Reaching Consumers Through Social Media Conversations

Marketing and social media should be best friends. They have to be for most products and services to reach a mass market of any significance at a relatively low cost.

I’m a ‘supermarketaholic’ and enjoy visiting the biggest store close-by. Walking the lanes recently was both nostalgic and different. Nostalgic because I know this experience will change in the future as it has from my childhood. Different because I was seeing the products through a different set of eyes on that day. In the past I would be looking out for the new highly advertised product ‘seen on the television or newspaper’. Now, I’m checking out the deals and new products flittering across my mobile as I check my Facebook messages. Yes its different.

Facebook advertising works so well one does not even associate it with advertising. The images we see sometimes can draw us in with very few words. If it’s good, then the comments will get a brief review. Sometimes I will comment if I really like a product or feel interested in finding out more. If I have a bad experience, its shared by writing a negative buzz /response, that’s my act of community service to people I know.

What drives consumer spending now is much more than a hyped-up, interesting product and disposable income. It goes beyond the borders of influence and up the alley of social media marketing and promotion. Its that defining comment which resonates and reminds of a feeling!

Social media marketing & promotion

From my experience, social media marketing can be described as a mixture of penetrating a marketing image with a social media conversation strategy. The product promotion takes place in the ‘comments’ of a thread. This is then shared, over and over, by consumers who can effectively describe a ‘feeling’ of value in a few words. Indeed it is the trigger from these conversations which cannot be easily monetized as advertising, for commercial gain by a hosting platform. This has helped many brands in introducing new products. In the case of ‘the platform’ like Twitter and Facebook capturing the real commercial value is difficult based on the nature of the promotional asset — online subscribers.

There are very few ads on Facebook which will generate a feeling from me, to look further, in their present format. They give me that feeling from the past, of getting up during the commercial breaks to go for popcorn or a drink!

I’m sure the ads are pretty and relevant and I may miss a deal or two, but hey they do not impact on what I’m going to buy or where I will shop in many instances. So what is wrong with the present ‘validated promotions’ (commercial FB ads), and why don’t they appeal to many consumers like me?

Storytelling in social media marketing & promotion

One of my theories on why some ads on social media do not appeal, has to do with ‘verified experience/value added’!

The comment threads can act as a storyteller! Yes. It’s like opening a book and reading a dialogue, complete with human feelings and stimuli. I’ll share a couple examples from my consumer vision;

The Pub — There is a new outdoor mall with a pub I wanted to visit every-time I passed and saw its sign. I was caught by the name and graphics on the sign. As I scrolled one day on Facebook I glimpsed a comment on the pub, shared by a friend of a friend. There was a dissatisfied heading announcing ‘poor service at $200 per meal’. I scrolled back, and read the few lines posted on the consumer experience, and then noted a few comments listed, mainly negative feedback. As I read, I thought — “I won’t be spending $200 to be insulted anytime soon, or ever!” That was instinctive. A few days later on another thread, I read an experience one of my closest friends had at the same pub, and she keeps going there. I’m not convinced I want to give it a try, having noted the time she and the dissatisfied customer visited were very different. She also appears to know the owners, and could be getting preferential treatment. Full story ending indicates, I’m not convinced to go!

Soaps — I’ve been noting a few friends keep sharing this ad about a new line of bath soaps with herbal and natural extracts. I like Dove, but as I read the comments I’m catching a scent and feel of a different experience. Something soft, mild and without a lot of additives, and it smells divine based one comments from people I don’t know. As I hunt the lanes in search of this product, I can only recall the name and the experiences driving me not to give up! Its not on the shelves, and I go to the supervisor to ask if they carry the product line. She says “no”, but asks for a description — I pulled it up on my Facebook screen for her to see (I shared it on my timeline to have easy access)! I can check back with them on my next visit, and they will try to get some in the store! Wow, I will be going there soon.

Marketing and social media can deliver an experience, which is replicated through the buyer/consumer conversations. Good or bad, everything can get validated through the stories we hear via comments. At the end of the day, marketers need to move the customer to exchanging cash for product/service. That is the objective.

Facebook sharing is big and can lead to great success and feedback insights before a brand can be severely damaged. It should be a part of most product marketing strategies. Going beyond the superficial is the new generation marketing challenge for those able to create the authentic /real stories consumers want to read and act on. A marketing savvy person/company shares user experiences effectively. Let’s get those consumers to feel our brands, through conversations!

About the Author

Donna Luisa is a a corporate business veteran, with practical experience in a diverse range of industries — Safety/ HVAC / FMCG /Industrial Equipment /and much more . Sales, Marketing, Business Development & Coaching are combined to deliver over 30 years experience.

Customer Service: Its Importance and Value

Customer service is often overlooked by many companies because it’s hard to measure the direct value of providing great customer experience.

In today’s highly competitive market, businesses have to make tough calls on what to focus on next to survive, and unfortunately, providing customer satisfaction is usually on the lower end of the list.

Without being able to properly quantify the direct value of great service, many businesses can’t justify spending time and resources on providing it. Other businesses just see customer service more as a pain, and choose to be reactive, rather than proactive to customer expectations. However, the truth is, great customer service is absolutely crucial to the long-term survival of the business.

customer-service-happy

The Importance of Customer Service

You can argue that price is the main reason your customers choose you, so you focus your energy and resources on being the most affordable. I’m telling you, there will come a day when a competitor comes in with a better product for a cheaper price.

In the the same way, you can also argue that you focus on innovative developments and that’s why your customers buy from you. Again, there will come a day a competitor swoops in and take your customers from you because they made better innovative progress. Do you know what you can invest in that your competitors can’t take away from you? Loyalty. Good old customer loyalty.

The best way to gain customers’ loyalty? You charm them with your service.

By continuously engaging with them through customer service and marketing efforts, you are fostering a relationship with them. It’s hard for people to walk away from someone or something they have formed an attachment to.

A study conducted by Forrester Research found that strong emotional connections with a brand is a stronger driver than other factors like ‘ease’ and ‘effectiveness’ across 17 different industries.

So now you know why it’s important, what’s the value of providing great customer experience and service to create highly engaged customers?

The Value of Customer Service

1. Retaining customers is much less expensive than acquiring new ones

It’s true. Acquiring a new customer can be anywhere from 5-25 times more expensive than keeping a current one. You don’t have to spend so much time and resources finding a new customer and converting them. Instead, you just have to make sure they’re satisfied and will repurchase from you.

Customer support contributes a large portion to the retention and satisfaction of customers. Many companies put a lot of time and resources in their sales and marketing teams, when just as much emphasis should be put in support or success teams. When done right, they can have a bigger impact on your bottomline than new acquisition activities.

2. Repeat customers generally spend more than new ones

A study by McKinsey found that eCommerce spending for new customers on average is $24.50, compared to $54.50 for repeat customers. Even better, highly-engaged customers buy 90 percent more often and spend 60 percent more per transaction.Making a customer happy shouldn’t be a one time thing at the beginning of the relationship. Most relationships are more valuable the longer they are. Businesses should be putting more emphasis on their customer service, success and support teams because the financial growth potential is much larger than in newly acquired customers. Plus, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%, whereas the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20%.

2. Great service reduces the severity of overall problems.

We’ve all had problems with companies before. In the moment, you might be upset, angry, annoyed or all of the above. If you had to talk to a rude customer service rep on top of all that…I’d imagine you wouldn’t be too happy. What originally may have been a small problem would go from 0 – 100.

In the same way bad service can escalate problems, good customer service can reduce them. When delivered well, customer service can diffuse negative emotions from the customer and the situation. Excellent customer service can turn the situation around into a positive. Small things like apologizing, empathizing and being genuine can go a long way to reduce a customer’s negative emotions and the severity of the overall problem.

82% of satisfied customers will “likely” or “very likely” keep shopping with a company and give it another chance if something goes wrong.

3. Builds brand awareness with minimal effort.

Customers are being more and more vocal about how a company treats them and how a company makes them feel. Considering your customer service team are likely to be the only people in contact with a customer, they play a crucial role in shaping their customer experience, and by extension, whether they have good or bad things to say about the company.

It is therefore important that every interaction with a customer should make them feel valued, listened to and supported. Extra points for going beyond expectations like Paul from Zappos. It was a simple response to a customer whose shoes were falling apart, but he made it so much more. This ended up being shared on Reddit, Hubspot and Helpscout and championed as customer service at its best.

Zappos Customer Service

Source: Reddit

4. People remember the service a lot longer than they remember the price.

Think back to a purchase you made a couple of years back. Heck, think back a couple of months even. I can’t even remember the price of something I bought in the last few months!

What I do remember though, is the service, the delivery and the effort I had to put in to make the purchase. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. And in this case, the price you paid is the destination, and all that leading up to the purchase, is the journey. People will talk. If they liked the journey, they will recommend it to others.

5. It’s a competitive advantage no one can take away

With rapid innovation reducing differentiation between one product and another, and competitors just a click away, customer service is one of the last frontiers of sustainable competitive advantage for businesses.

Many businesses will pay lip service to the value of customer service, all the while cutting costs and resources to provide it. This will only ensure they provide the bare minimum to support customers, it doesn’t mean it’s anywhere near good enough to be a advantage. When normal customer service standard means going above and beyond for a customer, that is when customers will choose your business over someone else’s.

Customer Service Takeaway: Customer service is becoming more important than ever as competitors increase and are closer than ever. A customer is 4 times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service related than price or product related. No one wants to do business with someone they don’t like. The product or service doesn’t matter anymore. They can easily substitute with other products or services that function similarly. Customers would rather deal with the slight inconvenience that the competitor’s product or service doesn’t function the same way, than to deal with the huge inconvenience of not being supported by your business.

Customer service, when delivered to the satisfaction of customers, not only creates a powerful marketing opportunity for the business, but also helps with the bottomline. Not only are return customers easier to sell to, they will spend more per transaction and would pay extra to guarantee better service.

customer service charter template download cta woveon

Using Smart Technology for Smarter Customer Service

Smart technology is rapidly changing the world we live in today. From smart houses to high-tech artificially intelligent robots, the world we live in is being saturated with advanced technology that simplifies our lives today. One industry that is fully embracing artificial intelligence is customer service. Companies across many different industries are jumping on board and using artificial intelligence and machine learning to create chatbots, remember customer problems, and create suggested responses. These are just some of the few incredible capabilities that AI and ML and other smart technologies are bringing to the field of customer service.

How Artificial Intelligence is Leading the Smart Technology Revolution

quick-intro-ai-ml

Smart technology is transforming the customer experience, but there’s also a more self-serving business benefit from its use. Those teams enabled and empowered through the likes of AI and predictive intelligence have higher rates of employee engagement. This is because agents feel more empowered and experience first-hand the positive impact this personalized style of service is having on the customer. There are two main ways that businesses are augmenting their customer care units with AI: “front-end AI-powered bots” and “AI-assisted human agents.” A front-end AI-powered bot is a conversational computer program that interacts directly with a customer without human intervention. On the other hand, an AI-assisted human agent is a human customer service representative who is supported by AI technology. Both these models are being used in service departments across industries.

Chatbots

Of all the fields in the chatbot-crazed world, customer service is one of the prime targets for automation. Virtual customer agents (customer service-focused bots, or VCAs) are intelligent systems able to understand what users ask via chat and provide them adequate answers.

In 2015, the number of people using messaging apps overtook the number using social media. Beyond communicating with friends and work colleagues, individuals are increasingly using messaging apps to interact with brands. Messaging services are a brand new space for organizations to connect with existing and future customers. Businesses now have the opportunity to create new revenue streams using real-time, customized customer service bots within messaging applications. More than 34,000 chatbots on Facebook Messenger alone are a reflection of this opportunity. The airline, clothing and tourism industries are already leveraging this space. Consumers are connecting with brands through messaging apps to purchase airline tickets, book hotel accommodations and receive fashion advice. It’s only a matter of time before the other industries catch up.

The WeChat Messenger bot deployed by China Merchant Bank, one of the largest credit card issuers in China, is another example of a front-end bot. According to the AI technology provider Xiaoi, the China Merchant Bank’s front-end bot handles 1.5 to 2 million customer conversations per day, an inquiry volume that would typically require thousands of additional employees to answer. As most questions relate to card balances and payments, automation via a bot interface presents a relatively easy and cost efficient solution.

These above examples of chatbots already in use give a great introduction of the possibilities that AI brings to the field of customer service. AI makes it possible to create these large indexes so that the bot can respond back with pre-understood phrases or suggest responses to the human controlling it.

Suggested Responses

AI and ML are frequently misunderstood in the business world. They are not taking over jobs, but further enhancing current human positions. With suggested responses, companies can get through all of the requests at a much faster pace. AI bots can be used to read through customer requests and find the problem they are having. If you have repeat customers, customer conversation history is extremely important tool for your AI and ML. It can learn from past experiences and more accurately detect the problem the customer is having.

Conversation History

Woveon, a startup that provides intelligent customer service, uses AI programs to enhance its customer conversation history. Conversation history is simply saving past conversations between the customer and the business. Customer service representatives can then go back and use this data to help future questions the customer may have. Woveon is using this to essentially make a 3D diagram to further help the representative. The program will be able to go into the conversation history and track down the problems. It will then make a web with the biggest points being recurring problems. Branching off of the bigger problems will be other related problems that customers often have. This program, though still in development, will change the way customer service is able to work with customers. Woveon’s software, as mentioned above, is an AI-Assisted Human Agent and proves the importance of human interaction as it simplifies and speeds up these interactions.

Smart Tech Integration to the Business World

“As humans, we advance, that’s what we do. And the rise of AI in the customer service field is just another step in our advancement and should be looked at as such. There might be some growing pains during the process, but we shouldn’t let that stop us from growing and extending our knowledge. When we look at the benefits these chatbots, suggested responses, and conversation history can provide to the consumer and the business, it becomes clear that we are moving in the right direction.”

customer service charter template download cta woveon

12 Ways You Can Use Psychology in Your Marketing

Ever wanted to get into the minds of your customers and figure out how they think? Ever wanted to know the best methods to convince someone to do something?

As the study of the human mind and behavior, psychology has answers to what you’re looking for. Psychology is applicable to a wide range of fields, from daily life to counseling to human resources. But what you’re probably more concerned about is the intersection of psychology and marketing. We’ve got answers to your questions with

12 Marketing Psychology Tricks to Subtly Convince Your Leads

1. Relate to your customer.

Goldstein, Cialdini, and Griskevicius (2008) conducted a study on Using Social Norms to Motivate Environmental Conservation in Hotels. In particular, they tried to determine what kind of messaging would get hotel guests to reuse their towels.

(Credit: http://assets.csom.umn.edu/assets/118359.pdf)

They tested 3 different messages, paraphrased below:

Message Reuse rate
Commonly used message 35%
75% of guests in this hotel reuse their towels 44%
75% of guests in your room reuse their towels 50%

As you can see, the more the hotel related to its guests, the more effective its messaging was.

In another study by Burger, Messian, et al (2004), participants were asked whether they would help someone else with his/her essay. In one situation, they were told whether they had the same birthday as the essay writer. In another situation, they were told that they shared fingerprint similarities with the essay writer and whether their fingerprint similarities were common or very rare.

Comments Compliance to essay request
Different birthday 34%
Same birthday 62%

 

Comments Compliance to essay request
None 48%
Similar prints: common 55%
Similar prints: very rare 82%

Again, participants were more willing to help the essay writer if he/she seemed to be more similar to them. This phenomenon where people tend to view others who are similar to them more favorably is called in-group favoritism.

All in all, the best way to motivate your customers to do something is to say that customers in their situation have done so. Try to find common ground and draw similarities among your customers as well as between your company and your customers.

2. Start small.

This is commonly known as the foot-in-the-door technique. Freedman and Fraser (1966) knocked on doors asking if residents could do something small, such as sign a petition or put a sticker on their windows. For their control group, they skipped some houses and didn’t speak to them at all.

Some time later, Freedman and Fraser went to the exact same houses with a larger request, such as putting a large sign on their lawn, which was either related to the same issue as the previous request or related to a different issue.

Situation Compliance rate to large request
Controls 17%
Different issue / type of request 48%
Same issue / type of request 76%

They found that people whom they had already approached were much more willing to agree to their large request, nearly 3 times more willing if the request pertained to a different issue and more than 4 times more willing if the request pertained to the same issue!

Starting small and then gradually scaling up your requests is one way to convince your customers to do something. We see examples of this everywhere. First, a non-profit organization simply asks for your email address. Next, they keep you updated regarding their events and progress. Before you know it, they’re asking you to donate.

The opposite of the foot-in-the-door technique is the door-in-the-face technique, where instead of starting small, you start big. You make a large request from the get-go, maybe something ridiculous that the customer unsurprisingly turns down. Then, you make a smaller request. In this case, the customer is more likely to agree to your smaller request since it’s much less ridiculous than the large request you started off with.

3. Use random reward schedules.

You know those stamp cards that some restaurants and coffee shops give you that allow you to get a free drink on the 10th time you come? Actually, although those cards can be effective, they’re not the most effective way of incentivizing customers to come back. Instead of having a fixed ratio reinforcement schedule, where customers get rewarded every 10th time they come, you should have variable reinforcement, where customers get rewarded randomly.

This draws on a concept called operant conditioning in psychology, where we learn to associate our behaviors with events, for example, associating going back to a restaurant with getting a free drink. Operant conditioning commonly involves rewarding a behavior to get more of that behavior. (Like when you’re training your dog, you reward it every time it sits when you tell it to.)

Skinner showed this by rewarding a mouse with food in two different ways:

1) rewarding every 5th time it pressed a bar (fixed ratio schedule)

2) rewarding randomly (variable reinforcement).

He found that the second option was more long-lasting and required less reinforcement (less food)!

Although humans and animals are very different, we are also very similar. Imagine if a restaurant didn’t tell us when they’re going to give us a free drink. We’d probably be going back as much as we could to maximize our chances of getting that free drink! Cereal brands and Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory take advantage of variable reinforcement by putting golden tickets in some of their cereal boxes or candy bars, spurring us to want to buy more for a shot to win!

4. Frame your sales pitches in an appealing way.

Consider two different situations below. The original price of the jacket is $125; $23 for the tripod.

1)  marketing psychology customer experience

2) marketing psychology customer experience

Which one would you be more willing to buy if you had to drive 20 minutes to the store?

This adapted example is based on Kahneman and Tversky’s (1984) study. They found that 68% of respondents were willing to buy the tripod whereas only 29% were willing to buy the jacket. You might’ve realized that in both cases, consumers are saving the same amount: $11.50!

The point is that consumers think about gains and losses in relative terms, not absolute terms. In other words, they think in percentages, not dollars. A discount of $11.50 for the tripod is a larger percentage than a discount of $11.50 for the jacket.

When coming up with your sales pitches and marketing messages, be sure to take this into account! Think of more appealing ways of framing your messages – even if your messages are describing the same thing!

5. Appeal to your customers’ senses.

Sight

visual long term memory psychology marketing

Sight comes first because it’s probably the most important and effective sense for us humans. Brady, Konkle, Alvarez, and Oliva (2008) conducted an experiment where they flashed images of objects to participants. The images below are examples of ones that they flashed.

After flashing a certain number of images, the researchers then presented 2 similar images to participants. One image was an actual image that was flashed but the other was one that looked similar to the actual image that was flashed. They then asked participants, of the two images below, which was the one that you actually saw?

marketing psychology two remotes

They found that participants were shockingly accurate at identifying the images that were actually flashed and were not fooled by images that were incredibly similar. In other words, they remembered the visual details of the images that were flashed and could distinguish subtle differences between the images that were flashed and the images that looked similar but were not actually flashed. In fact, for 2,500 images that were flashed, the accuracy was around a whopping 90%!

psychology-marketing-cmo-online marketing strategy9

Participants’ responses were also very accurate when considering the number of items that appeared between the actual item and its match.

psychology-marketing-cmo-online marketing strategy10

What does this mean for your marketing? USE VISUALS! A lot of them! Make all of your marketing material (ads, brochures, flyers, websites, emails, blog posts, social media, etc.) visually appealing and colorful. Don’t just overwhelm your audience with tons of text! Include images, videos, and other multimedia to spice things up whenever possible.

Smell

Ever walk into a busy shopping mall and immediately recognize the strong, signature cologne of Abercrombie & Fitch? That’s a successful marketing technique right there! We can smell an A&F from miles away before seeing it, and we then simply follow our nose the rest of the way.

This marketing technique is so effective that it creates a learned association between a specific smell and a brand. In psychology, odors have been found to be highly effective retrieval cues that evoke our memories. Just imagine walking back into your house and being hit by the aroma of baked cookies in the air, reminding you of your grandma…

Why is smell such an effective sense to appeal to? One hypothesis is related to anatomy: Signals from smell go from the olfactory bulb directly to the hippocampus and to the amygdala whereas signals from other senses take less direct routes. Another hypothesis is related to evolution: We as humans needed our sense of smell back in the day to hunt for food and survive. The last hypothesis is related to dilution: Try to imagine a smell. It’s harder than imagining a picture or sound, right? Because smells are harder to rehearse, researchers propose that this makes them stay stuck in the context in which you sensed them.

Hearing

1-877-KARS-4-KIDS

K-A-R-S Kars4Kids

1-877-KARS-4-KIDS

Donate your car today.

877-241-LUNA

I bet you sang those jingles in your head just now. The crazy thing is, the Luna jingle is at least 10 years old. How can we still remember it now?

All thanks to great marketing!

On top of that, the famous experiment with Pavlov’s dogs highlighted the phenomenon of classical conditioning. Pavlov rang a bell, served his dog with meat, measured the amount of salivation, and repeated this. After several trials, he found that even if he rang a bell and didn’t serve his dog with meat, his dog would still salivate. His dog had created a learned association betweeen the bell ringing and being served meat.

We, as humans, can be classically conditioned too. If you, as a marketer, can create a jingle that gets stuck in everyone’s heads for very long and creates a learned association between the jingle and your brand, then you’re golden. Think about the McDonald’s jingle!

6. Capture your audience’s attention.

Time for a quiz! Which image below is the correct one for the penny?

psychology-marketing-cmo-online marketing strategy5

Why is this quiz harder than expected? If you’re an American, you see tons of pennies regularly. Did our elementary school education go to waste?

Not to worry! 1) As you can see below, there are many people on the same boat.

psychology-marketing-cmo-online marketing strategy6

2) This psychology study shows that it’s not the number of pennies we see that matters, but the amount of attention we devote.

In another study, Castel, Vendetti, and Holyoak (2012) surveyed employees in a building. Although the average time that the employees had worked in the building was 4.5 years, only 1 in 4 people knew where the nearest fire extinguisher was. Not devoting attention to these sorts of things could be very dangerous!

What does this mean for your marketing? Make sure to capture and direct your audience’s attention. If you’re writing a blog and want your audience to pay attention to an important call to action, image, video, or link, be sure to call your audience’s attention to that, maybe by mentioning it explicitly in your writing or by making it stand out on the screen.

Also, don’t clutter your webpages! I think we’ve all been victim to webpages with lots of ads and content, which can be incredibly overwhelming and make it difficult to find what exactly to focus on. In these scenarios, if I’m reading an article, for example, I find myself scrolling past and ignoring anything other than the text. But sometimes, I find out that there was an image or table I missed that was actually relevant to the article. You don’t want this to happen with the amazing content you’ve created! Especially in this age with information overload which has resulted in short attention spans, strive to engage your audience and capture their undivided attention. Appealing to the senses works here as well!

7. Use eye contact.

Have you ever “borrowed” something from work or school without asking? Bateson, Nettle, and Roberts (2006) investigated how to prevent this from happening. They set up an “honesty box” in a coffee room at a university for people to pay for their coffee and put up either a control image (for example, a picture of flowers) or a photo of eyes.

psychology-marketing-cmo-online marketing strategy4

It turned out that when eyes were displayed, coffee enthusiasts paid THREE TIMES as much! This shows the importance of the creepy feeling of being watched and how we care so much about our reputations.

How should you use eye contact in marketing without creeping out your customers? Uncle Sam can be seen putting this into practice.

uncle sam marketing psychology

If you’re pitching to a customer or investor, be sure to make eye contact with them. Try to incorporate eye contact into your ads and marketing material. Ever wonder why the Trix bunny and the Cap’n Crunch captain are looking down? To make eye contact with the kids who want the cereal!

capn crunch cereal eye contact marketing

8. Use the power of 7.

What’s so powerful about the number 7? Well, it’s the number of chunks of information that you can hold in your short-term memory.

What’s a chunk of information? Consider the phone number 877-241-LUNA from above. Luna was clever to chunk the last 4 digits of their phone number. So instead of remembering the last 4 digits as 4 separate chunks of information, you only need to remember LUNA as 1 chunk of information. Kars4Kids does an even better job of chunking their phone number into an easy-to-remember, catchy phrase.

This technique doesn’t just apply to phone numbers; it can apply to product specifications, websites, prices, and more! Chabris (1999) further showed that chess players use chunking to remember the setup of the board. They were better at remembering a setup that could occur during a game (taking the rules of chess into account) compared to a random setup (not taking the rules of chess into account).

How else can you chunk and make things easier to remember? Think back to how you remembered the orders of operation in math or the taxonomies in biology. Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally? (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction) Did King Phillip Come Over For Good Spaghetti? (Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species)

Using acronyms or mnemonics and creating structure and constraints that limit the options are effective ways to help people remember things. Remembering an acronym is essentially chunking all those pieces of information into a single chunk!

In marketing, you’re going to have to be as memorable as you can to your customers. Make sure you don’t overwhelm them with too much information that they won’t remember. Keep the power of 7 in mind.

9. Throw your customers an anchor.

“What?” you’re probably thinking. Let me explain what I mean by this. In psychology, there is a cognitive bias called “anchoring.”

Consider this question: Is the proportion of African nations that are in the UN greater than 15%? What is the actual proportion?

  1. 0-10
  2. 10-20
  3. 20-30
  4. 30-40
  5. 40-50
  6. 50-60
  7. 60-70
  8. 70-80
  9. 80-90
  10. 90-100

My psychology professor, Professor Daniel Swingley, asked his class this question and aggregated the results into the bar chart below.

Notice anything unusual about this chart? Nearly all the responses are clustered around 15%, with the range “10-20” having the highest percentage.

psychology-marketing-cmo-online marketing strategy11

This quick example question was modeled off of a study conducted by Englich, Mussweiler, and Strack (2006) called Playing dice with criminal sentences: the influence of irrelevant anchors on experts’ judicial decision making. German judges and lawyers rolled two dice and decided whether the sentence for a shoplifter would be higher or lower than the sum of the numbers on the two dice. Below are the results.

Condition Average sentence
Only {1, 2} come up on dice (sum = 3) 5 months
Only {3, 6} come up on dice (sum = 9) 8 months

These results are shocking because the decisions made by the German judges and lawyers were influenced by something as arbitrary as a dice roll. The higher the dice roll, the higher the average sentence decided on by the judges and lawyers.

Why does this happen? Well, when there’s a lot of uncertainty or not enough time to make a decision, we tend to succumb to unusual and shocking influences. Anchoring adjustment occurs when we start with a random number and adjust it a little based on what we know. Think about the question about the UN above. Unless you have a lot of experience with the UN and/or know a lot about it, you probably wouldn’t have any idea about the proportion of African countries in the UN. You scramble for a reference point or anchor to go off of, and if this is provided in the question, you immediately seize it and base/pivot your thinking off of that.

In psychology, this phenomenon, “activating particular representations or associations in memory just before carrying out an action or task,” is called priming, which is one way to explain anchoring. The effort of adjustment also explains the small adjustments around the anchor.

But how is this related to marketing? As shocking as this is in terms of the ethics of deciding on a criminal sentence, you can still use this in an ethical way to maximize your revenues. Let’s pretend that you’re on the phone with a potential customer. Let’s also say that this customer might not be very knowledgeable of a suitable price range for your product. Maybe he/she doesn’t know much about the pricing of competing products or the prospective value of your product. With an email, your customer would have time to do some research and think through the pricing more, but when he/she is on the phone in the hot seat, time is constrained, and he/she needs to think and respond quickly on the spot.

This would be an ideal situation for you to use anchoring. What’s the best thing for you to do here? Maybe start off by suggesting a relatively high price (but not absurdly high) that sets an anchor for your customer to base off of. With little prior knowledge, he/she would use this as his/her single data point. Further thinking and discussion will likely be clustered around this reference point.

This overlaps with the door-in-the-face technique mentioned above, where you start high and then potentially negotiate a bit lower later on.

A word of caution: Be very careful in gauging whether or not your customer is knowledgeable about the field. You don’t want to risk angering a knowledgeable customer by assuming he/she wasn’t knowledgeable and offering a price that he/she knows is too high compared to competing products. Some knowledgeable customers might take it well, but others might not. Ultimately, starting with a relatively high price is merely a suggestion. Anchoring is backed up with empirical evidence, and you can feel free to keep it in mind and use your judgment to decide how best to adapt and apply it to your specific situations.

10.Put your audience to work.

Again, you’re probably like, “What? Why would I do that to my audience when the tendency for all of us humans is to be lazy?”

But if you want someone to remember something longer, Craik and Tulving (1975) showed that you need to get them to work and put in more effort. In other words, the depth of processing is key.

Craik and Tulving showed subjects a list of words and asked them to do a task for each word. Then, they asked subjects to recall as many words as they could. The results are shown below.

Task Recall rate
Press button (a) if word is in caps, (b) if not 15%
Press button (a) if word rhymes with “train”, (b) if not 47%
Press button (a) if word makes sense in “He saw a _____ in the street.” 81%

As you can see, the more work the subjects had to put into their thinking (the greater their depth of processing), the more words they remembered.

So how can you put your audience to work, but not in a dreadful way? Think about the content in your Facebook or Twitter feed that piques your interest the most. Is it the ads that are mixed into the photos of puppies on your feed? Or is it the BuzzFeed quizzes such as “Which Disney Princess Are You?

Probably the latter! That said, think about how to incorporate similar quizzes and activities into your marketing campaigns. If you work for a laptop company, maybe you could create a quiz, “Which Laptop Are You?” In fact, if you’re at any company that sells a range of products, you can create a quiz that determines “Which _____ Are You?” to help customers with their buying decisions.

Another way to apply this psychology study is to ask your audience rhetorical questions. Why are rhetorical questions so effective in ads, presentations, and more? Because they get your audience actively thinking rather than passively observing. It increases the depth of processing.

Dale’s Cone of Experience summarizes this idea nicely in a visual.

dales cone of experience marketing psychology

The moral of the story is that making something more engaging and hands-on is more effective in getting someone to remember it. Remember: There’s always a way to make something more interactive. Strive to effectively engage your audience.

11. Invite your friends.

Consider the two networks of friends below.

Christakis Fowler smoking friend networks-psychology-marketing-cmo-online marketing strategy Christakis Fowler smoking friend networks2-psychology-marketing-cmo-online marketing strategy

Notice anything for the smoking groups?

Christakis and Fowler (2008) found that smokers tend to be friends with smokers and nonsmokers tend to be friends with nonsmokers. Smoking dropped by around 50% from 1971 to 2000, but these social groups didn’t change in size. Groups of smokers shrank in number, not size.

What does this mean? This means that smokers quit smoking in social groups. Christakis and Fowler also found that smokers moved more toward the social peripheral and became less likely to be a “hub” of a social group. For mutual friends, one friend quitting makes the other 43% likely to quit as well.

In terms of marketing, why do you think so many marketing campaigns are founded on “Invite your friends”? The truth is that your friends have a lot of influence on you. Think about all those times you tried something new just because your friends did it and encouraged you to do it too!

Harness the power of social groups in your marketing, and you can drive the next trend.

12. Ask your customers to pay in advance.

Think back to your favorite band 5 years ago. What is the maximum amount you’d pay to see them now?

Now think about your current favorite band. What is the maximum amount you’d pay to see them in 5 years?

What you’re realizing now is that you probably answered a higher amount for the second question than the first, even though it doesn’t really make sense rationally. Well, you’re in the same boat as the subjects in a study conducted by Quoidbach, Gilbert, and Wilson (2013)

mean for first question $80
mean for second question $129

They concluded that “participants substantially overpaid for a future opportunity to indulge a current preference.”

You could potentially take advantage of this by asking your customers to pay in advance for what they want, before they have time to change their preferences!

Now, time to put theory to practice and apply psychology to YOUR marketing!

Smart Technology Around You

Smart technology is what makes up the future, where electronic device usage is concerned. What started with the smart phone, at least on the consumer level, has now progressed to smart entertainment systems, smart vehicles, and even smart industrial as well as healthcare technologies. Even the elderly care sector has benefitted to some extent, from the advent of smart technology, which is an incredible precedent, to be used in the favour of technologies of the future.

However, with better technology and smarter machines and devices, comes the question of whether or not we should depend on this technology for our daily tasks and guidance, as well as whether the technology you are about to purchase, in order to make your life more convenient, is right for you or not. The ideal answer to this is explained in the following paragraphs, after being broken down into some aspects of your life where you might use smart technology.

Smart Technology – It’s All Around You

Fitness and Sport

The fitness world has always been a very precise one, at least at the higher levels, where individuals train for months and months to shave off those fractions of a second that mean the difference between victory and losing. Even for those concerned about general fitness, tracking the body’s performance over a given period of time has become something of paramount importance. The measuring of steps is done religiously, and each calorie is melted off with hard work and determination, while the person is busy tracking the progress.

Smart technologies have made their market in the fitness world through the advent of wristbands and other equipment that track the progress of your body while performing whatever exercise you choose. A great many athletes and fitness enthusiasts swear by these technologies, as they have proven quite effective in the field. However, at the same time, there are some that regard smart fitness gadgets to be nothing more than accessories, and not viable purchases at all.

This is where the conflict lies on this front, as wearable gadgets have proven to be necessary to determine the performance of athletes in the higher echelons. However, the question of whether they are viable for the casual fitness enthusiast is still unanswered. It can be safely said though, that smart technology presents an edge, a slight advantage, where performance tracking is concerned.

Health and Longevity

Technology can aid in the promotion and development of longevity in individuals; that much has been proven over time. Be it the invention of smart new vaccines that combat an ever-increasing number of diseases and afflictions, to implants that monitor health and send out alerts whenever there is any major deviation from the normal; technology has contributed tremendously towards general health.

In recent times, technology, and more specifically smart technology, has proven to be invaluable in the race to prolong life and maintain good health for longer. This is an endeavour that is being taken at a national level in Australia and various other countries across the world, that are realising that smart technology is the way to go when it comes to advanced health and longevity management, for both the young and more specifically, the elderly.

This proves that it is of vital importance to bring more smart technology into the fields of health and longevity promotion for the elderly.

Home Improvement and Security

home-improvement-security-smart-technology

Home automation systems are already a major presence on the market, with offerings from some of the biggest tech giants, such as Amazon, Microsoft and Apple already making waves everywhere. As a whole, they have proven to be exciting additions to homes everywhere, and have already made their place in the homes where they have been installed. However, as beneficial as they are, the general public still seems averse to the idea of having a relatively expensive device that simply aids in a few tasks that can very easily be performed by the individual themselves.

Realistically however, if we look at all the benefits that smart technology provides in this regard, there should be no doubt that it is advantageous, and will continue to be increasingly so, since the technology, despite having been on the market for some years now, is still not very mature in terms of seamless home improvement and security.

Security is one area where smart technology can be actually beneficial. Advanced security cameras with instantaneous high-speed streaming and all-encompassing vision, motion, heat and expression tracking systems, are all viable applications of smart technology in the home security field.

All in all, smart technology has been found to be massively beneficial, when it has been released after considerable research and development. For now, the technology is still in the development phase across the world, although the future does look incredibly bright for advanced technologies.

Dream A Little Bigger – Why Multi-Channel is Dead

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to help Professor Jerry Wind write his latest book, ‘Beyond Advertising.’ The research touches over a few concepts, including the need for businesses to create marketing campaigns and brand alignments resulting in benefits not just for themselves, but for their consumers and beyond. Backed with a worksheet-style framework and a slew of case studies, Professor Wind suggests that consistent messaging, distributed and orchestrated over a wide variety of channels, would lead to a consistent and altogether more effective customer journey.

Professor Wind was correct in his conclusion. In a generation where people have shorter attention span than goldfish, are forgetful and chained to their phones, and consistently lost and addicted to immediate gratification, it’s not enough to focus on how small interactions affect customer behavior. To move from these reactive, ineffective attempts at understanding people, marketers and customer service agents need to move away from analyzing points, tickets, and individual channels. The first step is cutting out this idea of marketing and customer service as multi-channel.

Multichannel Marketing and Customer Service is Dead

Bailing a Sinking Ship With a Solo Cup

To break into this concept of moving past multi-channel, it’s worth looking at a concrete example as to how and why multi-channel strategy doesn’t work in the first place. There are any number of case studies which address the topic. My personal favorite might be an onboarding study in the telecom business. A large telecom company tracked interactions that customers, such as an initial price consultation. In every given stage, customers were asked to rate their experience. Over all the polls, their experiences were positive. Viewed holistically, however, customers had a negative opinion of the process and the brand itself. Executives had to take a step back and think about not just the reaction of such calls, but the reasons behind them. By spending the time to examine the reasons why there were so many interactions, as well as bringing in customers to help them design a better process, they were able to engineer a far more effective onboarding process.

The brand needed to understand customers and their emotions rather than resolving sets of tickets. To compare this to the view of multi-channel considered originally, although consistency of quality was carried out over the different channels, the experience itself was not necessarily well-received.

A contrasting point is the success of healthcare IT company Flatiron Health. A large portion of their success is based in breaking down silos between patient touch points. By relating data between things such as EMRs and clinical research, as well as back and forth with patients, Flatiron is able to find successful trends in clinical and patient care. Additionally, by putting their product managers in hospitals to shadow nurses and doctors, Flatiron was able to listen more effectively to not just their clinic customers, but also to the patients their system is used for. By putting a focus on informing patients – not just doctors – both parties have an improved experience. Patients understood their therapy better and had easier ways to alert their doctor of changes while doctors had better information to inform future decisions. Flatiron’s astronomical growth rate and funding rounds speak for themselves in terms in contrast to the success and usability of traditional EMR systems. By focusing on net experience, rather than traditional touchpoint management, Flatiron was able to deliver better product and growth.

To formalize this into concrete business concepts, Chris Meyer proposes a possible explanation in Harvard Business Review about the customer experience

Multi-channel marketing and customer service is built on CRM management – tracking events, instances, and facts without focusing on the experiences and problems underneath. While there is a wide breadth of this information, it is still distinct from the concepts of motivation, experience and feeling. To really switch, businesses require a fundamentally different view towards how they try and get brands to align with people – or more simply, just seeing people as people.

While multi-channel itself an ineffective management strategy, it is worth mentioning how this thinking is ineffective for corporate sustainability as well. With customers using a wider number of channels – and methods of using those channels changing as well – thinking about channels as rigid entities sets a business up to be permanently behind the rate of change. In one Entrepreneur article, the writer posited that the rate of capturing the value of new platforms wasn’t as much of a problem anymore as the rate at which companies can adopt to them. Focusing on multi-channel will leave managers on an adoption rate treadmill, exacerbating the lack of visibility they have on their customers.

An Experience is Worth More Than 1000 Words

Nearly as soon as Professor Wind’s book came out, parts of its research were already bending to the breakneck speed at which digital marketing is changing. As IBM observed in their most recent CMO survey , the traditional silos – both in terms of industry and channel – are breaking down. CMOs are no longer the masters of ‘the campaign’ or creative geniuses, they are engineers of customer experience. Concisely, in the same survey, Mohamed AlTajer writes “There won’t be CMOs in the future; there will be Chief Experience Officers who are responsible for the overall customer journey.”

Relating to Professor Wind’s book, his work sets the stage for what will be a needed change in outlook and approach. People fundamentally expect the same experience over any channel we interact with. In other words, people don’t just want consistency when dealing with companies, they want an ongoing conversation. Too long has marketing and customer service focused on what is corporately efficient without realizing that by accommodating and listening customers, both succeed.

This is a relatively abstract concept that is illustrated well by clothing company Patagonia. Patagonia is built upon a number of principles including use of recycled materials, a permanent one percent of revenue commitment to grassroots activism, and a culture based off the mountain climbing past of it’s founder, Yvon Chouinard. They branded around the catchphrase “Don’t Buy This Jacket,” urging customers to consider the environmental implications of the clothes they were buying and to encourage them to buy use. In an act in line with their guiding principles, considerate to their customers, and seemingly flying in the face of a proper sales campaign, Patagonia’s sales actually exploded. () By sticking to their philosophy and informing their customers, Patagonia has maintained it’s shopper experience as an outdoors brand and continued to be a model brand of customer and corporate goals aligning.

Bottom of the Ninth

In an age where social media and customer management is an increasingly crowded landscape, what do businesses needs to change to actually understand their customers?

In part, the change in cultural. Think about the idea of the traditional sales team. The concept, although certainly profitable, is not always the most healthy extension of company culture. This introduces a risk of divide between the culture of the sales team and the rest of the team. In an ideal corporate structure, everyone in a company believes in their brand alignment and, through their work, help contributes to its success. To cite Michael Keller, CEO of Pearson’s Candy, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

To illustrate this, consider REI, the outdoor clothing and supply behemoth. REI seeks out employees passion about their products – in other words, ‘outdoorsy people’ – and the same people that would buy the products themselves. REI employees also lead sessions teaching things such as kayaking, get discounts on their products, and even days off to go outside and play. This unapologetic commitment to culture has led to a massive boon in sales, especially in comparison to some of their less-focused competitors. Rather than focus on channel-specific campaigns and tracking, by curating a culture, REI was able to drive sales effectively.

To tie this concept more directly to the sales and marketing front, Atlassian stands out. As one of the few Australian unicorn companies, their lack of sales team has generated a lot of buzz. While potentially alarming at first, it is relatively easy to see this success is attributed to founders devoted to the need for their own product, building a culture where people want to work, and making all aspects of the company, to some extent, marketing. By creating a product that they loved themselves and employees that wanted to work there, the marketing came from largely word of mouth. Combined with distributing their software for free, Atlassian blossomed into a massive company. Co-founder Scott Farquhar notes, “I passionately believe about giving experience. Mainly to employees but also to customers… People remember experiences that you give them.In other words, your own employees should be your brand’s biggest advocate, and their actions will help a product sell itself. In the same vein, Palantir, backed with a 0 dollar marketing budget, relies nearly entirely on the passion of its employees to drive and perfect it’s product. As one of the most valuable privately held companies in the valley, it’s safe to say the tactic is working.

A Product Is Worth a Thousand Words

Aside the more intangible changes of culture, the answer isn’t to stop tracking points – in fact, tracking is as relevant as ever – but to approach how we integrate conversations into marketing, sales, and, most importantly, product differently. As companies break down their multi-channel induced silos, they need to integrate customer interactions with how they build their product.

I think summary of all of this can come from a talk I went to with Eone Watch’s founder, Hyungsoo Kim. In his attempt to make a watch for the blind, he quickly realized that his perceptions of building and selling the product were completely wrong. He had made a series of assumptions about the blind, including that they could read braille and wouldn’t care as much about the appearance of the watch. In testing, soon realized how painfully wrong he was, with around 10% of his test users knowing braille and appearance being one of the most asked questions. Bringing the product back to the drawing board, the watch was re-designed to be appealing and usable to blind and sighted alike, an intuition that only came from having blind people work closely with the product team.

While companies talk to a variety of customers, usually not as specific of a market segment as the one targeted by Hyungsoo, it is easy to make a number of simplifications and projections based off what we as businesses feel like we should be focusing on and what people will want. Multi-channel, as Professor Wind examined and built on, is necessarily reactive. It precludes companies from seeing the underlying motivations behind customers and precludes them from building their best products. If we follow stories, rather than words and points, it’ll be much easier to predict the next chapter. So let’s stop thinking of marketing and customer service as pages, but rather books about people.

Has customer service and experience changed? What’s next for your business?

Guest Blog By Cassie McInnes

That is a very good question! The answer is yes, and no. I’ll explain why.

Why the meaning of customer service and experience hasn’t changed

The description of ‘customer’, ‘service’ and ‘experience’ remains the same in the dictionary:

Customer: Someone who buys goods or services from a business or a person who has a particular quality.

Service: The action of helping or doing work for someone.

Experience: Direct observation of or participation in events as a basis of knowledge.

I like to keep service simple, because it is. (Except it is so simple, it often gets missed).

Service = kindness.

service-kindness-helping-hand

So in these simple terms, service has not changed one bit. The language of the heart is love and we know and understand love. No, I do not mean a certain kind of love, for example the way you love your mum or the way you love your partner. I’m just talking about the pure energy or effort that’s put into any interaction because it is ‘the right thing to do for someone else’. To me, this part stays the same, always.

So, then, what has changed and continues to change?

Our awareness has changed. We’ve woken up. Gone are the days where you’ll hear a company say they don’t have a Customer Service Training module in their on-boarding programs. And if you are reading this and you don’t have induction training that focuses on CS/CX, then you really need to wake up. It is predicted that in a few years, the main reason for losing or gaining customers will be how they are treated. Historically, it has been price and convenience (due to the increasing population of mega corporations competing against each other). Yes, we all agree value for money is important and we all want to save our hard earned dollars. However, value does not just mean low cost, we all know the saying ‘you get what you pay for’. So, the meaning of value is changing.

Our customer satisfaction tools are smarter

No matter how much a business ‘thinks’ they know what a customer wants – the best way to know for sure and keep up with them by always listening to them. This is usually done by methods including:

  • Customer Satisfaction Surveys (CSAT)
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Email/ post/ text surveys
  • Real time feedback during any interaction
  • Response on social media
  • Word of mouth/ Branding

Many jobs are created for all those listed above, and businesses are not shying away from putting in to get more out.

If you are a smart business owner, your CX investments will be going into all of your departments, as happy and engaged staff will ensure your chance of happier customers.

When it comes to specific CS/CX budgets, the investment focus of your business should not just be in customer service. The focus needs to be in every division in your business. If you do this and cooperate accordingly, it will result in a positive, healthy and safe culture. Some examples of divisional teams you would want working together are: your managers working on positive leadership initiatives, reward and recognition, social activities, physical and mental health initiatives and development of staff. All of these divisions should be constantly reminded of your organisational service goal or model and the behaviours demonstrated should mirror this in every interaction.

The training for CX and CS coaching and training is evolving at a rapid rate. There is increased research and awareness abroad in marketing, behavioural science and communication skills. In general, people are struggling mentally everywhere, life is tough. One in five Australians will experience mental health issues in any given year and up to fifty four percent to do not seek help. So, people are not feeling okay generally and are craving to be treated better just to get through their day. Because of this, businesses are learning that they not only have customers to win over for business but they have responsibility humankind to help customers through service or as I like to say, kindness. For any caring and sensible manager, it makes sense to be a star in service and experience.

 

cassie-mcinnes-customer-service-customer-experience-expert-woveonCassie is an expert in the field of customer service and coaching and loves to develop people. As a certified trainer and facilitator, Cassie is also passionate about designing and teaching Service Training and linking it to behavioural science. In 2014, she received the award for ’emerging manager of the year’​ along with 29 other National winners for The Australian Institute of Management’s “30 under 30″​ program. She was also awarded the state award for Collaboration at The ARCBS in 2014 which Cassie attributes to her passion for teamwork. One of Cassie’s favourite quotes is: ‘We are all in this together’​.

How to Do Customer Service The Right Way

Customer service is an extremely important part of a business. Your product is what catches your customers attention, and your service is what keeps them loyal. A strong company will already have great customer relationships. But a smart company will always be asking “What is good customer service?” If you are not constantly on the lookout for opportunities to improve your customer service, then your relationships will stagnate. Here are a few customer service tips for identifying ways to better serve customers.

Customer Service Done Right

1. Get Personal

Your customers want to feel like they have access to real people, not bots and FAQs. Offer more than just automated email responses, and do not let your telephone prompts or website send them down a rabbit hole. Take full advantage of social media (such as Facebook, Twitter and Yelp) and write responses when your customers post on your page. Post photos and bios on your website. This shows your customers that you are real people working on their behalf.

2. Be Available

contact us customer service

Part of the personal touch is making sure your customers can reach you. For example if your business is primarily online, meet in person occasionally with local customers and offer video calls (such as Skype) for those farther away. Work early and late when needed, especially if your customers are in different time zones. Even providing customers with your physical address helps build their trust and reminds them that your company exists off the internet as well.

3. Cater to Your Customers

Make sure you are fully meeting your customers needs. Consider assigning reps to specific customers so they can build a relationship. Offer VIP treatment for your best customers to let them know they are appreciated. What special services might your customers like? Set up focus groups, interview customers, or run a survey to get ideas.

4. Create Communities

Your customers will feel even more valued if you treat them as important members of a community. You can bring various customers together in numerous ways, including webinars, interactive websites, social media, trade shows and conventions. And don’t forget that while your customers come to these forums to learn from you, you can learn as much, if not more, from them.

5. Specials Services / VIP

Are there special discounts or services you can offer that your competitors don’t? Can you offer something special for existing customers only? Could your services be considered luxury? Offering special treatment to your customers will help them to feel taken care of, and it’s also something they might be willing to pay more for. There are so many “bait and switch” offers and promotions for new customers only– reward the customers that have been with you the longest.

6. Offer Knowledge

Building strong relationships with our customers is great, but we also get to offer and trade knowledge with them. In our trade, a customer can compare several competing copies of a book online, but they won’t get a conversation about the title’s complicated printing history. When we’re speaking with customers, we spend the majority of time talking about the merchandise itself, trends in the market, and the customer’s own collecting habits. Afterward, we negotiate a deal. A customer can even know more than you do on a particular topic! Take advantage of this opportunity to learn more.

7. Let Customers Get to Know You

customer thumbs up

If you’re running your business from an unknown (or internet-only) location, it makes you more anonymous. This is common nowadays, but adding a face or an address to your business could help assure customers that you won’t disappear overnight. You don’t have to rent office space if you don’t really need it; just be upfront about where you operate from and consider ways of contacting customers aside from email. A little personal information can go a long way, and could minimize concerns of accessibility, trust, or safety.

Customer service is an extremely important aspect of your business that is often overlooked. Following these simple steps can boost your customer’s loyalty to your company and also increase sales! I suggest you start by creating some customer service goals for your support team. Be sure to align these goals to your business goals so you’re on track! This Customer Service Goal Template will help you get started!

How Do You Know If The Customer Service Representative You’re Hiring Will Boost Customer Loyalty?

Customer service, the faces behind the business. When hiring customer service representatives, it is important to look for people that will represent your company well. They are one of a few direct contacts that your customers will get. Because of this, it is extremely important to leave a good impression. Having friendly and helpful service agents at the front line is important to the longevity of any business.

Tabatha Naylor writes, “Customers don’t buy from businesses they don’t trust, end of story. Luckily, building trust in a customer/business relationship doesn’t have to be difficult. While it does take effort, the steps to get there are easy if you are willing to be open, honest, and efficient when communicating with customers.” Finding people to hire for your customer service team is extremely important and these are some of the traits you should be looking for:

The Art Behind Hiring The Best Customer Service Representatives

1. Self control

You are sure to come across customers who will be difficult to deal with. For this reason, you must have self control. You must be able to handle both the easy and hard times that comes with serving the public.

2. Superior communication skills

If you aren’t a good communicator, then customer service may not be the field for you. Customer service jobs require that you deal heavily with the public. Do you know how to handle the many problems that come with customers? Communication skills are essential to get a good customer service job.

Communicating to tough customers can be hard, but they don’t have to be! Here’s 5 email templates to get you out of a sticky situation with an angry customer.

3. They are Loyal

Author Alexander Kjerulf says, “Happy employees make the customers happy”. It might sound rather straightforward, but happiness and satisfaction within a company will inevitably lead to loyalty.

When interviewing a candidate, pay attention to what they say about the previous companies they’ve worked for. There might be some underlying unhappiness, but a potential employee that speaks highly of their previous company despite having left is one that is both respectful and loyal. A loyal customer care representative will put the company’s interest first when dealing with difficult customers. They are likely try their best to protect the company’s image even in the presence of the most difficult customers.

4. Natural Problem Solvers

Companies that excel at customer service don’t wait for a problem to arise before addressing it. One of the great customer service skills is the ability to take a preemptive approach in managing possible risks and being prepared when a problem does arise.

Similarly, customer service employees must be able to provide a solution even before the customer poses the question (within reason, of course). In combination with a problem-solving nature, the candidate should also be a great listener in order to gather “clues” and read between the lines during communication.

In customer service, nothing is perfect and things will go wrong. This is not a failure. The best businesses show how they fix their mistakes.

5. Willing to go the extra mile to please customers

Hotel-CX-Customer service skills-customer success-communication-marketing-cmo-woveon

The customer always comes first and is ALWAYS right. You must be willing to go the extra mile to please each and every customer. Sometime, this can be at the expense of your pride. You must be willing to swallow your pride and move on.

6. They are highly conscientious

Look for candidates who are highly conscientious. The candidate that arrives late for the interview, looking completely flustered and confused is probably not the ideal choice.

Conscientious individuals are reliable, disciplined, methodical, organized, and goal driven. The Journal of Applied Social Psychology noted that individuals who are identified through tests as highly conscientious are more likely to be aware of how good interpersonal interactions positively affect customer service and are more likely to behave this way.

To a degree, conscientious individuals are pleasers in the sense that they are aware of what works for certain people and what doesn’t. They have a strong intuition about what is morally right and wrong as well as how to treat others.

When customers call a company they’re actively seeking help in resolving a problem. A conscientious customer service agent will be better equipped to pick up the clues interlaced in the customer’s words, which will allow them to resolve pain points.

7. Customer appreciation

A good job in customer service will require that you have a general appreciation to customers. After all, they are the ones who will be providing you with a job. Without them, your job would not be necessary.

8. They are Persuasive

A great customer service employee will also have some amazing marketing and sales skills. It’s not always about being a manipulator, but being able to steer the customer into a direction that is beneficial for both the company and the client.

If you want to know if your candidates have this trait, ask a simple question in the interview such as, “Why should we hire you?.” This way they have to sell themselves in a persuasive manner while listing qualities, traits and reasons–a perfect, practical test of their customer service skills.

Get Out and Hire!

When interviewing candidates to become your next customer service hero, look for for these qualities, traits and skills. Look for someone who is communicative, persuasive, is polite, patient, conscientious, and loyal. Remember these are the people who will be serving your customers directly and you want a positive impact so your customers return again and again!

customer service charter template download cta woveon

Ensure Your Clients Always Succeed!

The one key area that you need to look at when you want to run a successful business is ensuring that you can keep your clients happy. When your clients are happy they will look at your lead generation, customer service and marketing efforts as a source of validation that all the hard work your team is doing is paying off! Businesses who understand this, then end up having many repeat customers, because people like surrounding themselves and working with successful businesses. This is why customer success is paramount. How can you manage this effectively?

The Customer Success Factor

So, why is success for clients so important? It is because every major business needs to realize the value of helping their partners achieve success as well. The fundamentals of business haven’t changed over time, but the only thing that has changed is that now businesses must ensure that their clients are successful. This can be tricky sometimes because you must do business with a company that wants to work with yours to ensure complete success in their industry.

SEE also: Intelligent Customer Conversation Responses

This means that every business strategy that you come up with, must also include how it affects the success of the client. This is done to ensure that all aspects are covered, and there are no disappointments after business is concluded. There are multiple strategies that you can employ with the right vision and commitment at the forefront to ensure that your business partners and clients are happy and satisfied. It is important to take the success factor into account, because you need to create love between your business and your customers.

The Customer is Always King

the customer is always right

Any business that places the interests of its customers above their own is going to be a successful business, because they are going to go out of their way to make sure that the customer is happy. Most businesses that fail, do so because they stop caring about their customers. This fact alone that 60% of consumers stopped doing business with a brand due to poor customer service should ring alarm bells for a few . Depending on the reports, this number can jump to over 82% of consumers. It is important that you always treat the customer properly, and remember that they are always the king.

If your business is failing to win over more customers, you should probably look at what kind of customer experience you are offering to your clients. There is enough data around that points to the importance of great customer experience in helping businesses retain and attract new clients.

  • It also states that 90% of businesses will go to a direct competitor if they are given poor customer experience.
  • Nearly 60% of clients are willing to pay more to receive better customer experience.

Businesses that fail to value their clients, and don’t care about their success are likely to lose out, and not get ahead in their industry. Therefore, it is imperative that you find out creative ways to ensure that you give priority to customer success. We want you to succeed, which is why we are going to provide you with 3 creative ways you can ensure that your clients always succeed.

1. Genuine Interaction – Treat them right

Make sure that you have genuine interactions with your customers, because it is the only way that you are going to help them feel at home. There is no secret about the fact that happy clients are much more willing to work with you and provide you with better word of mouth regarding your business. By treating your customers properly, you will ensure that you build a genuine interaction with them, and they will feel better in doing business with you.

2. Don’t come across as too strong

You need to always respect your clients if you want to keep them happy and satisfied with your services. That is the main reason why you should always treat your clients with respect, because if they are upset with you, then your business is the one that is going to suffer. Disgruntled customers are not good for business, and that is where you need to be patient, have empathy and listen to the customer.

You should do everything in your power to get your client in a better mood and try to resolve their issues. There aren’t going to be many clients lining up to work for your business if you don’t work with your clients in a respectful manner.

3. Hear their problems

classic telephone

Listen, listen, listen. You should always be listening to your customer’s problems so that you can help them in times of trouble. There are not many businesses that would work with a company that doesn’t take their feedback on board. You should have good communication with your client and always take everything they say into account, because that is the only way you are going to improve your situation and guarantee customer success.