marketing department must still keep their focus on the customer experience. This doesn’t just mean creating sales brochures and landing pages; it’s about sustaining a true understanding of your customers. Marketing shouldn’t just talk. They need to listen: not only to what your customers have to say about your company and its products, but also to what they have to say about the industry, their personal challenges and the challenges of their own customers. Marketing must then bring this intelligence back to your engineers, product developers and executives to make certain the customer is represented in the development and delivery of the product.

Finally, marketing ensures that the customer experience continues to be delivered after the sale. Just as the B2B sales process is driven by relationships, marketing can be used to consistently nurture and engage with customers post-sale at scale, delivering the leadership positioning and the relevant content needed to help them get the most out of your brand. This in turns fosters the recommendations and referrals the sales teams rely on for gaining new leads.

Don’t sell the customer experience short. Good will, positive impressions and reputation all play a role in a company’s positioning as a leader. Everyone has a part, not just one department.

By improving the customer experience before, during and after the sale, marketing can give sales the secret weapon they need to start making the sale long before they ever pick up the phone.

About the Author: David has built his career around aligning marketing and sales teams and moving them forward in one cohesive direction under one unified company goal. “Grow always, in all ways” is the motto he lives by, and his passion around developing marketing strategies that are tied directly to revenue has been successful with start-ups to Fortune 500s.




A Metrics-Driven Marketing Approach Helps Us Win More Customers

Andrea GilbertBy Andrea Gellert, Chief Marketing Officer, OnDeck

When you ask non-marketers what we do, you’ll likely hear things that focus on creative development like designing ads, choosing colors and fonts, and doing focus groups. While we certainly do those things and they are an important part of our responsibilities, there’s a lot more to marketing than most people think. Ultimately marketers are responsible for communicating to their prospects and customers, and doing so in a way that delivers positive ROI.

Blending creativity with metrics is critical to being a successful marketer today. Much has been written about the link between the CMO and the CIO, and based on my own experience I am 100% convinced that marketers who refuse to see their teams as data-driven organizations run the risk of becoming irrelevant in today’s marketplace.

Jeff Allen, a Senior Director at Adobe Analytics, compares the importance of data-driven marketing to Michael Lewis’ book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, which articulated how taking a more metrics-driven approach in baseball essentially changed how the sport was managed.

“What’s the ‘one metric to rule them all’ in your organization?” asks Allen. “What’s your end goal metric? Is it revenue or is it bookings? In sports it’s winning. Beane knew if he could improve his team’s on-base percentage and hitting, he could win more games. If you win you’ll have all the success that’s possible.”

“You manage what you measure” is an old management adage, and keeping this in mind has certainly been something I’ve gone back to often because it’s human nature to improve what you measure.

Taking Metrics to the Next Level

I think marketers’ end-goal metric has always been to understand and communicate with their best customers. Fortunately, the data we have at our fingertips today makes it possible to identify these customers and communicate with them effectively about our brand, our products, and the value we provide.

1.  Data and Models: Customer data helps us model behaviors and recognize traits our best customers share—helping us build personae that inform how and when we talk to customers as well as the things we talk to them about. This allows us to focus our marketing efforts where we’ll likely have the most success and on the businesses that will be more likely to reap the most value from what we offer. It helps us identify and focus our marketing messages within the channels they use to explore options and make choices. This approach makes our marketing messages more compelling generally and the data tells us where we’re the most effective as well as where we need to improve.

2.  Marketing Automation: There’s a lot we can automate these days, from email communications based on data and behavioral triggers, to re-targeting methods, to programmatic marketing on content sites. Marketing automation helps us save time and maximize internal marketing resources. It also keeps us focused on who we’re talking to and what marketing messages we’re presenting. Finally, it allows us to measure, evaluate, and adjust, which keeps us relevant.

3.  A Focus on Content: Because small business lending has changed so much over the last few years and business owners have more options than ever before—we focus a lot of energy on education so business owners can make informed decisions about the type of financing that would be a good fit for their particular business. Our content efforts allow us to have a more inclusive and meaningful dialog with our customers and receive feedback, questions, and comments that help us know what information they need to make decisions. I believe an educated borrower is a good borrower and a better customer—even if they aren’t a good fit for what we’re offering.

I’m convinced a metrics-driven approach to marketing makes us better at what we do. It makes us more effective as a marketing team, and it enables us to provide more value to our customers.

 About the Author: Andrea Gellert serves as OnDeck’s Chief Marketing Officer, having led marketing at the company since November 2012. Prior to joining OnDeck, Ms. Gellert was Vice President of Client Services and Operations at Group Commerce Inc., an e-commerce platform for publishers, from September 2011 to October 2012. From July 2008 to September 2011, Ms. Gellert served as Vice President, Customer Experience and Retention, OPEN at American Express Company, a multinational financial services company. Ms. Gellert holds an A.B. in History and Literature from Harvard College, magna cum laude, and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. 

 




#YourCustomerROI Twitter Chat (Sept. 8)

image640x480Join #YourCustomerROI Twitter chat to learn how to adopt a more customer-centric company culture. Knowing what customers really want is your competitive edge. Join Wendy Glavin, 20-year marketing communications, PR, social and digital media founder and CEO, Wendy Glavin and David Berkowitz, founder of the Serial Marketer.

To participate log on to Twitter and follow the #YourCustomerROI, or you use a tool like Tweetchat.com which allows you to tweet directly into the chat with the hashtag and shows you all the tweets from other participants.

How does determining your core value increase your ROI?

Gallup’s 2016 analysis found that countless B2B and B2C companies say they have a customer-centric culture. But Gallup finds few do. In fact, B2B companies are at risk of losing more than two-thirds of their customers, only 29% of B2B customers are fully engaged — that is, emotionally and psychologically attached to the companies they do business with. The other 71% of customers are ready and willing to take their business elsewhere. It is no longer enough for companies to view the world from their vantage point. Learn how to create a customer-centric model by putting your customer at the core of everything.

Wendy and David will answer questions about how to create a customer-centric model by putting your customer at the core of everything. Learn what customers demand in our “always on, always connected” mindset. Wendy is offering a free consultation on #B2B #contentmarketing #strategy #socialmedia, #digitalmedia #strategy #publicrelations. Follow Wendy at @wendyglavin. Follow David at @dberkowitz

Join the #YourCustomerROI Twitter chat Thursday Sept. 8 at 12 pm ET / 9 am PT.

 

 

Twitter chat discussion questions include:

Q-1: Good brands have high satisfaction ratings but that’s not enough. Why?

Q-2: Why do brands that make an emotional connection have a competitive edge?

Q-3: How do brands make an emotional connection? What tactics have you used to build credibility and trust?

Q-4: In our competitive marketplace, how do you differentiate a brand?

Q-5: What types of content are best for driving engagement?

Q-6: How can businesses determine the value of their product or service? What are some of the elements of value?

Q-7: What are some of elements that determine value? How does psychology help us identify needs?

Q-8: What are KPI’s that influence brand value? 

Q-9: Customers believe digital companies offer higher value. Why?

Q-10: How can you improve customer relationships? What are the key drivers of collaboration?

Q-11: How do data and metrics help generate revenue?

About Our Hosts

Serial MarketerDavid Berkowitz, currently the principal of marketing consultancy Serial Marketer, most recently served as Chief Marketing Officer at MRY, a creative agency within Publicis Groupe. Prior to joining MRY in 2013, he spent seven years leading emerging media at Dentsu agency 360i, co-founding its social media practice and running its Startup Outlook initiative.  Career Highlights:

  • Trusted advisor to many of the world’s top brands
  • 10+ year agency veteran as innovation lead
    and CMO
  • Penned >500 columns for Ad Age, eMarketer, VentureBeat, MediaPost, Mashable
  • Speaker at >300 events across five continents, including keynotes at Google, Coca-Cola, Cox, and Canon
  • Launched pilots connecting Kraft, H&R Block, MegaRed, Bravo and other brands with emerging startups
  • Lecturer at NYU, Yale, MIT, Rutgers, General Assembly

 

Wendy GlavinWendy Glavin is the Founder and CEO of Wendy Glavin, a full-service agency. Her 20-year marketing, communications and public relations career began at General Electric in internal communications. Next, Wendy joined the agency world at Elkman Advertising and Public Relations, and Burson Marsteller.

With a solid business-to-business (B2B) traditional and corporate background, Wendy wanted a new challenge and founded a small-business importing jewelry from France. Wendy learned the importance of focusing on customer needs, from purchasing and packaging to merchandising and selling. She gained new insights into branding within the business-to-consumer (B2C) sector.

Always wanting to stay ahead of marketing and business trends, Wendy added social and digital media marketing to the mix at Katz Creative publishing, Digital Pomegrante software and BIGfrontier Communications Group. Wendy’s strategic branding counsel originates from her work in diverse industries, specifically: technology, software, mobile apps, financial services, financial technology, supply chain, crowd funding, publishing, economic development, community outreach, fashion, jewelry, health and wellness and entertainment.

 




7 Customer Retention Strategies with Digital Signage

By James Derrick

Digital signageAfter your marketing skills have attracted numerous customers, retaining them is usually very cumbersome. Sometimes, serving a huge number of people will lead to dissatisfaction among the customers themselves. Finding a way to keep them comfortable in the waiting line will become mandatory. Listed below are the strategies for retaining clients using digital signage.

Benefits of your products

Never fail to remind your customers about the benefits of using your products. If the benefits are convincing, the consumers will not mind spending time in the store to be served. Get the information that sounds appealing to a majority of the consumers. Use it in making the advertisements. That will enhance the retention of consumers.

Focus on the brand

It is obvious that you have competitors in the market. To survive the adversities caused by competition, it is necessary to focus on marketing your brand. By taking time to unveil to the customer more about your brand, you will enhance customer loyalty. Branding also creates a distinction between you and your competitors. Strive to position your brand highly to your customers.

Great theme and attractive colours

Having a theme for your business is a very great idea. When the consumers see those theme colours, they will be reminded of your business. However, the colours used in making the theme ought to be highly attractive. There is no doubt that customers tend to be attracted to good things. The pricing and the product might be good but poor theme colours might keep them away.

Great quality pictures

Whenever you are using pictures, be keen about the quality that is displayed on the screens. Pictures come in different qualities. The qualities differ based on the type of camera that was used to capture them. Pictures of low value tend to be extremely boring and they cannot capture the attention of the customers. Thus, they will only lead to loss of customers instead of retaining them.

Use entertainment

While the customers are busy shopping, it is imperative to make them fascinated by making their shopping experience great. The use of entertainment will eradicate boredom for the shoppers. It will take creativity to come up with highly interesting content to entertain the consumers. By adding excitement to their shopping experience, you will retain them.

Make them comfortable

It is vital to mind the comfort of the customers. Not all content will make the customers comfortable. The type of content placed on the adverts should be family-friendly. Be mindful of those customers that go shopping with their children. Make the content meaningful for them to watch with their children. Cautiously examine your video content properly.

Mind the traffic/monitoring lines

The most common mistake that most retailers do is being caught unawares by the numerous customers. It is important to prepare in advance for the coming countless consumers. That will enable you to know the advertisement that will suit them all to retain them. As a manager, you must monitor the lines to know when clients are many and when they are few. This enables planning in advance.

Position of the store

You must examine the position of the store first before knowing where to place the screens. The screens ought to be visible to every customer that enters your store. You will have a higher chance of retaining all the customers when they are able to see the digital signage. Make certain that customers can view your advertisements from any angle.

Show endorsements from satisfied customers

Some of the consumers need assurance that your products and services are the best. The only way to convince them totally is by using the experiences of your past customers. The testimonies of your previous clients about the greatness of your products and services are highly effective. The satisfaction of those clients will make the prospective customers patient.

Simplicity

The message that is passed across to the customers ought to be very simple and clear. The idea of the content is to address the needs of the customers directly. That will be impossible if the content is complicated for the consumers to understand. Understand that not all of your consumers are learned. Use simple language so that all your target customers, regardless of their dialect, will understand.

Quality of the content

It is not a guarantee that all content displayed will be effectual. It is essential to invest both time and financial resources in making a great content. Sometimes it is even advisable to get the assistance of marketing experts. Most of the marketing specialists are very creative when it comes to creating attractive content. Their assistance will make your promotional adverts extremely effective.

Connection with clients

Try to find means by which the content displayed will be able to connect with the customers. The consumers will only visit your store to get a product that will satisfy a particular need. The most tranquil way of connecting with the clients is using their needs in the advertisement. This is possible by having adverts that address their current needs while offering products as solutions.

Charges

The prices charged for the products have the capability of either scaring the customers away or retaining them. Clients always look for cheaper options in the market. That enables them to save more money on the purchases they make. By charging extremely high prices, you will be scaring away both your current and potential clients. Be fair in your pricing and constantly offer discounts.

Opinion of customers

It is a great idea to maintain close interaction with your customers. It is through these interactions that you will know their opinions regarding your services. Through the display screen, you can highlight contacts which customers can use to reach you. Through the contacts, they can share their complaints. The complaints can be used to improve service delivery.

Commitment to quality

By maintaining the quality of service delivery and dedication to improve it, customers will never depart from your store. Make sure that every promise on quality displayed on the screen is delivered. Customers will flee when their expectations are not met

 About the Author: James Derrick is an experienced retailer that has been using digital signage to retain his wide customer base.

 

 




Simple Strategies that Will Help Improve Customer Retention

By Derek Iwasiuk, CEO, engagethecrowd.com

Bringing in new customers to your business is hard, but retaining them is even harder. It is much easier to lose new customers. This is why you have to pay special attention to customer retention. The difference between successful businesses and the ones that fail is the amount of customer lifetime value.

Simple Strategies that Will Help Improve Customer Retention - 1

Customer lifetime value is the total amount of dollars that individual customers are worth to your business. This is in relation to their purchases from the first day they start trading with you until the last day. Customer lifetime value is very important, hence the need to pay more attention to customer retention. When your customers are happy, they will do more business with you thereby increasing their customer lifetime value. But how exactly do you keep customers from leaving?

Keep the Customers Happy

Simple Strategies that Will Help Improve Customer Retention - 2

The first rule of increasing customer retention is to keep your customers happy. Needless to say, if customers are not happy with the products and services you offer, they will soon leave. So, how can you keep the customers happy?

  1. Track customer satisfaction

You cannot tell whether a customer is happy or not by just looking at how many times they do business with you. To get accurate information on customer satisfaction, you need net promoter score surveys. This should ask two crucial questions:

  • How likely are you to recommend this product or service to a friend?
  • What is the most important reason for the score?

The promoter score surveys are based on a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 not likely and 10 is extremely likely. The closer the scores are to the 0 mark, the more likely the customer is dissatisfied. Those who respond with 9 or 10 are your promoters whereas the passive customers will give a score of 7 or 8.

  1. Proactive support

Most of your customers who are not happy with your product or service will not tell you directly. A study by Lee Resources International concluded that on average, if you have one customer complaining about a problem, there are 26 other customers who have the same issue and will probably leave. This means you have to be proactive. Never ignore any one complaint from a customer.

  1. Offer great customer service

The main reason why most customers leave is because of poor customer service. People are more likely to promote a business that offers great customer service. Great customer service needs to be the norm of your business if you want to increase customer retention.

Reduce Customer Effort 

According to the Harvard Business Review, the greatest factor in customer retention is not wowing them but rather reducing their effort. You need to make life easier for your customers if you want them to stick with you longer.

  1. Be easy to find

Simple Strategies that Will Help Improve Customer Retention - 3

Your business should be easy to find. This is regardless of whether you run an online business or have a single store in the city. Make the effort of making it easy for your customers to find you. The Internet is the #1 search resource when someone is seeking a new product or service, so strong SEO for your business is vital.

  1. Speed up purchase process

How many clicks do your customers need to make in order to complete a purchase? The more the number of clicks it takes to go through the online purchase process, the higher the chances of your customers leaving. The same goes for the signup process. If it takes too long for them to complete the signup process, they will leave you.

Increase customer retention by speeding up the purchase and signup processes. The more you ask of your customers, the higher their chances of leaving you.

  1. Make it easy to contact you

When customers need help or want to ask a question, they are definitely not having a perfect experience. Do not worsen their day by making it even harder for them to contact you. The simplest way to increase customer retention is to make it incredibly easy for your customers to get in touch with you. Have a support widget on all your web pages.

Your business should also be active on all major social media platforms. This will improve socialization with your customers.

  1. Educate your customers

The worst thing you can do when running a business is to only provide your customers with promotional content. This will bore them. Your focus should be on educating your customers. This shows them that you care about them and they will be more compelled to stick with you. This helps the customer feel nurtured.

All your efforts should be aimed towards making your customers happy. Provide them with better products and always be there to answer their questions. When customers feel valued, they will stick with you.

About the Author: Derek Iwasiuk runs a firm that offers SEO services. He is focused on helping startups and small business build a better relationship with their clients. Learn more about it at engagethecrowd.com or you can connect with him on twitter @Diwasiuk. 

 

 




MyNewsNow! Mobile App from Universal Information Services

Universal Information Services Enhances Suite of Media Monitoring Services with New Mobile App!

Omaha, NE, June 20, 2016 – Universal Information Services, a leading provider of media monitoring and measurement to clients nationwide, today announced a new mobile app, MyNewsNow! allowing subscribers to manage media coverage 24/7.

MyNewsNow! is the industry’s newest mobile application for monitoring media coverage across all media types. Universal has put the power of news into the palm of the hand so subscribers can track TV, radio, web, social and print media. 

Available today, MyNewsNow! includes remote access to see, measure, and share key stories from all media types within a single interface. Features include the ability to view, read and link directly to each story and easy access to metrics and analysis charts/graphs. Client users can work with their news coverage 24/7 on both Android and iOS devices, eliminating delays in responding to critical news events!

“We understand that PR and Marketing professionals are mobile, often working onsite or away from the office. MyNewsNow! allows our subscribers to manage their most recent coverage anytime, anywhere,” said Todd Murphy, Universal Information Services Vice President.

Public Relations Teams will be able to respond quickly to crisis or other swiftly changing situations, because users can review traditional media coverage and respond to social media immediately, which is especially important while off-site.

Universal designed this mobile app based on a simple and easy interface, an approach suggested by trusted clients and proven solid in beta testing. Innovative design, intuitive interface, rich data, and simplicity in sharing results set Universal apart from competitors.

MyNewsNow mobile news monitoring appMobile App from Universal Information Services

 

About Universal Information Services

Universal Information Services provides a comprehensive set of media monitoring services to corporations, government agencies, public relations professionals, non-profits and other organizations. With real-time customer service, customizable reports, unlimited access to media archives and a comprehensive media contact database, Universal delivers innovative solutions that provide insight on the reach, impact and effectiveness of our clients’ public relations efforts. For more, visit universal-info.com.




Gary Vaynerchuk Says The Customer Is Always Right As Long As You Want Their Money

Gary Vaynerchuk Says The Customer Is Always Right As Long As You Want Their MoneyBy Gary Vaynerchuk

For some context, I grew up in a retail store where we would have 100s, and eventually 1,000s, of people come through the store every day and buy product. Transaction after transaction, I heard the phrase “the customer is always right.” I also heard it on the news and television and who the heck knows where else. Oddly, it’s a motto that my dad never imposed on me, but I slowly understood what it meant and it’s something that I’ve always believed in. It was a mantra that became the backbone for Wine Library’s growth.

Even when I had a customer who was irrational, unprofitable, or downright emotionally difficult, there was something that was inside of my gut, my DNA, that never allowed me to waiver from “the customer is always right.” It’s an attitude that I practiced and it’s a belief that I thought was pretty commonplace in the sales world.

Over the last few years growing Vaynermedia, I have observed a behavior that has really taken me aback. I have seen it with some of my employees (luckily only a few), many of our other agency partners, platform partners, representatives from the Facebooks and Twitters of the world, television media buyers, and really the entire ecosystem of the agencies that service the biggest brands; there is an enormous amount of complaining about the customer. These complaints about the client range from “unfair deadlines,” to “too many requests,” to “emotional swings,” to “always changing their minds.” And those are just a few.

I find this fascinating because as a client service provider, whether you’re the 600+ digital agency with Fortune 500 clients or selling a bottle of wine to a local customer, you are more than welcome and more than capable of firing your customer. Yes, firing.

What I mean by this is that the customer is always right as long as you expect and want their money. If you don’t care about their money or their business, then the customer can absolutely be wrong. For example, I’ve fired clients when it’s negatively affected the people who are my “family” (my company) that I value more than the client itself.

But, if you’re asking someone to pay you money that you want, they have the right to put demands on your time and resources and have you pander to them. On the other hand, you’re more than welcome to not accept those terms. But, accepting those terms and then crying about it has become a massive vulnerability in the B2B space.

The Customer is Always Right

I’m writing this article very simply for two sets of people: (1) for the 7-8 employees at VaynerMedia who I think cry too much about customer requests and don’t realize there are 50 betters ways of handling the situation other than crying about it. You’re more resourceful than that.

(2) For the rest of you who consume this article, you are more than welcome to not do business with anyone you don’t want to, especially if their demands are not worth the time and effort. But, realize that you’ll have to deal with the ramifications of what they’ll say or what will happen in return.

You have to think hard about it. Sometimes there’s value in retaining a client or customer and you just have to overlook that one difficult project or sale.

Before you complain, remember that the one who pays has the leverage.

Article originally appeared here.

 




Taking Social Listening Beyond Customer Care

Paige LeidigBy Paige Leidig, CMO, NetBase

The potential of social media extends far beyond customer service and reputation monitoring. With real-time access to audience data and trends, successful brands are doing more than just listening in – they’re opening up the conversation. Here’s how:

Driving innovation

Social media sentiment analysis allows brands to identify consumer pain points and respond with innovative solutions. By listening to the comments consumers make online – about industry trends in general, and also about specific brands – businesses can shape their product offerings to maximize profit.

NetBase was among the select companies that Forrester invited to participate in its 2016 Forrester Wave™ evaluation, Forrester Wave: Enterprise Social Listening Platforms, Q1 2016, stating: ” Our platform was praised by an independent research firm for its “advanced entity-level sentiment analysis that gives clients a deeper understanding of how consumers speak about their products or brands – including emotional and behavioral indicators.”

We’re always happy to know we’re on the right track, but here’s why it matters: These behavioral indicators provide information about what drives purchases and – equally important – what holds consumers back. Leveraging this data and using it to inform solutions allows brands to achieve a competitive edge.

Informing cross-channel campaigns

And this data can be used across all marketing channels – i.e., what happens on Twitter does not have to stay on Twitter. Gathering data from social listening allows brands to quantify the thoughts and experiences of consumers, and this data is invaluable when it comes to informing omni-channel marketing campaigns.

Social media does not exist in isolation. The people behind the Twitter accounts are also the people interacting with TV commercials and engaging with (or discarding) direct mail campaigns. Monitoring real-time reactions goes beyond hashtag usage: brands can analyze sentiment around ideas, movements, and buzzwords, and then refine that data based on psychographics.

The bigger picture is made up of tiny pieces, and analyzing audience micro-segments is the only way to see it. Brands now must look for common interests among social users and speak to consumers about their interests personally.

Becoming consumer-centric

It isn’t just Millennials that expect a consumer-centric approach to marketing – although the messaging-based technology they use may be driving this evolution. Chat bots are starting to look like the future of social selling, and provide a good indication of the level of brand/life integration that consumers expect.

In exchange for their loyalty, consumers want their interactions with brands to integrate seamlessly into their lives. They understand they hold the power, and won’t jump through hoops for a service they can easily get elsewhere. This isn’t a race to the bottom – it’s a race to become the most flexible.

Brands that succeed in this climate must be willing to adapt to the individual preferences of consumers. Rigidity is fragile, and leads to shattered relationships between brands and customers. With social listening, brands can be more receptive – and responsive – to these needs.

Managing risk

Social listening can help inform when not to weigh in, as well. This is a vital skill in risk management, but without complete data, brands can only gamble and hope for the best. Identifying topical and emotional trends as they’re emerging is critical.

When applied to risk management, these tools help marketers make informed decisions about potential crises, and understand why a particular audience segment is responding negatively to a topic.

This paves the way for sensitive and compassionate responses, while allowing marketers to maintain awareness of the emotional and behavioral reactions of other audience segments. Keeping consumers happy can be something of a juggling act – what delights one audience can quite easily upset another, and so monitoring all segments simultaneously is vital.

In a sense, taking a consumer-centric approach to marketing is all about customer care – just not in the traditional, siloed, strictly problem-solving way. Using social listening to monitor emotional and behavioral indicators allows brands to engage with consumers in a way that’s considerate, conversational, and conducive to better brand experiences. If that’s not customer care, what is?

About the Author: Paige Leidig is an enterprise software executive sharing insight around strategy, marketing, innovation, media and influencer relations – and tactics needed to excel at each. He is CMO at NetBase, a leading enterprise analytics platform. 




Trending This Week 2.12.16 – Turn a Potential Customer into a Valentine; Marketing Lessons From Romantic Movies; Role of the CEO in Communications

CommPRO-Trending-This-WeekIn today’s Executive Briefing we learn How to Turn a Potential Customer into a Valentine from Drew Wilson, Account Supervisor, HCK2 Partners.  We also learn Marketing Lessons From the Top 10 Romantic Movies.

As we begin 2016 and start our sixth year of publishing CommPRO, I’d like to take a moment to thank our loyal readers and partners for their continued support. We hope our new readers enjoy CommPRO and welcome your feedback and suggestions so we continue to provide a unique and relevant service. You can reach me at: fay@commpro.biz.

Click here to view today’s post.




How to Turn a Potential Customer into a Valentine

Drew-WilsonBy Drew Wilson, Account Supervisor, HCK2 Partners

As we prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day, love is in the air.

Well…at least we seem to think.

Despite being created to observe Christian martyrs, the February holiday has become synonymous with affection and love, but Cupid’s most obvious impact might just be spending.

NerdWallet projects the average person in a relationship will shell out $196 this Valentine’s Day, with total spending expected to near $20 billion. To put that in perspective, we are going to spend more on flowers, chocolates and jewelry than the Gross Domestic Product of nearly EIGHTY countries!

The cynics among us, myself included, can’t help but marvel, but there is no argument – we’ve fallen in love with Valentine’s Day. However, rather than looking on in awe, the astute marketing and communications professional should be studying.

13158751_sIn the most basic sense, our job is to make customers, whether consumers or businesses, fall in love with our products and/or services. So, how can your company captivate your target audiences like Hallmark, Russell Stover and De Beers do each Valentine’s Day?

Follow the three recommendations below and your company might just become everyone’s favorite Valentine.

Who are we kidding? You need to look attractive!

We are surface level and our eyes are the initial gatekeepers. Your company only has a fraction of a second to make a positive impression – literally. Furthermore, 90% of buying decisions are influenced by visual factors, and 46% of people agree that a website’s design is the #1 criteria for company credibility.

So why is it a surprise that companies can’t sell when they are using Clip Art in sales presentations and their website looks like it was made using Flash in 1998? For a company to succeed, they must look the part.

A website and marketing materials are a company’s first impression, and you don’t often have a salesperson on hand to explain your products and/or services. Not that it would matter – your potential customers have probably already made up their minds.

They are OK, but what do my friends think?

In the interconnected and “always on” modern world, potential customers have all the information they need to make a decision at their fingertips. As it turns out, they are using it. More than 80% of customers research products and/or services before making a purchase.

So, once your website and marketing materials are in place, how does your company stand out? Well, just as in dating, potential Valentines don’t want to hear you talk about how great you are. On the other hand, they are extremely interested in what other people are saying about you.

Turn back the clock to college, and you might remember a class you skipped about the “Agenda-Setting Theory.” Now, before I lose you, this theory is just a fancy way of saying that the media tells the public what to think about.

Since the media has the power to influence potential customers, companies needs to focus on telling their story through a proactive public relations campaign. By working directly with the media to establish third-party credibility, a company can make sure they get a seal of approval from “the friends.”

Wow, this might be a long-term relationship.

You’ve already sold them…or at least come very close. Turn your Valentine into the real-deal, long-term relationship through communication.

Companies now have the unprecedented ability to communicate directly with their customers using social media. The antiquated megaphone approach is no longer accepted.

Listening and engaging can turn casual customers into brand loyalists, which can mean big business. A study recently found up to 79% of people said they were more likely to recommend a brand they follow on social media.

Plus, don’t forget the #1 cause of divorce is lack of communication. Doing social media “well” isn’t simple, but the real-time platforms offer unmatched access and insights that will allow you to take a walk down the aisle with your Valentine.

What about us single folks?

When all else fails, create a holiday. Don’t get me started on Christmas.

 About the Author: Drew Wilson is an Account Supervisor with HCK2 Partners, one of the largest integrated marketing and communications firms in Dallas. As the primary contact for local and national accounts, Drew leads teams in strategic communications planning, campaign implementation and goal-oriented evaluation. You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter @drewwilson12




Surrounded by Tech, We Can’t Forget About Human Contact

Surrounded by TechLiz Finch, Customer Success Manager at PRophet

Technology is a beautiful thing, but in healthy moderation.

In the two-plus years since the COVID-19 pandemic shifted how we work, learn and live, using technology in moderation has become an ideal of the past for many of us. Endless video calls, a constant stream of emails, a symphony of notifications – our tech follows us everywhere we go.

As we navigate this new world with more technology at our fingertips than ever before, we’d be remiss to not note the many advantages of this continued tech boom. The global expansion of remote and hybrid work granted new opportunities to people who were incapable of moving to metropolitan areas to work in an office five days a week, including parents with young children, people with disabilities and those who prefer living in rural areas. Remote and hybrid learning has also become more accessible — particularly higher education. Convenient communication tools like Zoom and Slack have allowed people around the world to remain closely connected despite distance, particularly in maintaining progress for businesses. Across industries, business owners are taking advantage of automation tools such as chat bots to increase efficiency and improve customer service, filling gaps left by the pandemic.

Such advances in technology are exciting, making possible new ways of life in many cases. However, as our reliance on technology continues to know no bounds, we run the risk of becoming detached from how we interact as humans, and subsequently, how we work together.

The past two years have illuminated the minute details of daily work life that were once taken for granted — from enjoying coffee with colleagues to talking through ideas in-person. After COVID limited face-to-face interactions for much of the world, many are eager to return to offices with greater regularity.

Human contact still matters in business. Human contact still matters in delivering quality customer service. And it still matters in maintaining relationships. No matter how powerful or omnipresent technology has become, human connection is still the driving force behind the most important aspects of our lives.

However, it doesn’t have to be one or the other — in addition to human contact, tech can still play a strong, supporting role in business, customer service and relationships. For example, while some might see AI as a threat to job security, many workers across disciplines have found that AI tools actually help them work more efficiently. While chat bots might not always be as good as talking to a real person, they are still a viable option for prompt customer service — especially considering the staffing challenges that came with COVID.

But do we want to fully rely on technology for work and communication? Its capabilities for communication are clear, but so are its shortcomings. When so many professionals rely on a given platform day in and day out, servers can be overwhelmed. We’ve all witnessed numerous outages across major platforms like Zoom, disrupting business as usual. And when other types of technical issues are thrown into the mix, it only complicates communications.

Above all else, though, one of the biggest threats of tech reliance is letting our five senses slip by. As stimulating as technology has become, the virtual world pales in comparison to actually seeing, touching, hearing, smelling or tasting something in person. We can’t forget that we’re real humans with real instincts and emotions — not robots.

Moving forward, it’s essential that we remember the importance of human contact while still embracing the advantages of technology, utilizing it to make our world a better, more efficient and more connected place. As technology isn’t going anywhere, we need to maintain a healthy relationship with it so we don’t miss out on the moments that make the human experience so special. 


PRophet is the first-ever A.I.-driven platform, built by and for PR professionals, to use a proprietary combination of natural language processing and machine learning to predict media interest and story sentiment before you ever send a pitch.


About the Author: Liz has a strong background in client/customer success and business development while working in sales in NYC for the past 8+ years. She has blended her experience in sales and public relations to work with PRophet, an AI powered PR platform to transform and disrupt the current PR/tech industry.




5 Strategies Businesses Should Emulate from Etsy Sellers

5 Strategies Businesses Should Emulate from Etsy Sellers

Photo from Pexels

Sierra Powell, Freelancer 

If you need to shop for unique goods such as handmade items, craft supplies, or vintage items, visit the Etsy website. You will be able to check out different items and order them online. However, you will not be buying the items from Etsy. Instead, you will be buying them directly from independent sellers popularly known as Etsy sellers. These sellers use different strategies that help them make a lot of profit. Below are some of these strategies.

Posting the Best Photos of Products on the Website

Etsy sellers understand that online buyers make visual decisions based on their needs, tastes, and the quality of the posted photos. That is why they post the best pictures of their products. When you look at these photos, you will notice that they are clutter-free, clean, and clear.

If you are an online seller, you need to emulate this strategy since the kind of photos that you post usually determine the number of products you sell. If possible, you should ensure that you take clear, vibrant, and colorful photos that will capture the attention of your potential customers. Professional photographers can help you take such photos. However, you should not post all the pictures at once.

Etsy Sellers Personalize Everything

One of the strategies that a business owner should emulate from Etsy sellers is product personalization. These sellers usually personalize everything from the ordered items to shipping boxes. They can also add handwritten notes and stickers to your package if you request. That is why many people prefer ordering gifts for their loved ones from Etsy.

If you emulate this strategy, you will generate more sales and increase your profit margin. You will also stand out from your competition without worrying about higher inventory costs. Your customers will also establish a long-lasting relationship with your brand since they will feel that you offer them your undivided attention.

Etsy Sellers Package Their Products Well

Another strategy that you need to emulate from Etsy sellers is good product packaging. These sellers usually package products well since they know that good product packaging secures an excellent first impression. They use quality packaging supplies for the products that need to be shipped. Some of these supplies are personalized and are attractive.

When you emulate this strategy, you will better protect the products that you are offering. Good product packaging will also help you promote your brand, attract buyers and stand out from your competition. However, you should ensure that your brand name is included in your packaging supplies and that these supplies are eye-catching.

Focus on Branding

Etsy sellers understand that branding helps sellers acquire customers easily. That is why they focus on ensuring that they are well-reputed and that their logos give more information about their businesses. For instance, Etsy sellers’ business cards, custom listing photos, and banners match the themes of their shops. That makes it easy for customers to identify certain sellers without doing a lot of research.

More people will start recognizing your brand when you emulate this strategy. More people will also begin to trust your business since it will appear legitimate and polished. To experience all these benefits, ensure that you create a business logo that defines your brand.

Etsy Sellers Offer Stellar Customer Service

Etsy sellers usually offer stellar customer service. For instance, they answer emails quickly and do not hide any information concerning their products. They also tell the truth when it comes to shipping turnaround time and offer refunds when required to. If you are a business owner, you should emulate this strategy to help you retain customers and increase sales. It will also help you get opportunities to upsell and cross-sell.

To offer the best customer service, you should be friendly to your customers and respond promptly to their inquiries. You should also listen to what your customers are saying concerning your products and services and thank them after purchasing your products.

Utilize these Strategies in Your Business

Etsy sellers usually sell unique items such as curated vintage, craft supply goods, and handmade items. They use different strategies that help them make the most out of their business. For instance, they offer stellar customer service, focus on branding, and personalize everything.

 




How to Promote Core Values in the Workplace

How to Promote Core Values in the Workplace

 

Figuring out the core values of your business or organization is not only necessary, it’s also vital. 

Your core values articulate, determine, and monitor the quality of your company culture since they act as your moral compass in business. Your core values should be always top of mind and your team should all be on board. It isn’t enough to just have a set of core business values on the company website if you aren’t going to stand behind those values and demonstrate the courage of your convictions. 

As the saying goes, put your money where your mouth is… or it’s all just lip service. 

Fake value systems cause ruptures in company culture and can end an organization. However, by outlining your initiatives and core values you can attract talent to your organization that thinks the way you do. This leads to better teams and decision-making. 

This results in a higher rate of staff retention, and you can attract top talent that is aligned with your core values. 

What are core values in business?

Business core values are the clearly stated principles about the organization’s vision. It sets out the mission in clear terms. The company’s core values are set so that everyone is aligned around a guiding philosophy that serves employees as well as customers and the broader community. They are the moral standards for behavior and the way of doing business that have been envisioned and clearly communicated by leadership. 

Company core values examples

Looking at some examples of core values in the workplace gives us a clearer understanding of how it affects the overall company culture as well as the team members of the organization. New employees must align themselves with the core values of the business when they join. This creates a holistic team approach. 

The core values of a company need to be properly thought through and set out. Things can change as time goes on, but hopefully the core values of the business remain steady throughout. An organization’s values will dictate how the company treats its workers and customers. 

Respect

Respect and Integrity are very valuable commodities when it comes to building trust in a company’s mission. With open and honest communication, you can inspire passion from your team members. Kindness and decency are naturally linked to this idea of treating others with respect. 

Social Responsibility

Making a difference in the world is one of the top issues people expect from a company or organization when it comes to the core values in their workplace. Help employees find meaningful ways to volunteer and get engaged in their local communities. Make it clear to all employees how the company fulfils its own Corporate Social Responsibility and contributes to societal goals of a philanthropic, activist, or charitable nature by engaging in or supporting volunteering or ethically oriented practices. 

Below is a list of some of the other most popular core values in business. 

  • Communication: Communication is very important to people. It connects us all. Community is built from communicating and the bottom line is that without it we are all poorer.
  • Diversity: Diversity and inclusion is being addressed all over the world and it needs to be rewarded and encouraged. More diversity in a team means more perspectives and possible solutions. Pair diversity with strong communication and decision-making skills and you create a team that can think on its feet and gets things done. Not only that, but it sends a strong message to the outside world that the company is committed to representing the interests of people from all walks of life.
  • Creativity: Creativity is a strong motivator. It drives us as humans. We create things and love to be part of teams that create things. It is hard-wired into us and it is a very important core value to have. It also suggests that your company has a strong desire to find new and beautiful ways to grow, find solutions, and think outside of the box. 
  • Customer Service: Looking after people means you are kind and caring. People like to work for a company that cares. It makes them feel safe and secure and like they are doing something good, rather than being a cog in a giant, cold, capitalistic machine. Contributing to the greater good is a natural and powerful urge. Making sure folks are happy is positive and that draws good people with the best intentions to you.
  • Quality: If you work for a company that is renowned for having great quality it makes you proud to work there. Conversely, if your products have a reputation of being defective or faulty you won’t be advocating their virtues to anyone. Quality can also refer to service and how you treat people. 
  • Learning: On-the-job learning means you get more out of the experience than just a paycheck. You get new qualifications and skills as well as experience. Team members get the chance to improve themselves by learning more about the field they have chosen. This impacts career advancement opportunities and can have an effect on the life-work balance. 

Why are core values important at work?

Strong core values give employees a shared sense of commitment, allowing them to rally behind a united cause. If you have a team that works together with passion, you generally find the organizational culture is of a high standard and the retention of staff has more longevity. This shows the importance of demonstrating values in the workplace. 

A set of values that is top priority for your team members means that the culture of the company is being cared for. The mission statement is being kept alive and the bigger, broader picture of making a difference is being felt. Harvard Business Review says that 80 percent of the Fortune 100 proudly state their values publicly. 

Paying lip service to core values isn’t enough. You need to promote and reinforce your values every day. The core values of your business should reflect your own unique culture and brand. 55 percent of all Fortune 100 companies claim integrity is a core value, 49 percent say they put customer satisfaction first. 40 percent say they rely on teamwork. 

Your organization has its own set of challenges, and you can’t compare companies unless it’s apples to apples. The old saying goes “Don’t compare your insides with someone else’s outside.” 

Your future depends on being able to form a value statement that drives your team forward with a clear conscience and a proverbial song in their heart. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, a remote work environment was rare. Now, people are used to working remotely and dealing with remote team members. 

It isn’t easy to “see” what their peers are doing every day. Setting an example is not as easy as sharing office space. Remote teams require you to check on accountability around core values more often. 

Values matter. Teamwork is bred by sharing the same values and goals. By clearly defining your values you will figure out ways to build accountability into them. This helps you and your team live the values, rather than just look at a list of nice ideas on a wall. By truly adhering to a core value system, you can start to build a culture of integrity and honesty. And this, in turn, will lead to trust and higher business results. to promoting core values in the workplace. Learn about company core values, how to implement & demonstrate them to employees.

 




The Beginners Guide to Cryptocurrency Payment Gateways 

Crypto for BeginnersBrian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing

We all heard about cryptocurrency and how it took over the world of day trading, but did you know that it has made it into day-to-day use? Some businesses have started accepting crypto as a virtual form of payment. It is quick, easy, and secure. Curious about how it works?

Read on for a beginner’s guide to cryptocurrency payment gateways

Cryptocurrency: What Is It? 

Cryptocurrency is the latest development in online or virtual transactions. Being a newer form of digital currency, you may think it would not be very secure. It is one of the fastest ways to make purchases online. 

Utilizing a secure form of cryptography cryptocurrency is not only a secure way to make transitions. It is a way to verify the ownership of coins and the transfer of coins from one person to another. 

Finally, a significant difference is that it is not reliant on a centralized authority, which means it does not need a bank or government to maintain it. 

What Makes Cryptocurrency Different? 

It is not too significant of a difference between cryptocurrency and other traditional-style forms of payment for transactions within the U.S. The big difference lies in international transactions. With traditional forms of payment, international transactions can take a long time to process. On top of this unfortunate loss of time, the transaction becomes less secure as it is passed through various forms of intermediaries. 

Since cryptocurrency is not reliant on a centralized authority, it does not have to pass through various forms of intermediaries. Ultimately, it significantly speeds up the process of international transactions while simultaneously making them much more secure. 

What is a Cryptocurrency Gateway?

How can my business accept cryptocurrency? It is simple with a cryptocurrency payment gateway. Like credit cards, cryptocurrency gateways are digital processors companies will use to accept cryptocurrency. When someone pays your company in crypto, your business will receive fiat money.

While there are other ways to accept cryptocurrency without a gateway, using a gateway is the most efficient and easy way to do it. Many businesses have already started implementing cryptocurrency gateways as transactional facilitators, but how exactly does it work? 

How Does it Work? 

Cryptocurrency gateway companies do a lot of the leg work for you to broaden your company’s ability to accept currency without having to add any personnel to your payroll. 

Essentially, when a customer pays you for something with an amount of cryptocurrency that is equal to the cost of your products based on the fair market value at the moment, the gateway will then convert their payment into any currency of your choosing. After that, they deposit the money into the bank account you gave them on the specific days of the month that you previously chose to have on your contract. 

Why You Need a Cryptocurrency Gateway

Cryptocurrency is quickly becoming a widely accepted form of currency around the world. With its speed, security, and ease, it is a no-brainer to at least consider implementing a gateway into your accepted forms of payments. Here are a few advantages to gateways that you should consider for your business. 

  • You do not have to know all about cryptocurrency. A gateway has that knowledge for you.
  • Customers can remain anonymous, which is why they like cryptocurrency.
  • While customers stay anonymous, you still have someone to turn to if things go wrong (the gateway).
  • The risk of losing money because of crypto payment is eliminated because the gateway always pays you based on the value of crypto at the time of the transaction.

Choose the Right One For You

Since cryptocurrency gateways are third-party companies, each company will offer slightly different features than another. So it is essential to choose the one that is right for you. Here are a few things to be on the lookout for. 

  • 24/7 service and customer service
  • Auto forward: Your payments automatically get transferred to your bank account 
  • Multi-coin wallet
  • Point of Sale cryptocurrency in-person transactions 
  • Cryptocurrency vault
  • Auto coin conversion

The Bottom Line 

Cryptocurrency is on the rise. With more and more people starting to use it every day, businesses have caught on and are beginning to accept it as a form of payment. It will be a widely accepted form of payment soon, and you do not want your business to be among the last to hop on board. So, learn a bit of crypto, implement a cryptocurrency payment gateway, and enjoy while your company sits at the forefront of a new movement of virtual transactions. 


Brian WallaceAbout the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.




The Connection Between CSR, Trust, and Company Culture 

The Connection Between CSR, Trust, and Company Culture

 

For the past 22 years, the Edelman Trust Barometer has tapped into the global attitudes towards trust in the media, government, and business. In the last ten years we’ve seen a radical shift from people with academic qualifications and people in positions of power to ‘someone just like me.’  

This year there’s been another big shift. Distrust is now society’s default emotion. Media and government institutions are feeding this eroding cycle of distrust through disinformation and division. One side effect of this climate of distrust is a greater expectation of business to step up and take a more active societal role. And people are making their voices heard:

  • 58 percent say they will buy or advocate for brands based on their beliefs and values
  • 60 percent will choose a place to work based on their beliefs and values
  •  64 percent will invest based on their beliefs and values

It’s time to take stock of your mission and values. Business must now be the stabilizing force delivering tangible action and results on society’s most critical issues,” said Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman. “Societal leadership is now a core function of business.”   

How to Build a Company Culture That Increases Trust

The culture of a workplace is determined by the conditions that collectively influence the work atmosphere in an office or workplace. These can include policies, norms, and unwritten standards for behavior, values and company philosophy, structure, motivation, and communication standards — as set by executives.

To a large degree culture is set by the yardstick of the behavior of the executives of a company. The attitude towards fellow colleagues and employees by managers and executives will trickle down into the attitudes of their juniors because they lead by example. Organizations with stronger cultures outperform their competitors financially and are generally more successful over the long term. 

People believe business is not doing enough to address issues such as climate change, economic inequality, workforce reskilling, and giving out trustworthy information.

If you’re not addressing these issues, see how you could put a program in place to do so. If you are already doing your bit, make sure that your stakeholders know what you’re doing. Audit your programs and see where you could improve. How effective are your CSR and DEI initiatives?  

Do all your stakeholders know what results you’ve achieved in the last year?

60 percent of employees want their CEO to speak out on controversial issues they care about, and 80 percent of the general population want CEOs to be personally visible when discussing public policy with external stakeholders or work their company has done to benefit society. Once that is done, look at all the areas that affect how your stakeholders perceive your company.

Build a Stronger Sense of Community

Whereas culture is a more general articulation of a company’s approach and internal philosophies on conducting business and how working conditions are affected as a result, community is more of a description of how the group of professionals working there feel toward one another. Community is a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you will all become best friends and spend every waking minute together at social gatherings outside of the office, but it certainly speaks to the level of camaraderie within the workplace. 

A great place to work has a feeling of family among the professionals working there — that’s the community we’re talking about. Of course, the company’s Culture contributes to this from the top down, including hiring practices and deciding who would be a good fit, but from there on, it’s firmly on the shoulders of the team to maintain and nurture that community. 

What contributes to a healthy community in a workplace? Communication is one area that holds up a strong community. If the professionals in an office mostly keep to themselves and the Culture of an office is to keep your head down and get your work done, there obviously won’t be much of a feeling of community there. On the other hand, if colleagues are encouraged to work together and communicate openly with one another, help one another in times of challenge and share in each other’s successes — you’re well on your way to developing a lively community. Communication is the tie that binds. 

Communication is the Key 

Communication is one of our most fundamental skills that make working together in any group, no matter the size, either a pleasant and productive endeavor, or a complete disaster. Whether it’s the customer service representative communicating with your consumers, or it’s an executive directing those professionals who work under him or her, communication is essential — and good, effective communication even more so. 

Unclear directions, wishy washy orders, barking aggressive answers or requests — these all add up to an unpleasant and unproductive environment. Whereas clear and kind communication, taking care to listen and understand what’s needed to get things done — that’s starting to sound more like a fun and productive place to work, isn’t it?

That’s not to say that things don’t ever get tense or stressful in a company. Sometimes it requires a great deal of urgency to get something done. Time can be of the essence and getting things done right the first time is absolutely a necessary skill in some positions. In some cases, lives depend on it. 

But effective communication is still needed, whether you have a week to complete a task or a minute. You can still have a sense of urgency, without being unkind. In the words of Steve Wozniak from the film “Steve Jobs” — “It’s not binary. You can be decent and gifted at the same time.”

Communication has a hand in every aspect of a workplace. From the transparency of management, to clearly stated job descriptions, acknowledging when good work is done, helping a colleague when they’re having trouble, chatting around the water cooler, or even making it safe for employees to talk with their higher-ups or HR. The whole machine falls apart without good and effective communication. 

This Trust Barometer report shines a light on the urgent need to examine your company beliefs, values, and policies. Also, how effectively you are at addressing the societal issues that are on people’s radar. Given the high percentage of people who are using this as a yardstick for picking a company to work for, buy from, or invest in, CSR is no longer just a public relations strategy – it needs to be a core function of business. It could have a direct impact on your bottom line. 

Read more about the 2022 Trust Barometer findings.

 




It’s Never Too Late: Do What You Want. Be Who You Want to Be

Wendy Glavin, Founder & CEO, Wendy Glavin Agency

Last year crystalized my vision to help others discover their true potential by looking back.  I’ve been doing this all throughout my life. Now, I have the tools to help you.

Your Background

Think about what you loved as a child. I’ll get you started by highlighting what was most important to me: playing with Barbie Dolls, catching butterflies, taking swimming and acting lessons (among others), becoming a lifeguard, and a camp counselor.

I dreamed of becoming a lawyer, like my dad, or an actress. I went to middle school with Kevin Bacon in Philadelphia and hung out with friends after school. And often, my grandmother took me clothes shopping and after, let me swim in her building’s rooftop pool.

What were your passions? 

Your Experiences

So, if you consider six degrees of separation, you’re likely to know someone with whom you may have forgotten. After majoring in acting in college for two years, my professors said I was too dramatic, which led me to obtain a degree in communications. 

I did take the LSAT, but my prosecutor dad said, “you’ll never win your case until you can see the other side…you’re more of a Norma Rae.”

My parents were all about tough love. After graduating, I worked at General Electric for roughly five years. Surrounded by engineers, scientists, and others in technology, I was hired by a full-service agency; my first account was a division of DuPont. 

After marriage, my husband and I moved to New York City. My previous boss recommended me to someone at Burson-Marsteller. While there, I managed a division of DuPont while my now-ex worked on Wall Street.

Throughout the years, we lived in the south of France; where my love of fashion and accessories led me to start a business importing jewelry from France to the U.S.

At the time, I learned about customer service; educating myself on what different types of women wanted. The business grew. Over time, my partner and I did shows for employees at magazines like Vogue, investment banks, law firms, hospitals and more.

Most importantly, I learned a lot (and continue to do so) from my three grown sons. Some twenty-years ago I traveled worldwide and had memorable experiences like ziplining in Costa Rica, boating in Corsica, touring Bilbao in Spain, and doing watersports in the Dominican Republic.

What experiences were significant to you?

Your Relationships

Most of us can name our friends, business colleagues, clients, and other connections from social media. But what I’m suggesting is for you to reflect on who was or has been significant to you throughout your life; whether you’re still in touch or not. 

For me, it’s my dad, my previous agency boss, several people with whom I knew in politics, a global marketing executive, an attorney, a book publisher, a global speaker, a digital marketing leader, a business consultant, a graphic designer, and my three boys.

Others include: a serial software developer of mobile apps, two startup founders, and many other leaders in technology, marketing, and social media.

What relationships have been particularly significant to you?

Weaving It All Together

When you carve out all the experiences you’ve had in your life, you’re able to look at yourself through a broader lens. The process I created with my team is called Decode Your Value.

You may have heard me discussing it in a video or during a live event. Or, if you’ve followed my articles on the subject, you’ve learned the importance of looking back to identify your core values and merging your professional and personal personas to seize opportunities instead of waiting for external events to change.

While recognizing your hard and soft skills is one way to categorize your strengths and weaknesses, life skills consist of what you’ve learned throughout your life. When you know what they are, you can incorporate them into your brand and your communications.

Recently, I began thinking about how I could illustrate the Decode Your Value method. This sparked a memory for me of hiking in a forest long ago with my family and getting lost. Everywhere we looked was the same; tall trees, colored leaves, fallen branches and rocks. We panicked and didn’t know how to find our way out of the woods.

Perhaps, this is how you feel because of or in spite of the pandemic. To help you make sense of the concept, here’s an illustration of my Life Skills tree below. The trunk represents my core values; the greenery are my notable life experiences; and the branches represent how the categories connect:

 

Here’s a Life Skills tree PDF that you can download and complete. If you need help, please reach out with your questions, ideas or comments. Like a patchwork quilt, create your own life tree and spread the word. Hopefully, this year, we’ll create a digital forest. 

Recently, I read an article in Inc. about the perfect age to start a business. Interestingly, it’s older than you think. Regardless of age, gender, location, and other self-limiting characterizations, you can do what you want to do. I’m not suggesting that you necessarily start a business or a startup, but it’s something to consider. 

Someone I know was furloughed. During this off-time, he chose to focus on a passion of his that he didn’t have time for in the past: writing. He used the time to self-publish a book, create a basic website (which he’d never done before), and ultimately release his work to the world. Now, he’s onto his second novel. 

As for me, the skills I learned in acting are still relevant: to get inside the head of the character in which you’re playing (know your customer) and use storytelling to deliver an experience.  My interest in law helps me understand other people, see both sides of a problem and work towards a mutual solution.

While in Paris, a friend taught me to look at the colors in nature and art to learn what goes together in fashion and décor. My inspiration comes from art museums, aquariums, beaches, the streets, culture and architecture. In fact, the colors of my website are from  photos of wild berries.

Another lesson is to build on your strengths. My interest in technology grew by reading, listening to others and covering events. Eventually, I became a published writer and a technology columnist.

As for law, I’m still considering getting a degree. After watching, “The Post,” Spielberg’s account of the Washington Post’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, I remember watching legal movies with my dad, like, “Inherit the Wind,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “12 Angry Men,” “Good Night. And Good Luck” and, “All the President’s Men.” We spoke about ethics, the importance of standing up for what we believe in and the Constitution.

At night, I enjoy watching Law & Order. While the episodes are not real, it’s interesting how evidence is collected to solve a case. Amazingly, last night, I was watching SVU and saw a childhood friend of my son’s sister on tv. She had been abducted. Only because I knew the girl, I stayed up late to see what happened (she was found).

Getting back to Kevin Bacon, years later, I drove his father to a radio interview and told him about the years watching him in school plays; an example of relationship-building.

I hope my article inspires you to think about your story since “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – Mark Twain


#SXSW - Wendy GlavinAbout the Author: Wendy Glavin is Founder and CEO of Wendy Glavin, a NYC full-service agency. Wendy is a 30-year veteran of corporate, agency, consulting and small business ownership. She specializes in B2B2C marketing communications, executive writing, PR and social media advisory. Her website is: https://wendyglavin.com/. Contact her at: wendy@wendyglavin.com




How Human Capital Management Solutions Can Help Your Biz

 

Regina Thomas, Freelancer

Human capital management (HCM) is a set of practices that organizations use to recruit and manage employees for the overall productivity of an organization. HCM transforms traditional human resources like recruiting, training, compensation, and performance management. For any business, attracting and nurturing the best talent is key. Managing and training the team is equally important. Many companies employ HCM software to help in undertaking these tasks. Let’s’ find out how these management solutions can help your business.

Improved Organizational Performance

HCM improves human resource practices, improves other practices and people management strategies that enhance organizational performance. The relationship between human capital management and HRM is that effective human capital management often requires effective human resource management practices like talent and workforce management. Market research shows that businesses that focus on the wellness of their employees, employee engagement, company culture, and development of their employees often outperform their competitors who don’t. An efficient recruitment process realizes the right talent. Proper and effective employee management, development, and engagement of employees improve employee satisfaction and performance, enhancing overall company performance in terms of customer service, operations, and revenue generation.

Effective utilization of human capital management solutions has also been shown to improve key performance indicators (KPIs), including employee turnover and work safety. Effective human capital management by employing human capital management software ensures the health and overall success of your business. This equips you to compete in this increasingly competitive world.

Identifies Capability Gaps

Identifying gaps in the capability of your workforce is an essential process. This enables you to identify training needs and helps in developing customized training development plans for your team. Larger capabilities gaps can be filled by resourcing for more talented and experienced individuals to help the organization achieve its goals and objectives.

Improve Organic Growth

Human capital management can help in identifying the individual competencies of your team. This is essential since it helps your senior management team optimize internal resources and boost productivity, improving organic growth. Human capital management invests in the growth and development of your employees, making them capable of delivering positive results.

Improves Performance Reviews

Human capital management systems provide a channel for monthly, quarterly, biannual, or annual employee reviews. They provide different assessments, including peer reviews, individual reviews, and manager reviews which provide employees with actionable feedback. Individual and peer reviews motivate employees to do more by providing actionable feedback.

Help in Hiring and Orientation of Talent

HCM provides tools that help HR position your organization as the best company to work for, thereby making attracting and hiring the best talent flawless.

Managing human capital is easier using these solutions, which help in onboarding new employees by introducing them to the company culture, processes, job requirements, and expectations. This allows employees to fit into their roles speedily.

Time-Saving and Accurate

Employing the use of HCM software helps businesses to save time. This software integrates all aspects of human capital management like payroll, recruiting, onboarding, development, training, etc. This makes the time taken to synthesize or process aspects like payroll less compared to when using spreadsheets. Every time a piece of information is handled and rekeyed in another system, the possibility of errors increases. Integration of all systems on one platform minimizes errors, thereby playing a crucial role in time-saving and accuracy.

Better Decision Making

Automation with an HCM system enables businesses to make better decisions based on employee data in the system. Integrated employee data such as performance reports, work reports, remuneration reports, and many more have empowered managers with speedy and more access to information than before. Management can also make better decisions about hiring than before since performance gaps can be identified using these tools.

Less Paper in the Office

Automation of HCM enables your work environment to be paper-free because almost all aspects of the business are handled using the HCM software. Striving towards a paperless office is attractive to employees who are passionate about the environment and save on costs. 

Conclusion

Human capital management software can help your business in many ways, including; better decision making, time-saving, talent attraction and onboarding improved organic growth, and improved performance reviews. These solutions also help businesses realize their bottom line, which is revenue generation.




Big Digital Marketing with a Small Budget

Jill KurtzJill Kurtz, Owner, Kurtz Digital Strategy

You can have effective marketing with a small budget. Here are five great – and inexpensive – marketing options you want to try.

Offer Great Content

The best marketing happens with great content. That means providing information that your target audience needs on your website, on social media and everywhere you are online.

Content can come in the form of videos, blog posts, social media posts, white papers, etc. The best content is about helping your customers and not selling. Share useful information that’s relevant to your customers and you’ll earn their trust and create a positive impression of your brand.

Use the customer service queries that you’ve received in the past as a way to get some content ideas. Pay attention to metrics to determine what content works best. Do more of that!

Optimize for Search Engine Visibility

You can spend a lot for SEO. In fact, many businesses do. However, search engine optimization doesn’t have to cost you anything except time. Optimize your website for search engines by researching which keywords customers use when they’re looking for products or services like yours. Once you determine your keywords, use them in your website content. Use your selected keywords in headlines, content, alt tags on images and meta descriptions.

Use Social Media

Social media platforms are great for getting attention for your content. Your business pages on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. are a great place to share your content. They should reflect your branding and always link to your website.

Make connections with your customers and target customers. Interact with them to learn what they care about and where you fit in.

List Yourself in Local and Industry Directories

Local search directories are typically free or low cost. Create business pages in search engines like Google and Bing! Claim your business listing in local search directories, such as Google My Business, Yelp and Bing Places for Business. Also pay attention to local community websites that feature business listings. Most industry professional associations also have directories. Get listed!

Get Reviews

More than eight in 10 American adults say they read reviews at least some of the time before making a purchase. Make sure your business is listed on important review sites for your industry and that your profile on these sites is complete and detailed.

Encourage your customers to review your business by including links to your review sites on your website and in your social media. Be sure to acknowledge all reviews that you receive.