Great New Lifestyle Magazine for the Carson VAlley. And it is Digital!

The Carson Valley Times

VALLEYEVECAREFINAL

Carson Valley Living, Volume I

by Joey Crandall, joey@carsonvalleytimes.com

At CVT, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to connect with our readers. We’ve been tinkering with ways to better package and deliver our feature content for some time. This is the first of what we hope will be many “Digest” editions of the Carson Valley Times. It is a prototype, and a lot of it is just us exploring the technologies available.

Please let us know what you think. It’s better to have a lot of input as we develop this, as we can answer and address issues as they arise. It is a “beta” edition, and by no means perfect and polished yet. So ,if something bugs you, shoot us a note. It’s likely we can find a way to fix it.

Here it is, “Carson Valley Living”: (Click on the cover to read it)

CVLiving Cover

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Greatness.. Leaves a Legacy

Greatness.. Leaves a Legacy

Today one of the greatest and most inspiring men of our history passed. Zig Ziglar at the 86 went home.  His Legacy of inspiring books nd quotes will live forever thanks to technology such as the internet. The lives he changed by reminding us all that the choice of greatness is ours and that God has already given us all the tools to reach our greatness, we just have to start, will be part of his legacy forever.

As he leaves us today it is now time that we all stand up and take Zig’s lead and inspire those around us, by showing an example of using positive attitude, Stubborn Persistence and unyielding compassion daily in our lives.

Zig Ziglar… A gift to our generation from God… His Legacy is now our responsibility.

Social Media is not the death of Marketing!

I read an opinion column the other day stating that Social Media had killed marketing. I had to stew on this one for a few days. Because there have been times that I have seen companies go all in with social media only to see sales fall and business vanish.
However, have to disagree with this stance. Social Media in its expanding and very vocal form is creating more opportunity and buzz for brands, both personal and corporate, then any media before it’s time.
The Challenge as I see it has not been the invention or use of social media in business, it has been the failure to build a marketing plan that included Social media, but did not solely rely on social media.
Social Medias audience in whole is something of extraordinary site. There are more people goggling right this minute then we even know how to measure in the marketing world. The audience is large and in relation to most of our businesses of very little value. But yet every day we see small business invest in Social media and lean in to the vast options and marketplaces with the assumption that the audience is listening and read to buy from them today. (Failure)
They miss that Social Media is about engagement and being social. It is about sharing value and adding to the conversation. It is about waiting for them to ask you what you have to offer and then deciding that they want to try it and share with others.
Sales is still about asking for the sale, so if your business marketing plan is dependent on the final sale, Social media can not be your largest tool in the tool box. It is a tool but not the only tool. It is the Chocolate chip to the cookie if you will. It adds value both short and long term, but ultimately picking up the phone and doing a sales call will produce a sales quicker.
There are some great companies out there training businesses how to develop inbound marketing sales engines. They do work, with time and the right mix of application. But will they ever replace the local ad channels, or telephone sales staff?
If your considering Social media in any form in your business here are a couple tips to consider:
1) What is your threshold for sales today? How many sales must you have to break even in today’s marketplace? Does your current marketing efforts add value to your sales totals today?
2) Which channel in Social media is appropriate for my business. If you sell B2B is Facebook the right channel? Does the demographics of Pintrest make since for your business?
3) Are you prepared to communicate and be social on social media?
4) Can you build content or generate a plan to create original content. (Content is King)
5) Have a patient consistent plan and Social Media will work, But in the mean time use traditional sales approach, traditional media outlets locally that have been proven to drive a sale when needed.

Social Media

How much is too much?

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