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Trust is probably the most rare thing to win, in the battle of competition, where all offers seem similar and mainstream. And while there is crisis, increasing the need for security, truth and transparency, trust becomes an unavoidable fact and skill. But above all, the derivated effects on business are out of limits, when you know how mesure and class them into smart groups. Because, the more trust you give/put, the more you are opened to loyalty, and then addict to brand and consumption.

Bearing in mind these groups, means having dedicated actions, plans and tone to address and hold several kinds of relations, customized to reality of relation. Let’s have a look at these groups/segments and the fine tuning to get the best of them.

It’s interesting to capture all the intelligence and trust you can find on social networks. And the resources you can leverage to nurture the « social effect » until the snowball. Check at the profile you can pretend within the 4 frequent types of digital implements: leaders, pioneers, scholars or novices. Each of them has a level of maturity , in engagement, knowledge and practicing of social media. We know now how social media can leverage trust and foster all efforts done by traditional promotion. The more you facilitate and offer a whole environment of engaging with your customers, the more you’ll get a builded trust with communication and Q/A from all the community, whatever the group of participant you are in. And this, while we saw very different behaviors in the segments therefore, and the consequences on revenue, loyalty and trust. If we could resume in one main thinking is : « seed, nurture and enlight the social energy in your communities, they’ll give you back lots of engaged trust ». Personaly, I do agree and foster this behavior, and moreover it’s very enjoyable to work and exchange like that…Feeling and hold the happiness level in business, may drive you to a kind of bliss and lead the brand to another values’ environment.

1) Hazard and Doubt: it always starts with this…Do you, personnaly give anyone, from the beginning, trust? It’s quite rare to bring such trust, despite spend more time and experiences, with any brand. And the rule is on for business and ability to give more money. The best action you can lend to these “beginners”: meet them and know, at first sight, what they’re looking for…

2) Triers: OK, you triggered the first reaction and you maybe heard a few details about the brand or products and just want to try. It makes you a perfect segment to have a first exception experience, to go further. The next goal is not probably spend more, but first become a fan, to hold the relation and discover the next surprise. Triers deserve the best first promotion or sample, kind of you’ll never forget. It’s not a question of “a lot” but more a question of “the whaou effect”.

3) Price hunters: ready for any promotion, they seem to be real transparent with no particularly awareness for the brand but the price. They can spend an average part, according to the proportion of rebate, and are attracted by “shots”, deals anytime that “worths” it. Now you know that language can be “figures” and promotions for that kind of segment, becaude they focus their attention to consume “rebates” of the brand, anyshape they may be. So the question is right now to stay aside, feeding them with prices but tempting a subtile charling approach of storytelling around the prices’ universe. Unfortunately, Price and rebate is not a long term debate and can’t be the only message, valuating the brand. That segment can be shifted toward “pay-to-see” ones, who are more curious and can be lead to another story, deeper and less price-driven.

4) Hot shooters: the ultime and extremism verse of price hunters, they have only one advantage, in “build-measure-learn” process inspired from the lean management: speed. They trigger any promotion and jump on any opportunity to make a deal. Even if they don’t need sometimes, just to have impression to close a good deal and play the leader role. “I control and have an extreme footprint on the brand because I make it perform efforts and deals for me. But we all know there’s so many “fake deals” and the complete energy that brands are able to invest in, is just sometimes incredible…

5) Pay-to-See: They are very discret, don’t make any noise but stare at the brand like a curious thing, ready to try something, but don’t know what and how. They need some teaching steps that allow them to enter in relation, smartly and with “try-and-buy” process. Build some “games” or contest which give them an opportunity to start an interactive relation, with no mandatory transaction. They will decide if they enter themselves in a “payment” posture, to taste the stickability or trustiness of the brand, or simplier test an offer they identified. Choose the trigger and catch the attention may be the two keys to get into relation for them…

6) Fan: let’s say you lived on an island and never heard about “fan” or “like” fever…and can’t imagine which kind of profile we have? And of course it’s where tha value and potential is with the rationnal evolution from “Fan” to “Come backer” to “Ambassador”. The tipping point and snowball effet are not obvious to trigger and scale but is worthy enough to pay attention since the beginning. Play, engage, make them participate in any “transactional”, while they stare at the “smart” brand and are supposed to be the next first adopters. They are fans, they like the brand, but probably didn’t find any opportunity to buy. And some will stay, remaining as true “ambassadors” without consuming. Yes, it’s possible, valuable and true. Check at it!

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7) Come backers: some buy, some buy again. They are. They tried and probably are satisfied, and do it again. They start a returning relation, want to see more, consume moreover. Ok, that’s fine, you found some engaged customers to build on. Don’t miss yourself or be wrong with the message, they want your products, your relation but don’t want to be disappointed. They come from the early stages, fan or already consumer of the brand, they are not novice and probably “in the know” of the story, range or uses of the brand environment. Maybe they’re part themselves of a buyers’ environment, that guided them there. Whatever their reasons, you can rely on their relation. They did, and did it again. Not by random or foolish choice. They choose to remind you and buy your essence again. Reward them and meet their uses with your next features.

8) Ambassadors: that’s it, you are in and here we are. You achieved a performer level, having transformed mainstream customers to ambassadors. Ones that you can count on, anytime because they’re gonna be your next salesperson and your best defender. They can trigger their own advise for people who are not clients yet, convince some to jump and discover your brand and products. They are your best PR’s, arms and mouth, to spread the word about who you are, what you do and what are your values. This incredible force was far ignored before social web and has now power like never. But you know which efforts you did to bring such energy to that point of achievement. This is the ultimate step for trust, before fanatics, who could be, in a way, obsessed and dangerous. Shortly, never lose an ambassador, it could be really weaknessing your salespitch and your footprint to the community.

9) Roadies: they work hard to follow your ventures, but don’t have much revenues. They want to be at your side, in desperate long run, at all your events, doing or not, some evidences of loyalty. They like your brand, products, but for other people than their own consumption. They could be considered as “triers” in the term, but prefer be “angels”, worrying about your brand reputation and the future ongoing for you. They are “silent agent” who can give voice if they consider you in danger or being corrupted or attacked, by default. Your best “friends”, with probably less direct impact on your revenur, but keeping care of your “body”: local bodyguards, in a way…

10) Safe and Care/Admirers: the next kind is probably the most invisible, but exists. But this fact doesn’t mean that you must not stare at them, as interesting elements of your audience. They surround you, never took time or just a lift, to signal their friendship to you, but think of your brand as “cool, smart, trustable and reliable”. They have no reason to get into relation, because of lack of time, money or opportunity to get in. But they care, in an invisible “touch”. What can you consider and learn from them? The single fact that, your whole communication can sometimes risk them to be disappointed, without knowing it, so be careful for that segment too, who could wake up and give voice in the future. Voice or money, triggered by an event you can’t plan before. Just like clouds, they are energy who supports you and collaborate to your reputation, like silent witness. They deserve to be considered, like any other target, their way: “enjoy the beauty, the traction and the footprint of your brand”.

“With trust, you can raise mountains”, because you erase the last barriers to the core: the real conversation, emptied of politics, cosmetics and fakery between an environment (brand, company, organisation, people, products) and an individual. That’s where start great stories, and build a sustainable relation. That’s where we see, that relation is not only a matter of money, but lots of other things to consider, that probably in the end, grow tour business. Up to you to see and deal with it.

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Fairy, funny but no tale about the fact that no company exists without customers. And if sometimes, boss turnover seems to be a sporting challenge for shareholders, customer can’t wait. And may have the last word. It’s finally if you understand it, when you will make great deals, those called “win-win”, with the genuine relation between someone who has needs you can afford. And if sometimes your real boss tries to make it his own way, remind him that he can’t exist without customers…Everybody in his company might be confronted with this and face, hold and build the true relevant relation. Because, customer is the boss in fact, and the matter of anybody in the company. And it seems urgent to see, integrate and share the concept inside companies, to deliver different ways. Why does it seem so strange and how handle it?

  • the customer rarely needs you, he has several others choices, in a single snap he can switch and forget you ever
  • the business is growing on average consumption with either, more customers, more loyalty or raising the level of engagement: in any case, you do need customers…any customer but customers!
  • loyalty is not a concept that you can organize in your corner, thinking (hoping?) it will work: ask customers first why/how he would be more loyal, and build the wrap around…
  • the customer knows much more you ever imagine about your market and your products, and value your service: don’t forget he compares live, all the offer of the market for you. If he gives you an advise, he’s probably less blind than you!
  • even if you think “customer doesn’t know what he wants or what is good for him”, his/her help would be precious, targeting the next big picture. If you build something with him for he’s already part of it, why won’t he buy then?
  • “the more he builds, the more he’s fan”: if he’s “part” of it, he’ll be the best ambassador/advocate for your values, products and services…
  • build the “customer Stockholm Syndrom“: make him part of your story where emotion takes part of your relation and make him kind of painful of your difficult story. In pain and need will grow innovation, together…
  • in some ways, as the customer says how much he is OK/able to pay for your different propositions, he’s quite establishing your salary level: and in this way too, he’s your boss…
  • If you can passion him/her with your own passion, brand and value, he’ll become your best ambassador and outcompete agent for virality: the new media we talk about, socially correct, truthly and trusty…
  • engage with your community and encourage and reward the “social search”. Because you trust more deeply ones you know
  • don’t be shy or afraid with any enpowerment of your customers: the energy they hit for you has no price for you, comparing with resources and money you should spend for the same result…
  • know how to reward: if your customers have to become your boss, give them their salary…
  • run your business, have a business but run and build it with your customers, because they have willingness and motivation to buy your products, speak about them and hold the direction ; like the real boss…
  • like Sam Walton saidThere is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else“. I guess Wal Mart knows how to cope with it, don’t you think?

Assets, partners, friends, loyalty heroes, anyway the name you give to customers, think about your own relation, your own “stunt show”, celebrate success with them like associates to your success. “No success in business without mess with your guests” could be your last quote for community with your best assets. Don’t miss any opportunity to raise satisfaction, happiness and loyalty with your customers, they represent a silent force (while I don’t know if we can say this anymore with social communities!) that can improve your market approach, your sales feeling and ability to shoot first, accurate and focused needs, which will save time and money. Money you’ll be able to invest in this brand new other relation with your new allies…a perfect circle of business, without thinking of business and having much fun and pleasure…

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Loyalty is in the end a very important part of the value of any relation. Build a trusty system means years of taming and needs lots of efforts and demonstration on how you can deliver promises, and keep them alive in a long term. This concept stands with any part of modern communication and relation and rise with it. We can quote “loyalty calls loyalty”, when we see that the most loyals subjects do, because they like and spread it. While we’re facing a big shift in the way brands speak to targeted customers and drive their whole relation, customer could be considered as less “loyal”. Because of his mobility, he becomes less “catchable”, I mean in advertising terms, underlining the new technologies that keep him alive “on” with the brand: mobile devices. The way we look at customers intentions and try to catch his “brain awareness” changes. In fact, could mobile be an awesome opportunity to enhance loyalty or a silent threat to lose audience?

The mobile facts: some figures worth more than long talks…(source: ITU)

  • more than 5 billion mobile subscribers in the world
  • nearly 1 billion has access to 3G services
  • mobile networks access: more than 90% of global population and 80% in rural zones
  • already thinking of 4G networks, increasing speed and services
  • web access will overtake PC and domestic devices (wired), within 5 next years
  • 450 millions users on web mobile, end of 2009 (IDC)

This “jack-in-the-box cumulated figures” means that any people on earth (nearly…) can receive a simple message from any brand that wants to catch him…got it? Hate or like? Chance or fear? I think everybody will (have to) find rules and own behavior and reaction with this new environment…

The Loyalty goodness

Loyalty seems to be an actual goal for everyone: brands, couples, retail, habits…Why? Because it costs far less to nurture and care an “established situation” with uses and automatic behaviors, than draw, seduce and attract new ones. True for customers, new comers, new process…and new husband/wife. Now living in a always wired era drives us to more “online” behaviors, acquired to lots of any information. These new habits mean that we’re more demanding about brand communication and customer care, even if we’re not customer yet. This eco-system, self-feeding situations seems to find a regulation with user generating content, added by any citizen, in mobile situation. The more we are touched by mobile communication, the more we’re in fact, tied softly to brands, increasing our silent loyalty and attachment to companies. Loyalty is key for long term forecasts and ongoing business models, that can improve portfolios for brands.

What we see is a necessary change on how you target customers: awareness is not captured like any other situation and needs accuracy, what I see: bad moment for a SMS is a dead-born message…Life duration of a SMS and our ability to use it is in fact, few seconds…snatch for catch is the real art and skill of mobile communication. Even with PDA spreading everywhere, majority is often limited in size, shape and kind of message your mobile device can manage. Intrusion is as bad as choose a bad moment to send your message: as mobile is personal, you can’t be wrong with your target. Any disruption between the message and the profile of the targeted customer and you will have a storm against you: the action will give you the exact upset situation for the brand…So be careful. Last but not least, “personal” means directly linked to the individual and you can pledge for mistake or misunderstanding, or hide behind bulk message: you are supposed to engage conversation and give arguments, if the customers speaks to you…as an individual people.

Virality is a perfect territory of expression to spread loyalty. But no pain, no gain. Spread loyalty in fact means no more but no less than spread trust, through your customers…So they engage them in a risk they were not obviously prepared to assume, and will shame you if you betray and show them, they were wrong to do so…Absolutely disappointed. For a long time. All your efforts blowed in a single SMS…? That worths to think twice before act…Mobile tagging (stickybits, u snap, shop savvy…), geolocalization (foursquare, plyce, gowallah, tellmewhere, waze…) are so cute ways to follow you (without being too intrusive first…) and hold the link and relation between a brand and a customer. A personal and mobile one.

The independance riot

Lots of things, reactions and strange behaviors told us in history to care about machines control…This holy link for brands can quickly become a nightmare for customers, because being in mobility means sometimes a moment of serenity and  is particularly “my moment”. Do I like to be disturbed? It may transform our attitude in a sharp reaction, the “action-reaction” of throwing away all our good intentions and thoughts about the so called “friend” brand. Do we want “independance” or do we like to be plugged “all-wired” entity? Are we supposed to be en “engaged consumer” at all prices and times, where does our engagement start and end, as any sign of further involvement means we do accept, assume (like?) the ongoing phenomenia of being followed with our cute device, as a personal spy, shouting more and more commercials…

This schizophrenic question and dilemma may drive to bunch of protestants fence, leading to a community riot, boycotting brands and company, products and attitude. By doing this, “Lots lost lots”, underlines the surgerical need to be very careful about the final goals and uses of mobile opportunities. Remember independance drove people to blogs, forums and parallel sources of information, where trust can be refound. And I think it’s dangerous to lose with impulsive actions, trust you spent months to build. Moreover when it’s for sales matters and start to be boring with the mobile target, that just wanted to go apart from the “promotion noise”…

Human is anything else than an independant and rarely wants to be linked, promised, as he never asked for. But being opti§n doesn’t mean everything is allowed though: like the butterfly effect, a small SMS can raise a viral revolution…

Drawing the necessary conclusions

Nothing is really grave or irreversible in fact. We have what we ask for, when we see such passion for mobile devices, it must be important for us not cut the link with anything…And remember there’s a switch off that can resolve conflicts and harassment. Use it anytime it’s necessary…Brands too, sometimes switch off, when you have some claims on the way…

 

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I am a customer. You are. We are. But if we sometimes have unstoppable pulse for something to buy. And if it’s possible that’s probably because we learned HOW to buy…Think it’s no sense? I mean, there’s probably a path for us to learn how to make better shopping,  You’re now wondering how we stand for this and where we come from, to consider there’s a “school for buying”, kind of “step-by-step” education with knowledge, behavior and techs.

See for example, social shopping, as it’s easier to get something valuable from anybody before buying anything, the contact and influence abilities have explosed with social web and communities. Living a valuable experience leads you to want to speak of it and share it with “friends”. But living a disaster in a shopping act, drives to danger as well. We can say that, facing these new behaviors, we get more aware of our sensibility, in a relation, standing for a buying decision. And we do, brands and professional shoppers must stand for a new way of convincing consumers.

 

 

1) for a good sale, now how to make you “bought”:

How incredible it can be, doing a good sale starts as you may be desirable, and slowly being bought “pulled” than pushed by salesmen. Customer has to get value, beyond the simple buying act and be aware of giving money to acquire use and pleasure. Increasing passion for consuming, means for a brand being in an “always-on” growing experience, that gives customers a kind of addictive lesson: clues, rewards, games, viral behaviors…all shapes of masterclass can be driven to get customers in a breathless stand. Doing so, giving you an exclusive advantage taking and keeping the attention of your potential customers to come again. Customers that may come to buy again and learn how to make a better choice, buying act and say it to lots of potential non customers. The learning process is so started, enabled and accepted, by the fact customers wait for a regular conversation (offer push, informations, promotions…). They can so share all this whole “nurturing” process with friends and closest contacts.

2) the jungle of knowledge and information:

We used to live in a “modern and urban” jungle: noises, trouble, movements, all that can scramble messages and sheer essence of information: “giving pieces of knowledge to improve awareness”. Boost of media, mobility and our addiction to information (being secured as being someone who “knows”) keeps us apart from core information in fact. I just only regret this huge amount of information troubles the ability anyone has to judge something relevant. And maybe the next goal is to “know better” than really “know more”. Web, crawlers, indexation and sort, RSS and bookmarking can help to make the real difference. Comparisons sites only adress the “how much” side of buying act, and even comments, forums or moderation can sometimes be “tricked” as well. The DNA of social shopping is an interesting side of what could help us to cope with the forest of offers we stand…or not.

3) profiling and getting clues:

Modern shopping is discovering how to be discovered. Checking footsteps of every move and buy. Being profiled to get more advantages of being a customer. Then your walk is finding clues delivering you more knowledge about what you really like, how you really live and why you are buying things you buy. Getting these clues, is according to be naked and low your defenses about curiosity, and some faces of your private life. Answering surveys, getting vouchers and use it will increase your participation and the road to your tastes. The best shop in the world will give you the following promotions after considering your full profile and buy after buy, you enhance your ability to choose more and better: an achievement in your buyer’s job…Experience is enlightning your passed path and allows you to drive better. Give a little of yourself, piece after piece…to reveal you in the light of your buyer’s profile: all you need is participate, give truth and transparency, because if so, you’ll have a bright payback. The scale of auto-learning…levelling your own experience and awareness for consuming.

4) stairway to heaven: the moment of truth:

You did go up for this intoxicating moment and like it: you ask for more. I said addictive, you know, you see?

Brands that can manage all these process softly, with an incredible experience of service, are not really intrusive, but just like your best friend…personal shopper? best trend setter? You reborn: relearning how to buy, you become more aware of promotions, messages and delight of leading the truth. Brands that treat customers well like old friends, may have loyalty and return…wallets are opening more easily to tip over on temptation. Even the marketing expenses are more valuable and relevant, as they are in fact “relation expenses” on long term relations. Imagine if you may be able to offer training sessions for all your customers…on your products and the way they MUST be used in real life for them: could we draw you back your toy?

5) the pleasure is contagious: already learned, already buzzed:

Lots of social toys have bloomed like angst…to be localized. Foursquare, Plyce, Tellmewhere, Gowalla and other Facebook places are nothing but accurate tools of modern social shopping: discovering places, check in, share view and comments (and then read others’ comments) and get some promotions on retail places (McDo, Starbucks…do this now). The chain has been designed to hold: as you progress in your expectations, you’re dying to say it, you buzz anywhere you can to be the influencer to come, the “friend everyone dreams of” for the best tip. Blooms of social platforms further, you can draw lots of audiences and become a special agent for brands (tip: for companies who missed the train, do something for us…they are supposed to be your best salesmen…). As you pay money to spread your messages and communication strategy, buzz is not really free…Being trusted by bulk means being trusty and really who you say you are: service and customer oriented. And fully personify the whole process to get the best of it.

6) raising the level of awareness: shopper’s experience educates the crowd

Building the flying wheel to breakthrough situation is now an ongoing process, that stands as a funny way to enroll people. Used to better consumption, educated so far to profiled promotions that save time and money, and targeted offers you can share, you are a better “student”, a better customer…And you want to share with others this status for you. You start to call your best friends, neighbours, parents to be a close influencer. You make them play, participate to mailing lists, subscribe them to private sales, invit them to shop with you. A kind of silent job, brands shall not ignore to care with their best outside talents. The more you attract, the more you like the game you’re in. Doing so, you learn how to be a personal consultant for best tips, good affairs and relevant sales. Your whole experience grows inside you as it spreads outside, just around you. I guess this shows you different and visible for others to come.

Now you’re ready to make your own courses, training session and buying lessons. While you’ve been targeted, focused and marketed as your own, you are able to give it back for crowd. Not that you’re ready to open a shop, because you’re best as a shopper than as a seller. Sure, you’ve been educated, you passed your exam of “advised customer”. Now you can open your wallet with serenity and take pleasure with it. And spread the word everywhere.

 

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Don’t run to imagine your next product or service, maybe it already exists. And maybe the next big picture is about “experience”, more than delivering…While brands always search to surprise customers, dealing with trend and fashion, there’s probably much more important elsewhere…Not really elsewhere but in another register…sensation, feelings…experience. And if you start to think about being more “sensorial” in your approach?

In a famous outpost called “the experience economy” in Harvard Business Review, some guys (Pines/Gilmore) compared business as a “stage” and work scene, a theatre. Business like a movie? The only difference is that everybody is an actor, sometimes consumer, sometimes not, but anyway, trying to get some sense with brands. Sense means “a reason to buy” or a “willingness to be caught”. Beyond innovation, brands must reinvent the way they do business, throwing away the natives and early concepts of “mix marketing”, as mainstream tools, where consumers are not trapped anymore. In fact, it’s really easy to “create, brand, promote and deliver” a product and service, with teams, money and resources…(tip: it should, I must admit sometimes you run nut with several offers and customer services but…). But revealing a sheer experience, the one who everybody is gonna be fool of and spreading the buzz all over the world, say that we talk of more scarcity, isn’it?

That’s what now brands spend their times, caring about anything is around service and product to wrap the whole offer in an unforgettable shot. And yes, probably social web gear up the movement as it facilitates the “opinion” circulation all over online tribunes…And we see that all these opinions take part of the “whole experience” of a brand delivering. See how good or bad advises are posted each day, just only on foursquare for example, on places you have to visit or…avoid.

Zappos’ delivering happiness concept seems to be central and in DNA of this company. They don’t just “deliver”, they make you “feel”, that something happens…I know it can be a cloud vision, but it adds a kind of huge “goodwill” and friendness to the brand. And probably rise the loyalty and the virality of the shopper…(and finally can we still and only say “shopper” to these “skills” or company object?). Because the difficulty stands on “defining the role that the brand plays and how it takes place in a global value chain and needs awareness”: we see that it can be resumed only to deliver a service or a good. It’s about delivering “memorable and engaging experiences”, and I would say “sustainable” to customers. And saying these simple few words is a matter of complete transformation in companies. If company wishes to do so, everybody is responsible to achieve such a thing: from calls, accouting, to supply, sales and IT. It becomes the main “strategic intent” of companies, through they are going to play their marketing leverages, serving the value purpose. Customers in fact are not outside anymore…they are the blood and the guts of every employee, whose can feel in each of their actions, the “why” and the reason-to-work as a daily behavior.

Experiencing such situations is governed by the sheer pleasure: surprise, care, use and pride. In fact, it’s not a job, it’s a cause! Any company should drive his business according to the only fact, they serve a “cause” (yes even if there’s a reward and we don’t talk about not for profit). So the “design of experience” is central and finds a footprint in everything in relation with the product or the service: packaging, baselines, design, guide, helpdesk, accessories, delivering, after sales, loyalty care, surveys…In fact, any product or service comes with an experience and it’s the role of marketing to improve it and develop the “sensory experience”, to rise value, yes for company but also to hold a valuable experience for customer. The one they won’t forget and spread the new everywhere. The one that really builds a strong loyalty, envy and customization.

Considering this, any company or brand should now build a whole “customer experience strategy” to enhance loyalty and shift to value. And this means involve every function or person inside the company. Company that would build no products, no service but “experience” and customers…If we stare at memorable brands (Apple, Dell, Zappos, Amazon,…), we can surely say that they built a strong community around them, who spread the word and takes place as a whole experience marketplace. We probably assist to a change in CRM concepts as Brian Solis said, like sCRM, enhancing the experience effect into the global offer. CRM to “CEM” (Customer Experience Management), that can create a new angle to see customers, serve them and make them central and ambassador of the brand. Being “central” means that customers are in the same office than you, they take coffee or break with you, go to lunch, and work on the same topics.

You see now? Design for customers by customers, one experiencing what he wants to buy. What social web did, covering posts, opinions and facts written by customers themselves, targeting brands, is now a real shift for companies. Preparing, designing and customer mindsetting is part of the next “profiling” to shape a better “experience”, to deliver and raise customer loyalty. This experience value could be “the willingness to pay, for ‘feelings’, using a product or a service”: which difference would you be ready to pay to feel a memorable experience? If we can mesure and give a value to “experience”, then companies can build a P&L and focus resources to transform their whole relation strategy. I think it will really and definitely make a difference, a kind of skip out of the box, an step forward innovation for leading mindset and customers fan. Let’s imagine about the next pushing button of Facebook’s badges…”I experienced”.

 

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Did you ever welcome friends or family with a gun? Even opening your door to unknowns, without being polite and in a cool behavior? Sometimes your customers could have feeling about being less loyal, rude or stressed. Why?
Considering the famous quote with “don’t do others what you don’t want others do to you“, let’s spend a while to build new relation…talking about “critical importance of customer service” is not only “talking”. It’s listening too. And supply all customers want, no more or less, to make them satisfied enough to talk about your brand as a  bright model. Yes, that maters and that’s a question of brand awareness. A brand vision, to keep customers, make them satisfied and make them talking about you to non-customers, that will make become customers.
And no, that don’t need any gun or unfriendly method.

Some facts:

Study from GBC consulting on “global consumer survey” from 2006/2007, put on highlights some facts, only blinds can’t see. Over more than 4.300 companies answered that customer service is the biggest influencer on customer loyalty, and more than 74% of them would do business with a company based on a great contact center experience. Study shown that telephone is still the most dominant channel used by customers to contact a company, despite Google, search and e-mail fever.
According to F. Reichheld’s book “the Loyalty Effect”, a new customer costs five times more to acquire than nurture existing ones. You understand now how strategic becomes customer attention and relation management.
If you’re searching for a job, you already heard about “first impression effect”. Don’t waste time but in the first contact. Because people have no time to waste, and time eats time, you have to be precise, accurate and striking the essential in a few minutes. The “front door” concept is a reality: welcoming customers is a serious matter, before even thinking about their request. In the field of companies business, welcoming is often dedicated to a contact center (from few agents to hundred), and becomes obviously the “front door” to the corporate brand. And still according to previous survey, customers have often to fight with IVR fronts, which offer some surprises: waiting and hold times of call, IVR structure “product oriented” vs “customer oriented”, non functional options, repeat informations too many times…Bad experiences for bad effects: fed up, angry comments. Negative energy. If “first impression” counts, then build your “front door” as a professional. Whatever the solution you choose, be “your first customer to come”, act as if you would like information, or buy, and take time to think WHY you could not buy or make business with you!

The Failure:

Be aware of what’s going on, in building bad experience, creates a “domino effect” on the whole company starting with:

  • frustration (customers and agents)
  • increasing acquisition costs and churn rates
  • missing opportunities of cross-selling business
  • agent moral plummets and turnover rise up, due to stress, frustration and low-value tasks
  • bad brand notoriety drives to no recommendation, and can go to angry et deny

I was telling you the story: listening can give you half of the tip…and the standing half is in creating value for customer, before he even asks for anyone. Welcoming him…

Building your front door:

No, don’t need  a furniture supplier, but need to know where and how long is your vision and involvement in this part of your company’s brand attention. As IVR could be the last fashion model, be aware of for example an ASRNews report saying that “the most complain of virtual, is the fact that customers has to repeat to the agent, informations he already gave to IVR”…useless. But if you take some time to build it correctly, these are some efficient results you can draw from:

  • natural speech = constant voice and loyalty
  • create a whole folder for brand consistence experience
  • automatize simple tasks to concentrate on value-added conversations for agents
  • capture and use IVR recorded informations
  • learn to your system: stare, listen IVR and customers behavior and give it back some improvements

Ready to get in for new shape of relation? Ready to boost business in improving your brand footprint?
Be natural, be true, use natural speech for natural and enhanced relationship.

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