Gain Market Share is 2012 — Focus on Service

Customer services

Image by gordon2208 via Flickr

I was reminded again tonight of the importance of customer service as my wife and I experienced absolutely unacceptable service at a local Chili’s restaurant. It has me thinking…. Why in today’s world of social media, blogs and 24 hour news have companies continued to accept poor performance in the field of customer service?

I know that there are places that I choose to experience poor customer service in sacrifice for lower price… (WalMart) however even there I believe the company has failed in recognizing how much share of income they are missing from me because I refuse to go them for items that have any value beyond feeding my face and which toothpaste I choose to use.

So not to completely destroy a chain such as Chilli’s, which until this last year I was a very Frequent visitor, lets be honest employees as a whole have really lost the meaning of service in a large quantity around our country. I remember  8 years ago my family moved to the Midwest for a stint and people would say oh your going to love the Friendliness and service of people in the Midwest , sorry but just seldom saw the service that was worth raving about to my friends.

My wife and I had a good laugh tonight as we discussed years of Mystery Shopping we have done across the US and how we just can’t believe that our standards of service have gotten tougher.  What level customer service is acceptable in todays world?

I would argue that it is the most important factor in your success as a business. As a matter of fact I would argue that if you want to gain market share in  2012 make it your #1 focus. Bring back the Mystery Shopper, Bring Back consequence to poor performance and demand nothing but your employees best when it comes to courteous, friendly over the top service.

Evaluate current staff and don’t hesitate to take the upgrade now approach by ranking your team 1-10 if you must and either putting the bottom half in extensive pass or fail type training so that they understand that in order to keep their job that this one rule is unbending, or find a replacement immediately.

Consultant your top customers and listen to them on last years service notes.  Evaluate if the methods of online survey are the right message to send to your clients? Take some time and call your top ten customers and ask personally what they would like to see improved in 2012. Stand out from the rest of your competitors by making them a priority. Want to know what to ask, how about this… Out of all the companies your do business with which has the best service? Who has the worst?  Where do I stand on that list? From their answers you should have a clear direction of where to go.

Be reasonable and logical when dealing with complaints… Ok here is where i generally piss off corporations. At dinner tonight when I complained about three day old bacon that tasted like jerky on my burger the waitess took my plate and I fully expected to have the manager show up at my table and say sorry and to give me a small discount, that seemed like common sense. However The next thing I know the waitress shows up with my bill and says they took the burger off my order. Now that is really nice right, but really… I ate the entire burger, just took the bacon off it.. just give me a $2.00 discount and come say sorry, maybe give me a coupon to come back next time and assure me you will do better because you want my business back.  If you work in retail I know that in the past 10-15 years you have heard from executives that you just don’t say no and do what ever makes the customer happy, well I fundamentally disagree. Use commonsense, if a customer try’s to return an item that is broken and they bought it 10 months ago and it looks like they ran over it with the car, you have the right to tell them no. Politely and with proper tact. If they try to return something that was not bought at your company, but swear it came from there, it is OK to lose that customer. Say No.  And when that customer goes online and rips you for being a bad company respond publicly on what ever forum they use in a polite and professional manner so the world can see who is the more responsible of parties.

Maybe I am getting off point here but the fact remains, using common sense and friendly communication will win even in today’s social media world. Become an active participant and refuse to allow your company to slither down the path of poor service and you have potential to gain market share this year.  In my market this year someone just gained 10 -12 family dinners from me because Chili’s probably lost out because of one really bad night of service.

Good Luck… Keep Smiling

 

Business Marketing advice from Harry Potter

Albus Dumbledore

Image via Wikipedia

I just got home from seeing the final chapter of Harry Potter.  It is ok, I will not be sharing the all important movie parts if you have not seen the movie, Just one line.

So how does Harry Potter and Business marketing relate accept for the fact their franchise is the one of the richest success stories in Hollywood history?  Let me not hold you in suspense…..

In the final Chapter Harry and Dumbledore do have one more conversation together and Dumbledore corrects an earlier line from the second film “The Chamber of Secrets“that really hit me as a great point in marketing. Do you remember the line “There will always be help at Hogwarts when you ask for it?” In this film he corrects himself and says that help will always be there for those who deserve it?  Quite a difference in those lines in life and in business.

Your business was built with your own sweet and dreams, and you probably have worked harder than anyone will ever know to get it growing. My Question is have you earned your customers and do you deserve their loyalty?

In today’s fast paced Social Driven Marketing world there is advice and tips every where on how to gain thousands of fans, followers and connections. It seems that many of the tips follow the same path as Dumbledore in the Chamber of Secrets – all you need to do is asked for friends, followers and connections and your Social Media and Marketing troubles are rescued and your will be victorious.  But how true is the corrected statement, help is for those who deserve it?  There are thousands of business people who have started gung-ho on social media adventures, gaining handful of fans, connections or followers as they added content and conversation online, only to find their fans did not share, their cash registers did not ring and they felt hey were wasting their time on meaningless conversation.

Why then are so many teaching that social media is the perfect marketing tool? That this single marketing tool can change the landscape of your business? Because it can and has for those who have earned it! The  individuals which stayed connected and invested their time, thoughts and expertise not to just enrich their pockets but to help others enrich theirs.  They gave first and continued to give of their knowledge until they had earned the right to ask for help, then their followers, connections and friends sprang to action and helped them succeed in their plans and business success.

If you are starting a social media campaign or have lost hope in your campaign take these tips seriously.  Victory in social media marketing is not for the ones who just show up and ask for help, you must earn the right to receive the help.

5 – Tips to get you started:

  1. Share you knowledge – you have a knowledge base, you might not think it is much but you do have a knowledge base share it freely. Yes if you have the secret recipe you don’t have to share it, but you can share tips and knowledge that will help others create their own secret recipe
  2. Share your answers –  invest time on the social media front helping others get the answers they need to be successful or find enjoyment.
  3. Share your advice – Who, what, when, why?  Pretend you’re a newspaper reporter and you have to interview yourself for an article. Remember the 4 W’s and start writing.
  4. Share your encouragement – People love to help people that make them feel good about themselves. Make someone else feel special
  5. Share your visions and dreams – What do you want the world to look like. Tell us. Yes you might get ridiculed from some but mostly you will help the best of us believe in you. And until we believe in you we will never promote or stand up for you.
So there you have it, Social Marketing tips from Harry Potter.  The movie is worth the price of admission.

 

Facebook Promotions Made Easy.

ShortStack APP

ShortStack App for Facebook Promotions

I just finished a webinar on making Facebook Promotions. I have promoted this company before but was so excited about this tool I had to write another quick tip on Facebook Promotions. The Company Shortstack based out of Northern Nevada has developed an easy to use promotion and I-Frame tool that I believe everyone could run and use with little to no training.

Their tool event comes with Data base management if you are willing to pay a small monthly service charge.  They have Free services and if you are a small business looking to find less than 2500 fans locally you can use their service for under $10 a month.

Check out their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/shortstacklab

Facebook is becoming easier for businesses to use everyday. And companies such as ShortStack are leading the way.

Have fun designing and promoting.

Athletes / Stars and Social Media

Hines Ward blocks for Rashard Mendenhall

Image via Wikipedia

This week has been very interesting for me in following news on several athletes which have found themselves in trouble using social media.  R. Mendenhall of the Steelers is probably the one that most are familiar with this week, with his commits on Bin Ladin which cost him thousands of fans, endorsement deals etc…

But there are several others. It has me thinking, will social media eventually lose out to traditional media because of its dangers to the rich and famous?

A with most things Social Media could easily drive personal name value for all Rich, Famous, Talented, to the point where they make even bigger profits on their names, so I see why social media would be attractive.

However, In the past year we have seen multiple cases where social media has crippled or harmed someones reputation because they put an honest opinion out for the world to see in social media.  We have become a society where honesty is not valued and respected but is something to be torn down and ridiculed when it deals with the lives of our rich and famous.

Rashard Mendenhall, spoke his mind honestly, we might disagree with him, but does that give us the right to destroy him? Because he is rich and famous is our jealousy clouding our better judgement, and are we tearing down a man, not because of his opinions but because we see opportunity to make ourselves feel more valued?

At times I admit I hear of Athletes or Movie Star tweets and think what a fool they are to opening there thoughts to the world to see. Often, I think they are brilliant and understand that even bad press can build value in their brand. And let’s not kid ourselves here, this is all about branding and value of brands. With the incredible incomes athletes and movie stars can make every thing they do is about brand. So they have some responsibility to take in knowing every word they display and every reaction they have is influencing the value of their brand.

So back to my question, will social media eventually lose ground, because the risk of Brand Value losses is too great when left to the viral nature of the web? Or will Social media become a forum of false statements and opinions in order to deceive a public opinion to favor the brand value? Will Social Media become what Fox News is and only serve their purpose and agendas to their select audience?

I would love to hear your opinion on this? What is the Future of our Social Voice?

Say it with Me: Social Media is Part of Marketing | Social Media Today

I read a great blog today written by Wendy Bryant, on Social Media Today blog post. She was discussing her feelings on Social Media and the word a lot of business owners and managers forget in that statement “Marketing”.  The summary below I believe sums up all the hype better than anything I have read to date. Maybe because like so many others she is not selling me anything, she is trying to offer good sound advice. Great work Wendy

What’s the lesson here? Human connection. This brand did not solve my problem online; they took it offline and used good old, fashioned customer service. They wowed me. I felt appreciated and my faith in that brand was restored. Remember, you are on social to connect, connect and re-connect. It’s going to be good and bad. Be prepared. Be willing to acknowledge your mistakes, fix problems and help your clients. That’s what every business does: makes their customers happy. I don’t care if you’re a B2B or B2C company—get over it. We all have customers and we all have to make them happy.

Back to my opening comment, social media is part of the marketing mix. Say that with me.

Once you start thinking about social media this way your perspective will change. I agree with Doug Stephens of Retail Prophet, social media won’t save your business. You’ve got to look deep inside your company and figure out what’s right for you. If your brand is suffering fix it. Social media isn’t going to fix it. Social media doesn’t replace all your traditional media; it enhances, enriches and connects you in a way you’ve never been connected before. Get ready because it’s not going away and will continue to evolve.

via Say it with Me: Social Media is Part of Marketing | Social Media Today.